Florian Latorre and Larry ten Voorde lock out the first grid row at Le Mans


The qualifying

At Friday’s qualifying session, Latorre (CLRT) turned the fastest lap in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a time of 4:04.359 minutes. As the best driver from the German Carrera Cup, Larry ten Voorde (Netherlands/Nebulus Racing by Huber) lines up alongside Latorre on the first grid row. A 53-strong field tackles the Porsche Carrera Cup, which is contested as support to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pole position was only decided shortly before the end of the 60-minute qualifying session. On the 13.626 kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, Latorre promptly set the fastest time at his first attempt. After 30 minutes, ten Voorde replaced him at the top of the timesheet – only to be trumped by Latorre at the last minutes. Posting a time of 4:05.156 minutes, the Dutch Huber driver ten Voorde clinched the second grid spot as the fastest from the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland contingent. “I’m really happy with this result, even though pole was possible. On my flying lap, I used Max van Splunteren’s slipstream. That was the decisive factor,” said the 23-year-old champion of the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

911 GT3 Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, qualifying, Le Mans, 2020, Porsche AG
Larry ten Voorde: “I’m really happy with this result, even though pole was possible.” photo by: porsche.com

In the German Carrera Cup, the two youngsters Leon Köhler and Laurin Heinrich claimed positions two and three. For the two T3/HRT Motorsport drivers, this means they take up the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans from sixth and seventh on the overall grid. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake during my first hot lap on my first set of tyres. Otherwise, I could’ve produced a better result. If you want to set top lap times here, you definitely need to get a tow on the long straights,” explained Köhler. Laurin Heinrich was pleased with his first qualifying session in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. “On the one hand, I did a bit better in the free practice but on the other hand I wouldn’t have thought such a good result was possible. The challenge here is to avoid getting caught behind slower vehicles in the large field.”

Dylan Pereira (Förch Racing) experienced bad luck in qualifying. The Luxembourger had to abandon his hunt for a top time due to a puncture. Pereira managed to qualify fourth in the German Carrera Cup and takes up Saturday’s race from P11. The rookie Diego Bertonelli (Italy/Fach Auto Tech) shares the sixth grid row. As the best ProAm driver from the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, Carlos Rivas (Luxembourg/Black Falcon Team Textar) concluded the qualifying on P30.

Michael Fassbender takes the next step in his “Road to Le Mans”

Michael Fassbender joins the grid line-up of the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans. For the German-Irish actor, this is the next step on his “Road to Le Mans” project. Next year, Fassbender plans to contest the endurance classic in a Porsche 911 RSR. Porsche AG also fields a second vehicle driven by Max van Splunteren (Netherlands). The Dutchman earned himself a grid spot as the rookie champion of the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

The 45-minute Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans race gets underway at 9.15am on Saturday. The French TV channel Eurosport and the German channel Sport1 broadcast the race. Fans can follow the action live on the YouTube and Facebook accounts of the two Porsche one-make cup series as well as on the Porsche Motorsport Hub.

The preview

 The Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland finally returns to the racetrack this weekend, with the national racing series kicking off its 31st season as part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the Porsche Carrera Cup France, the German one-make cup will contest a 45-minute race at the endurance classic. A total of 53 drivers will line up on the grid in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The calendar of this year’s German Carrera Cup includes ten more rounds run as support to the ADAC GT Masters. This year, young racing drivers will also benefit from the series’ support programme, the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland Talent Pool.

“We’re thrilled that the season finally starts – at the ultimate highlight in Le Mans of all places. There’s no other venue in the world where so many chapters in motor racing have been written – especially by Porsche. I’m curious to see who comes out on top at the race and will be crowned Le Mans winner in the Carrera Cup,” says Hurui Issak, the Project Manager of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.

Prior to the race on Saturday, drivers take part in a 60-minute qualifying on Friday and two free practices (45 minutes each). Larry ten Voorde (Netherlands/Nebulus Racing by Huber) can travel to the northwest of France feeling confident. As the newly crowned champion of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the 23-year-old is one of the Le Mans favourites. His rivals include Dylan Pereira (Luxembourg/Förch Racing), fourth overall in the 2019 German Carrera Cup, as well as the two Porsche Juniors Ayhancan Güven (Turkey/Martinet by Alméras) and Jaxon Evans (New Zealand/BWT Lechner Racing) from the Porsche Carrera Cup France. Max van Splunteren will also contest the Le Mans race: The Dutchman won the rookie category of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and, as a prize, will drive the official VIP car of the international one-make cup.

Hollywood star Michael Fassbender contests the race as a prominent guest driver and gains valuable experience for his personal “Road to Le Mans” project. The German-Irish actor is eager to contest next year’s classic in a Porsche 911 RSR. Porsche AG also fields a second VIP vehicle helmed by Max van Splunteren (Netherlands) – as a reward for the rookie title winner’s strong performance in the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

The unwavering appeal of Porsche’s one-make cups lies in the principle of equal opportunities: Identical vehicles, control tyres and restricted set-up options put the drivers’ performance in the foreground. In the past, many drivers from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) had taken this path on their way to professional motor racing. In 2011, Kévin Estre won the French Carrera Cup before going on to claim the title in the German equivalent two years later. The Frenchman has been a member of Porsche’s factory driver squad since 2016. Estre won the GTE-Pro class at the 2018 Le Mans endurance classic. A year later, the 31-year-old was crowned world champion of the WEC there. 

International field of competitors from 14 countries

Estre and other top drivers serve as role models for the young pilots contesting the Carrera Cup Le Mans. Using the Sarthe circuit as a stage on which to showcase the vehicles is another weekend highlight. However, it will not only be the “young guns”, including Porsche Juniors Jaxon Evans (New Zealand) and Ayhancan Güven (Turkey), who head into the battle for points, prize money and prestige at 9.15 am local time on Saturday. Seasoned Porsche racing drivers are also keen to savour the Le Mans flair and are determined to bring home victory in the Pro-Am or amateur classification. Also joining the international field of competitors from 14 countries are Loek Hartog (Netherlands) from the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and Alessio Picariello (Belgium) representing Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. 

911 GT3 Cup, preview, Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans, 2020, Porsche AG
Porsche Carrera Cup team in Le Mans 2020. photo by: porsche.com

“With its large international grid line-up, the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans clearly underscores how the Porsche one-make cups serve as a springboard into professional motorsport worldwide. The event held as support to the Le Mans 24 Hours is an absolute highlight for everyone involved. The field promises some gripping race action,” says Oliver Köppen, Manager Sales Europe South at Porsche Motorsport.

The two Dutchmen Larry ten Voorde and Max van Splunteren have a busy schedule this weekend. Both have already underlined their talent in this year’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, with van Splunteren securing the rookie title and ten Voorde as the newly crowned champion of the international racing series. At Le Mans, the pair contests not only the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans but also tackles the 24-hour race in the cockpit of a Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Porsche customer teams. Ten Voorde competes for the 2019 GTE-Am class winners, Project 1. Van Splunteren tackles the 24-hour race for Proton Competition. 

Ten more races will be contested as part of the ADAC GT Masters

After round one at Le Mans, ten more races of the German one-make cup will be contested as part of the ADAC GT Masters weekends. Eight young drivers benefit from the Carrera Cup Deutschland Talent Pool over the season: Diego Bertonelli (Italy/Fach Auto Tech), Julian Hanses (Germany/Förch Racing), Lucas Groneveld (Netherlands/GP Elite), Kay van Berlo (Niederlande/Nebulus Racing by Huber), Dan Skocdopole (Czech Republic/Overdrive Racing by Huber), Felix Neuhofer (Austria/Overdrive Racing by Huber), Laurin Heinrich (Germany/T3/HRTMotorsport) and Leon Köhler (Germany/T3/HRTMotorsport). The talented youngsters receive comprehensive support from the seasoned Porsche professional Wolf Henzler as well as media training.

The one-make cup offers an Experience Day to young drivers who are eager to progress up the career ladder in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. At the final round in Oschersleben (6 to 8 November), interested drivers get an in-depth look behind the scenes and the chance to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on Monday after the race weekend.

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