Porsche won Le Mans for the 18th time this year, but the history books won’t reveal the titanic battle that raged between Porsche and Toyota, and to a lesser extent Audi, until, literally, the last lap.

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap

That’s quite something in a race that takes 24 hours. In summary, the fight for the lead throughout the whole event pretty much came down to Porsche and Toyota, and as the race entered its final hours it looked like the Japanese team had a marginal advantage, plus the comfort of two cars in the top three. But as the crowds gathered on the start-finish straight to watch the lead Toyota come around to start its last lap it was clear that all was not well. The car ground to a halt, completely losing power, just three minutes before the clock struck 24 hours. Porsche, in second place, could hardly believe its luck, cruising through to take victory ahead of the (until then) third-placed Toyota and an Audi.

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap toyota

While everyone is gutted for the Toyota team and drivers (the crowd loudly showed their appreciation and disbelief when Kazuki Nakajima got out of the car and even Porsche posted an emotional tweet with a picture of the Toyota saying “Competed together for 24 hours. Head to head for 24 hours. Gained our respect forever.”), endurance racing is all about lasting to the bitter end and Porsche is no stranger to winning at Le Mans. Not only did it win in 2015, but the 2016 victory brings the tally to 18 in total, the most of any manufacturer. Below, we detail each one.

It’s worth mentioning the rest of the field, as it’s not all about the fastest LMP1 category. Below that is LMP2 and the home-grown Murphy Prototypes team brought their single entry home in one piece after a gruelling 24 hours, piloted by Marc Goossens, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating.

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap murphy prototypes

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap murphy prototypes

This was the fifth time Murphy Prototypes competed at Le Mans. The LMP2 class was won by Signatech Alpine while the hotly contested GTE-Pro category was won outright by Ford in the stunning looking GT sports car. Ford also took third and fourth spots, with a Ferrari in second place.

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap ford gt

Porsche’s 18 victories at the Le Mans 24 hours

2016:
Car: Porsche 919 Hybrid
Drivers: Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani
Laps: 384

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap Porsche 919 Hybrid

2015:
Car: Porsche 919 Hybrid
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy
Laps: 395

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap Porsche 919 Hybrid 2015

1998:
Car: Porsche 911 GT1-98
Drivers: Laurent Aiello, Allan McNish, Stephane Ortelli
Laps: 351

Le Mans 2016: An epic battle to the last lap Porsche-911-GT1--98-14933

1997:
Car: TWR Porsche WSC-95
Drivers: Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johansson, Tom Kristensen
Laps: 361

TWR Porsche WSC-95

1996:
Car: TWR Porsche WSC-95
Drivers: Manuel Reuter, Davy Jones, Alexander Wurz
Laps: 354

TWR Porsche WSC-95 1996

1994:
Car: Dauer 962 Le Mans
Drivers: Yannick Dalmas, Hurley Haywood, Mauro Baldi
Laps: 344

Dauer 962 Le Mans

1987:
Car: Porsche 962C
Drivers: Derek Bell, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Al Holbert
Laps: 354

Porsche 962C 1987

1986:
Car: Porsche 962C
Drivers: Derek Bell, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Al Holbert
Laps: 367

Porsche 962C 1986

1985:
Car: Porsche 956
Drivers: Klaus Ludwig, Paolo Barilla, John Winter
Laps: 373

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1984:
Car: Porsche 956
Drivers: Klaus Ludwig, Henri Pescarolo
Laps: 359

Porsche 956 1985

1983:
Car: Porsche 956
Drivers: Vern Schuppan, Al Holbert, Hurley Haywood
Laps: 370

1984

1982:
Car: Porsche 956
Drivers: Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell
Laps: 359

1982

1981:
Car: Porsche 936
Drivers: Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell
Laps: 354

Porsche 936

1979:
Car: Porsche 935 K3
Drivers: Klaus Ludwig, Bill Whittington, Don Whittington
Laps: 307

Porsche 935 K3

1977:
Car: Porsche 936/77
Drivers: Jacky Ickx, Hurley Haywood, Jurgen Barth
Laps: 342

Porsche 93677

1976:
Car: Porsche 936
Drivers: Jacky Ickx, Gijs van Lennep
Laps: 349

Jacky Ickx 24h Le Mans 1976

Jacky Ickx
24h Le Mans 1976

1971:
Car: Porsche 917K
Drivers: Helmut Marko, Gijs van Lennep
Laps: 397

Porsche 917K

1970:
Car: Porsche 917K
Drivers: Hans Herrmann, Richard Attwood
Laps: 343

1970-le_mans-2-copyright-porsche-downloaded-from-stuttcars_com

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