XCAR: Le Mans 2014: Porsche's return
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XCAR: Le Mans 2014: Porsche's return

9:06 /

This year, Porsche made its 24-hour comeback. XCAR spoke to some legends, past and present, about what made Le Mans their race -- and why they're back.

[MUSIC] The miracle of the legend is to [UNKNOWN]. People. Generation after generation to organize a race like that. 91 years ago you had the first limo. A group of people discovering the world of. Automobile, the world of mobility, the freedom of mo, mobility, had in mind to do a 24 hours with new technology at, at the time. But we found people. Organizers, [UNKNOWN] who were able. To try to meet their fashion to the next generation. That's why you have the history, the adventure, drama, joy. Everything is mixed up here. And, I think that creates a legend. If you ask the driver, he's ready to sign up to win one time, he wins time with two runs, because that's the dream of everyone. So you can imagine What it is to win six times. Biggest race of the year, the tradition is amazing. The 8, 82nd anniversary of this race, so you can see it was, built up over the years, it's very cool that it was, when it started it was just the beginning of the automobile adventure I would call it, you know, and then now, yeah, more than 90 years after that. We still have the, the same goals. The same spirit. Just run as quick as possible over 24 hours. And to make your car last and strong. And, even though it's a completely different technology, but it's still the same idea and spirit and [UNKNOWN] race has been grown over, a little over a year over [UNKNOWN]. They did a good job of keeping this tradition. Putting it in a modern area, but I think that this mixture makes this race more special What makes it unique, and it's often overplayed the word unique, but it is unique, and it is, it's 90 years, it's the oldest race probably in the world, it's the greatest endurance race in the world, it's the only race that's really raced on the public highway. And has always been for sports cars for the manufacturers to show that they're the greatest manufacturer in the world. And once you've won it you can eat off it for the next few years. We won at Le Mans you know, and that's why all the manufacturers are here. [MUSIC] Quite a mix of emotions. I mean, a little bit of nervousness but we'll see. We're we're here to do the big job today, but mainly excitement and very proud too. So we're wearing the Porsche overalls and, and you know, to see all the fans around supporting us, so many here, it's just been completely overwhelming for me and it's just so exciting to get a race underway. We've been working a long time. To get the [UNKNOWN], and you can feel the atmosphere building. You can really feel what it means to a lot of people to see a Porsche running here, yeah. 16 years or some people they have it, they already saw the 917 running or the 962 but now, can you imagine if they all were 20 years. Or more than 20 years an entity now [UNKNOWN] hybrid keep running here, the Porsche will come back, I've seen a lot of Porsche and 2vx really being very emotional for us to see here 'cause we back in the field back in the game. What really makes you proud as well as a member of this team to see what is achieved and also to see the big path ahead of us. You can see here, too many people is showing [UNKNOWN]. For sure, the weather is very good, so they like to come to see the race. But they also like to come to see the Porsche we drive. [MUSIC] To me, I think it's unbelievable. I mean, to me they should never have left. Because I think they lost the lot out. But, you know, they're gonna turn around and say, yeah, well it's bad economical times. And I, I don't care about that because I'm a race driver and I, I, I just know what they did for me and I just felt like everybody should have driven in that major era that I was in and now we're back. So I'm thrilled because I think sports car racing can only be better for it. I mean, for Porsche to be back. It's vitally important. So I'm not saying it's against Toyota or against Audi or against Honda or whoever the heck it is. But the fact is that the great names that made history over the last 90 years have been the major players: Ferrari, Bentley, Jaguar, [UNKNOWN], Aston-Martin, Mercedes. And Porsche, you know, I think there's some great names that made up that early, those, the history of motor racing at, at Le Mans. And we've now got Porsche back and I think now they're back, it's going to bring another crowd of people back that hadn't been coming for years. They've been coming to watch, you know, the cars and GT 2s and 3s but now they're coming back with a car that can win races. It's the most unbelievable thing, cause it's a build up. We used to get fit from Christmas onwards. After New Year came, we'd work out, you'd get in great shape for them all. And that fitness would carry you through the year. I remember Jack [UNKNOWN] wrote to me one day. He said, we have got the greatest designers, the greatest engineers, the best mechanics, and at the end of the day, the best drivers. But at the end of the day, we need to have the best of luck and that's what you really need here. Unless you tick all those boxes, it's very difficult to, to win this race. But I mean, to win it is unbelievable. The inly thing is, when it's over, you go, what is there now? There's nothing left. Once you win the race, you walk away. And you're like what can follow winning at Lemas. There's nothing in the world that can take its place. [INAUDIBLE] when you are French [LAUGH] It's your race you know, and so this is for me very special but for me you know it's 14 times I've been driving the race so it's always you know, a lot of stress when you are here. It's always different. But yeah, it's always special you know, each morning when you are coming here to the mile and on your way for, for on a Saturday morning. You say, ok, now I'm in a mile for 24 hours, I have to drive well, I have to perform and yeah we cross the finger like hell and to just hope we can do a very strong. I mean, if it hadn't been [UNKNOWN], I wouldn't be here talking to you now. They gave me everything ,you know, I won [UNKNOWN], the Porsche, and three Daytona 24 hour [UNKNOWN], so I won seven 24 hour races for them, and it's thanks to their amazing engineering and a lot of luck, you know, but I did a lot of racing too, I mean when I think back, I did 26 [UNKNOWN]. 18 to 20 Daytonas and probably 15 to 20 [UNKNOWN] 12 hours, that's a hell of a lot of miles I did to get my 5 wins, so don't think I didn't work for it, you know, well the funny thing is they're not going any quicker, we were doing 246 miles an hour, a very different circuit, although the [UNKNOWN] aren't straight it was just straight for four miles, you know? But of course technologies change, but I think it's remarkable the speeds we did then. So it's changed absolutely dramatically, but it's still a racing car you know and it's still the greatest race in the world and every body's out there trying to do their best, but when you win La Mont you've won it for life. Honestly we have all to admit right now that it's an outstanding performance. LeMan's very difficult. And you have to keep in mind permanently that it's a new project. All the people who belong to the Porsche team, create a car, create a new engine, full of the new technologies and that's the main aspect about Porsche in motor race. Would think. That must be a goal for technology. This regulation this time is the most perfect for performance. But everyone in the team where you are the mechanic. Most of the engineers that have not been in to racing. Because course was not in for the last 16 years. Audi. Right here at Tete de Monde, [UNKNOWN] a number of years Tete de Monde, here we come for the first time. We are competitive. And, I think it's really outstanding. [MUSIC]

Alex Goy is XCAR's Cars Editor. He loves all things on four wheels and has a penchant for British sports cars - the more impractical the better. He also likes tea.

Nick Wilkinson
Video Producer / XCAR

Nick Wilkinson is XCAR's Producer, so can either be found huffing serious quantities of exhaust fumes armed with a camera or making a montage of some kind. His background is in video, and as a film and motorsport nut finds himself in heaven most weekdays

Drew Stearne
Content Director & Editor / XCAR

Drew Stearne heads up the XCAR team and has spent the last 7 years producing content for CNET, GameSpot and many other CBS Interactive sites. He's equally obsessed with fast cars as he is with filming and photography, if he isn't involved with one, he tries to make sure he's involved with the other.

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