Porsche Works driver Timo Bernhard has just earned his place in the history books, becoming the first driver to ever win all four major endurance races. Bernhard completed the “motorsports grand slam” this past weekend, racing not for Porsche, but for Audi in one of the new R15 race cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2008 Bernhard won the 12 Hours of Sebring and back in 2003 he topped the podium at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Possibly even more impressive is that Bernhard has won the final race, the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, a four consecutive times from 2006-09.
“Even as a child I dreamt of one day admiring the overall winner trophies of all four long-distance classics in my display cabinet at home,” said Bernhard. “Now, bringing home overall victory in Le Mans, I have made this dream come true.”
Check out the gallery of Bernhards cars and victory celebrations below.
GALLERY: Timo Bernhard’s Motorsports Grand Slam
Porsche Works Driver Timo Bernhard Brings Home Motorsport Grand Slam
Stuttgart. Porsche Works Driver Timo Bernhard (Dittweiler, Germany) is the first racing driver ever to win the four major long-distance classics, thus bringing home a genuine Motorsport Grand Slam: In 2003 Bernhard won the 24 Hours of Daytona at the wheel of his Porsche, from 2006 – 2009 he won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring four times in a row, in 2008 the 12 Hours of Sebring, and on the weekend in an Audi the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Timo Bernhard launched his career as a professional racing driver in the Porsche Junior Team in 1999 and has been a regular member of Porsche’s works driver squad since 2002.
“Even as a child I dreamt of one day admiring the overall winner trophies of all four long-distance classics in my display cabinet at home”, states Bernhard. “Now, bringing home overall victory in Le Mans, I have made this dream come true.” Together with Porsche Works Driver Romain Dumas (France) and former Porsche Works Driver currently driving for Audi Mike Rockenfeller (Neuwied, Germany), Bernhard successfully held his own against all his competitors, reaching the finish line in Le Mans a full lap ahead of the second-fastest team.
Bernhard scored his first historical success in racing right from the start in his second year as a Porsche Works Driver, sensationally winning the 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida in his Porsche 911 GT3 RS in 2003. Leaving behind even the Daytona prototypes seen as the favourites in the race, Bernhard, together with his works driver colleague Jörg Bergmeister and the two American drivers Kevin Buckler and Michael Schrom, clinched the race in superior style, the team of four drivers ultimately leading the second-fastest team by no less than nine laps.
In the years to come Timo Bernhard successfully developed into a genuine long-distance specialist always able to achieve the ideal compromise of fast lap times and a smooth style of driving preserving the car as such. Absolute precision at the wheel also became one of Bernhard’s hallmarks, hardly any other world-class driver boasting such a small number of errors even under maximum pressure as this young man from the Saarpfalz Region of Germany. A quality clearly essential particularly in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, on the famous Nordschleife.
Racing a Porsche 911 GT3 for Team Manthey Racing, 2006 Bernhard scored his first victory in the largest German race held since 1970. In 2007 Timo once again beat all other contenders in his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, for the first time winning a 24-hour race together with Romain Dumas. Ever since this team of German and French specialists has raced together in all long-distance events. Like in 2007, Bernhard and Dumas once again left behind their fiercest competitors in 2008 and 2009, this time together with Porsche Works Driver Marc Lieb (Ludwigsburg, Germany) and Manthey driver Marcel Tiemann (Monaco).
Scoring overall victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008, Timo brought back memories of his outstanding achievement in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Teaming up with Porsche Works Drivers Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard (France), he once again left behind all his competitors in their LMP1 prototypes despite their extra 200 horsepower, writing sensational headlines at the wheel of his Porsche RS Spyder in the less powerful LMP2 class by scoring Porsche’s first overall victory in Sebring after 20 years.