Porsche tackles Le Mans again with four works cars
Porsche has paid tribute to the worldwide achievements of its teams and drivers over the 2018 season at its Night of Champions motorsport gala in Weissach. On this occasion, the Board announced the intense continuation of its worldwide GT activities as well as a number of innovations.
Commitment to Le Mans
At the 87 th edition of the 24-hour race at Le Mans, Porsche will again field four works vehicles. The two Porsche GT Teams from the FIA WEC and the IMSA Weathertech Championship each campaign a pair of ca. 510 hp GT racers from Weissach. The cockpit of the #91 car is shared by Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki. The #92 vehicle is helmed by the title defenders Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor. Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber take up the race in the number 93 car. Sharing driving duties in the 911 RSR with the starting number 94 are the youngsters Sven Müller, Mathieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen. As in 2018, customer teams contesting the GTE-Am classes will also be strongly. For the first time in the history of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans marks the season finale of the championship.
Porsche focuses on continuity in its works driver squad. All factory drivers who were part of the team in 2018 are also under contract for 2019. The same applies to all Porsche Young Professionals. The only newcomer to the team is the Porsche Junior Jaxon Evans. The 22-year-old New Zealander is the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and came out on top at a shootout against ten other talented youngsters from international one-make cup series. A total of 24 drivers make up the squad for 2019.
Continued factory involvement in the USA
Porsche will again tackle the IMSA WeatherTech Championship with two 911 RSR in 2019. The collaboration with Core Autosport has been extended for another three years. As in the past, the cockpit of the number 911 vehicle is shared by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet. They will be joined at the particularly long races in Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and at Petit Le Mans by Frédéric Makowiecki. The No. 912 sister car is manned by the regular crew of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. These two receive backing at the endurance classics from Mathieu Jaminet.
Intensive support for customer teams
Porsche continues its intensive support of customer teams in worldwide GT3 racing series. The new 911 GT3 R featuring particularly efficient aerodynamics and significantly improved driveability will be fielded for the first time. Porsche Motorsport has sold 45 units of this customer sport racer. In 2019, strong three-man crews will contest all rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Romain Dumas, Sven Müller and Mathieu Jaminet as well as Dirk Werner, Dennis Olsen and Matt Campbell. In the Blancpain GT World Challenge America and the ADAC GT Masters, Porsche also supports at least two vehicles run by customer squads in the pro-category. Customer support will also be given at a number of national series and selected events.
Project title defence at the Nürburgring
The winning Manthey-Racing team aims to defend its title at the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring in 2019. Backed by the factory for this campaign, the squad from Meuspath, Germany, will tackle the race with two new 911 GT3 R. The winning quartet of 2018 remains unchanged, with Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy sharing the cockpit of the rear-engine car. In the sister vehicle, Earl Bamber joins forces with the Le Mans winning trio, Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor. Moreover, Porsche assists a number of other teams with drivers and also provides technical and strategic support.
World premiere of a successful racer
The successor to the winning Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport will celebrate its world premiere on January 3, 2019, at the “Roar before Daytona” tests. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the first ever production race car with body parts that are sustainably manufactured: the front hood, doors and rear wing are all made of natural-fibre composite material. Three weeks after its launch, the new clubsport racer will make its race debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The GT4 rounds off the clubsport family of Porsche Motorsport, which includes the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and 935 models.
New head at Porsche Motorsport
From January 1, 2019, Fritz Enzinger assumes the overall management of Porsche Motorsport, which in addition to GT racing will also include Formula E in the upcoming season. Until now, Enzinger was responsible for the management of the LMP1 project and in February 2018 also took on the role as head of Group Motorsport. The former Vice President of Motorsport, Frank-Steffen Walliser, who has held this position since 2014, will move into the department of the CEO, where he will be responsible for the 718 and 911 sports car model lines.
Porsche Cup: Christian Ried defends private driver award
The Porsche Cup, the trophy for the world’s most successful private Porsche driver, again goes to Christian Ried (39). The racing driver/owner of Dempsey Proton Racing was awarded the coveted trophy by Dr Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG. In addition, Ried takes home a Porsche valued at more than 120,000 Euro. Thanks to his successes in the FIA WEC and the European Le Mans Series, he earned 10,348 points over the past season at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR. Second-placed Robert Renauer, the 2016 winner of the Porsche Cup, can look forward to prize money totalling 30,000 Euro. For third place, Julien Andlauer from France wins 25,000 Euro. The Porsche Cup, based on an idea of Ferry Porsche, has been awarded since 1970.
Works drivers for 2019
Earl Bamber (28) New Zealand
Jörg Bergmeister (42) Germany
Timo Bernhard (37) Germany
Gianmaria Bruni (37) Italy
Michael Christensen (28) Denmark
Romain Dumas (40) France
Kévin Estre (30) France
Brendon Hartley (29) New Zealand
Neel Jani (35) Switzerland
Richard Lietz (34) Austria
Patrick Long (37) USA
André Lotterer (37) Germany
Frédéric Makowiecki (38) France
Sven Müller (26) Germany
Patrick Pilet (37) France
Nick Tandy (34) Great Britain
Laurens Vanthoor (27) Belgium
Dirk Werner (37) Germany
Matteo Cairoli (22) Italy
Matt Campbell (23) Australia
Mathieu Jaminet (24) France
Dennis Olsen (22) Norway
Julien Andlauer (19) France
Jaxon Evans (22) New Zealand
Race series overview
FIA World Endurance Championship
911 RSR #91 – Gianmaria Bruni / Richard Lietz
911 RSR #92 – Michael Christensen / Kévin Estre
24 Hours of Le Mans
911 RSR #91 – Gianmaria Bruni / Richard Lietz / Frédéric Makowiecki
911 RSR #92 – Michael Christensen / Kévin Estre / Laurens Vanthoor
911 RSR #93 – Earl Bamber / Patrick Pilet / Nick Tandy
911 RSR #94 – Sven Müller / Mathieu Jaminet / Dennis Olsen
IMSA WeatherTech Championship
911 RSR #911 – Patrick Pilet / Nick Tandy / Frédéric Makowiecki*
911 RSR #912 – Earl Bamber / Laurens Vanthoor / Mathieu Jaminet*
*North American Endurance Cup
Nürburgring 24 Hours, Team Manthey Racing
911 GT3 R – Earl Bamber / Michael Christensen / Kévin Estre / Laurens Vanthoor
911 GT3 R – Richard Lietz / Frédéric Makowiecki / Patrick Pilet / Nick Tandy
Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup
911 GT3 R – Romain Dumas / Sven Müller / Mathieu Jaminet
911 GT3 R – Dirk Werner / Dennis Olsen / Matt Campbell