Kiwis Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber have won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race from a seemingly impossible position.

The Porsche drivers have won the race outright along with German teammate Timo Bernhard after they struck a mechanical problem that cost them an hour and 37 minutes in the pits and saw them fall to second last after four hours and 18 laps down.

But one by one the other LMP1 cars ran into problems that saw them fall back or out of contention.

The factory Porsche 919 Hybrid kept clawing their way back, chasing down slower cars and took over the lead of the race with just over an hour remaining in the famous race.


Bernhard safely negotiated the closing stages of the race to take the car to the chequered flag in arguably the most remarkable comeback in Le Mans history.

"Le Mans is one crazy race," said Hartley.

"The mechanics worked incredibly hard on Saturday evening to get our car repaired in super fast time and since that moment Timo, Earl and myself, together with our engineers, have been pushing hard, 100% every second, and desperately hoped that our efforts would somehow pay off."

Listen: Brendon Hartley on the Mike Hosking Breakfast

Bamber was equally ecstatic after the race.

"I can't believe we've managed to pull this one off having been at the back of the field after an hour in the pit-box," said the 26-year-old.

"Both Brendon and Timo have been part of the Porsche LMP programme from the beginning while this victory is as much down to the guys in the pits. Without their hard work we wouldn't have got back racing again so this win is down to them."

Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon were the first New Zealanders to win the famous race back in 1966 before Earl tasted glory there in 2015 alongside Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy.

It is Bamber's second victory at Le Mans while Hartley tastes victory there for the first time.

The win also helps the pair in their World Endurance Championship - they collect 36 points for their victory - double the value of any normal round of the championship.