Motorsport News

November 21, 2016


Dear Journalist:
Early each week, Porsche Cars North America will provide a weekend summary or pre-race event notes package, covering the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) or other areas of interest from the world of Porsche Motorsport. Please utilize this resource as needed, and do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

- Porsche Cars North America Motorsports Public Relations Team

Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Monday, November 21, 2016


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Desert Championship Chase. Porsche to Fight for WEC Drivers' Title in Bahrain.

At six hours of racing in Bahrain, and a nine-race tour of the world, the Porsche trio of Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) secured the drivers' title in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 2016 Le Mans winners finished sixth in the final round of the WEC. Dumas/Jani/Lieb earned race wins at Silverstone and Le Mans during their third season as a driving trio.

The three have set milestones, experienced highs and mastered lows since 2014. In that first year, they took the first three pole positions and achieved the Porsche 919 Hybrid's maiden race victory in 2014. In 2015, the tally again was three pole positions and one race win, as well as third-place in the championship. Their race win in the breathtaking 2015 season finale in Bahrain enabled Porsche's sister crew to become the drivers' world champions.

Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.

“This is a great season end for Porsche and a huge success for Romain Dumas, Mark Lieb and Neel Jani! My congratulations are from the depth of my heart. After these three were able to win Le Mans in June and the LMP1 team successfully defended the manufacturers' world championship in Shanghai, now taking the drivers' title as well is the icing on the cake of what was a demanding WEC season. After 2015, Porsche has now managed to take all the titles again. I'm very proud of the effort of every single person in the team. Respect!”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.

“Le Mans winners, manufacturers' and drivers' champions – for the second consecutive year we have achieved all our goals. That is an immense joy for us as the Porsche Team. I congratulate our three world champions Marc, Neel and Romain as well as the crew of car number 2. This car has been the only one of all LMP1 entries that hasn't spent a single second inside the box with technical problems during the 2016 races. We are now looking forward to the celebrations. And, after a short pause for a rest, we will start flat out with the preparations for 2017.”

Romain Dumas, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“For sure it cannot get better than ending the season as a world champion. This is what you dream of at the beginning of the year. I think a lot of this success comes from great teammates and a great team with excellent engineers. Everybody works hard. Even if we didn't always have the results we wanted, we still did a good job. We were constantly there, and this is also important in endurance racing.”

Neel Jani, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“Le Mans and the world title – this was really an incredible year that I will never forget. There is nothing better than winning both in one season. After Le Mans, we struggled a bit, but at the end we did it. And that is everything that counts.

Marc Lieb, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“Bahrain is obviously not a normal race for me. It will be pretty emotional. To arrive there knowing it is the last time I will compete seriously will be a big moment. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I've got a lot of friends coming from all around the world, especially from Australia and Europe, to watch me drive for the last time. Of course we would love to go out with a victory, but, irrespective of the result, I think it would be nice for me to have a smooth day and look back on a very, very long career of which I'm, of course, very proud. I thought about it a few times. I will walk away from the car just one more time – take the helmet and balaclava off and the ear plugs out, doing all these things for one last time. That will be very different, but I'm looking forward to not having to do this in the future.”

Romain Dumas, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“The race in Bahrain is going to be a big day like Le Mans, because there is so much at stake. We need to be one hundred percent focused and cannot afford any mistakes. We have to get this world championship now.”

Neel Jani, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“The season ending is always special and this year it is even more so. For us it is all about the championship. Our position in the points is good. At the most recent race in Shanghai our pace was very good in the beginning, we were on track for the title win, but then we lost ground. This was analyzed and we found the reason for it. This makes me very positive before the finale. After having secured the manufacturers' title, it would be the greatest joy to now seal the drivers' title as well.”

Marc Lieb, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“It was a difficult year. After our win in Silverstone and our dramatic victory in Le Mans – which was vital for our championship hopes – we experienced a lot of bad luck. We didn't manage any more wins, but instead had to settle for collecting points as best as we possibly could. That's why it is especially sweet to walk away with the title. Again Porsche has won virtually everything this year: the Le Mans 24 hours, the Manufacturers' Championship and the drivers' title. It is a good feeling that we were able to contribute to these successes. As a Stuttgart native that makes me especially proud. To do it with Porsche is a dream that has come true today.”

Patrick Long Leads Team to Second Win. Abu Dhabi Proton Earns Bahrain WEC Victory.

With a win and a second-place at the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain, the Porsche customer teams have successfully concluded the 2016 season. At the Bahrain International Circuit, Abu Dhabi Proton Racing celebrated its second win of the season in the LMGTE-Am class with the 470 hp No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR shared by the Porsche's only North American factory driver, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) and David Heinemeier Hansson (Denmark). In September, the team, which is managed by the long-standing Porsche partner Proton Competition, clinched victory at the inaugural race in Mexico City.

The win gives Abu Dhabi Proton second-place in the WEC LMGTE-Am championship. It is Long's second championship runner-up spot of the year. The veteran of the Porsche works program drove a Porsche 911 GT3 R to second-place in the Pirelli World Challenge drivers' championship here in North America earlier this year.

Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany), Christian Ried (Germany) and Joel Camathias (Switzerland) took the flag in second-place with the 911 RSR flying the colors of KCMG, a racing squad from Hong Kong. This marked their fifth podium result in a row.

The cornerstone to the victory for Abu Dhabi Proton Racing was laid by Patrick Long.

When Long took over driving duties from his teammate Al Qubaisi after the first hour of racing on the 3.36-mile Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of the capital of Manama, the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR was running in fifth-place. Thanks to a strong performance against stiff competition from Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Ferrari, the American made up two positions in his first laps with the winning racer from Weissach, which is based on the seventh-generation of the iconic 911 sports car. Shortly afterwards, he snatched the lead. With his teammates, he defended his top position to the flag in the hotly contested class. Gulf Racing rounded off the success for Porsche customer squads at the season finale in the desert with the all-British driver line-up of Ben Barker, Adam Carroll and Michael Wainwright narrowly missing out on a podium spot in fourth-place.

In the GTE-Pro class, Richard Lietz (Austria) finished seventh with his Porsche works driver colleague Michael Christensen (Denmark). A year ago at the Bahrain race, Lietz won the FIA World Endurance Cup and was honored as the most successful GT pilot of the season. This season, their 911 RSR was campaigned by the Dempsey Proton Racing customer team.

Patrick Long, Driver, No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche 911 RSR.

“It was a perfect race from start to finish for us. Everything ran really well, including the pit stop in the safety car phase, which definitely decided the race in our favor. My teammates again put in a strong drive and in the end it was my job to bring victory home safely.”

Khaled Al Qubaisi, No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche 911 RSR.

“It's wonderful to end the season with a win. I would like to thank the whole team for their untiring efforts, not just in the race but throughout the entire year. We are now second in the championship and we'll be back in 2017 to fight for the title.”

David Heinemeier Hansson, No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche 911 RSR.

“What a great way to finish the season. Not only because we won but also because Porsche occupied the first two places in the GTE-Am class. A strong performance.”

Wolf Henzler, No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR.

“We are delighted to be back on the podium, but we could have won today. The only safety car phase of the race cost us the victory. It happened one-and-a-half laps after we'd been in the pits. Our teammates used it for their pit stop and surely made up 50 seconds because of it. We simply weren't able to make up the difference, although we pulled out all stops and tried everything.”

Porsche Podium In WEC Finale. Bahrain Emotional End of 2017 LMP1 Season.

For the second consecutive year, Porsche has taken everything in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC): victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Porsche's 18th overall win there – winning the manufacturers' world championship in Shanghai and now the drivers' world championship at the finale in Bahrain. In the last of nine WEC rounds, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) finished in third-place, having started second on the grid with their Porsche 919 Hybrid. The new world champions, Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) finished in sixth-place after contact with another car early in the race. Audi's dominant one-two race result was an impressive WEC farewell for Porsche's sister-company.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

“Today's race has shown what characterizes the Porsche Team. It was able to handle a difficult race under huge pressure. I can only say thank you to all six drivers, every single team member and the Porsche board members, who have supported this program right from the beginning. Also today at the track they have personally shown that they absolutely support the project. Congratulations to Audi for a well deserved victory today, and thanks for the great competition – we will miss you.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.

“Le Mans winners, manufacturers' and drivers' champions – for the second consecutive year we have achieved all our goals. That is an immense joy for us as the Porsche Team. I congratulate our three world champions Marc, Neel and Romain as well as the crew of car number 2. This car has been the only one of all LMP1 entries that hasn't spent a single second inside the box with technical problems during the 2016 races. We are now looking forward to the celebrations. And, after a short pause for a rest, we will start flat out with the preparations for 2017.”

Timo Bernhard, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“My start wasn't too bad. Neel came on the inside and, of course, I left him room to overtake. We were about the same speed and neither of us was quick enough to catch the Audi, but clearly we beat Toyota. For us it was very important to hand over the car to Mark at the end and enable him to do the last laps, and we wanted to be together with him on the podium for one last time. This was a very emotional day, too much to put it into words.”

Brendon Hartley, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“My first stint after Timo and Mark had been driving went pretty cleanly. I had Kazuki Nakajima behind me and it was a bit tricky with the traffic, but it came out okay. Regarding the Audi, we were hoping to get closer when it was getting cooler, but it didn't work out today. They deserved the victory in their last race. And for Mark and us it worked out, as we got onto the podium in his last race. We did our maximum today, and it is really very sad to see him go.”

Mark Webber, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I was the second and the last driver in the car today, and pretty happy with both stints. Early in the race I had a nice little fight with the number 5 Toyota. I managed to get passed him and tried to pull away, but we didn't have enough pace to fight the Audi. Then for the final stint it was pretty emotional putting my helmet on for the last time. I enjoyed the last stint and I got the chance to bring the car to the checkered flag for the top-three finish, and this was the maximum we could get today. It has been such an incredible three years for me with Porsche, together with Timo and Brendon and the whole team. Nothing is forever, I'm stopping at a good time and I'm looking forward to seeing everybody again soon.”

Romain Dumas, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“For us the chance for a podium was over after one hour into the race. After Neel had contact with another car our 919 felt strange. We had a little oversteer everywhere. But, because of the championship situation, we didn't have to push. For us it was important to finish the race reliably and avoid any mistakes – I'm relieved it worked out.”

Neel Jani, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“It was a promising race start. It was also hard work, because I frequently got into traffic in the worst places, but the strategy and the first pit stop went very well. Then when I was on my out lap a GT car just hit me, which caused damage to a rear tire and bodywork. After the repairs the car wasn't great anymore and we had no chance to close the huge gap to the front. All we could do was hope the number 6 Toyota would not win and make sure that we would not take any risks on track.”

Marc Lieb, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“For me it went pretty smoothly, and I was just carrying the car round the track. Since the hit when Neel was driving early in the race, the steering wheel wasn't straight anymore. Our 919 wasn't in the best shape in the end, but we rolled it home, and we just made it.”

Porsche Earns Macau Podium Amid Confusion. Porsche 911 GT3 R Second in FIA GT World Cup.

To those on-site, all thought that Earl Bamber (New Zealand) had won the FIA GT World Cup in Macau. However, it was not Bamber's Porsche 911 GT3 R that would be awarded the title in one of the world's most prestigious city street races. Race officials awarded the win to Belgium's Laurens Vanthoor. The confusion was a result of a late race accident involving Vanthoor. Having just been passed by Bamber for the lead in a dramatic overtaking move, Vanthoor had an equally dramatic accident. Ultimately, Porsche factory driver Kévin Estre (France) was ranked second in his 911 GT3 R while Bamber was classified in fourth-place after a five-second penalty was accessed to the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winner.

What was clear at this time, however, was who was leading prior to the final red flagging of the race – and that was Bamber. At the wheel of the 500 hp customer sports racer, which was designed for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car, Bamber had posted second in the qualification race and had taken up the race from the first grid row. But after just four laps, the race for the FIA GT World Cup was halted for the first time after an accident. When the race continued after a long break for repairs to the guardrails, only a good 15 minutes were left on the clock. At the restart, Bamber put in a brilliant overtaking maneuver to sweep past Vanthoor, who shortly afterwards made an error which caused his Audi to flip onto its roof. This handed Estre second-place. While drivers in the pits and the fans in grandstands waited for the race to restart, the officials announced that the event would not restart. In accordance with the regulations, to determine the result of the race, the classification of the lap before the halting of the race was applied giving Vanthoor the win.

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

“Nobody will forget this race in a hurry. We saw a clear result on the track. Earl fought hard for the lead spot with a sensational overtaking maneuver; it all went without a hitch, without any cars touching. The accident with the Audi unfortunately led to the race being stopped. Our drivers and the team put in an extremely strong performance in Macau, but they haven't been rewarded with the well-earned result. We have won everyone's hearts, but in the face of such bitter moments, this is poor consolation.”

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“We drove a fair race and yet we were penalized. I don't understand it. We deserved to win this race.”

Kévin Estre, No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“I was looking forward to an exciting race and I thought I had good chances. Our 911 GT3 R was perfectly setup. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as I'd expected. It's a shame that we couldn't offer the enthusiastic fans a better show. I hope that I can come back to Macau sometime and fight for victory.”

New Contender. Porsche Unveils Most Spectacular 911 Ever at the LA Auto Show.

Porsche will tackle the 2017 racing season with an all-out newly developed GT racer. The new 911 RSR makes full use of the breadth of the Le Mans 24 Hours GT regulations, and in addition to systematic lightweight design, features the ultra-modern, flat-six engine positioned in front of the rear axle. The extremely light four-liter powerplant is highlighted by direct fuel injection as well as a rigid valve drive and is characterized by outstanding fuel efficiency. The new 911 RSR will make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona race in January 2017.

The new 911 RSR is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed from scratch. The engine concept has enabled the designers to install a larger rear diffuser. Combined with a top-mounted rear wing adopted from Porsche's LMP1 prototype racecar, the 919 Hybrid, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency has been significantly improved.

The changeover to the new engine generation is now complete. After the 911 GT3 R and the 911 GT3 Cup, the spearhead of Porsche GT racing cars is now also powered by the same cutting-edge six-cylinder boxer engine family. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the new normally aspirated unit develops approximately 510 hp (375 kW). Shift paddles on the steering wheel actuate the sequential six-speed gearbox with a magnesium housing, which delivers power to the 12.2 inch-wide rear wheels.

In the past, Porsche also thoroughly pushed the limits with the concept of the 911, for example, in 1996 with the 911 GT1. In 1998, the 911 GT1 achieved the 16th overall victory for Porsche at the Le Mans 24-hour race. In 2016, Porsche furthered its record by earning an 18th overall class victory with the 919 Hybrid at the most famous of all endurance races.

For the first time, a Porsche GT racecar features state-of-the-art assistance systems. The new 911 RSR is equipped with a radar-supported collision warning system, the popularly-called “Collision Avoidance System”. Even in the dark, the faster prototypes are detected early enough that misunderstandings can be avoided. A new safety cage concept and a new, rigidly mounted racing seat enhance driver safety. With the seat fixed to the chassis, the pedals can now be moved and adjusted to fit the driver.

The new 911 RSR's serviceability has also been significantly improved. Entire elements of the carbon-fiber body can be completely exchanged in a very short time thanks to clever quick-release fasteners. Moreover, changes to the suspension setup can be performed much more quickly and easily.

With the look of the body wrapping, the 911 RSR is striking out in a new direction. For the first time, the GT racer bears the new factory design that has further developed the clear and dynamic design language of Porsche Motorsport. From a bird's eye view, a hint of the Porsche emblem silhouette can be seen. The basic colors remain white, red and black.

In the 2017 season, the factory is expected to run the new 911 RSR at 19 outings equating to more than 140 hours of racing. With two factory-entries, Porsche will tackle the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) including the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The new racer will celebrate its debut under the toughest conditions at the IMSA season opener in Daytona on January 28-29.

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

“While retaining the typical 911 design, this is the biggest evolution in the history of our top GT model. For the 911 RSR, we deliberately focused on a particularly modern and light normally aspirated engine, as this gave our engineers immense latitude in developing the vehicle. Apart from that, in principle, the LM-GTE and GT Le Mans class regulations stipulate the absolute equality of various drive concepts, as the torque characteristics of turbo and normally aspirated engines are aligned.”

Marco Ujhasi, Head of GT Works Sport.

“We're very well prepared for this,” says “Since its first rollout in Weissach in March this year, we've covered more than 21,000 test miles (35,000 kilometers) on racetracks in Europe and North America – that's more than in the development of any other previous Porsche GT racer.”

The Return of The Racers. TRG Back with Porsche 911 GT3 R in IMSA GTD for 2017.

The Racers Group (TRG) announced its return to the Porsche family for their 22nd consecutive Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2017. The Kevin Buckler-led squad will be contesting the entire IMSA GTD season with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. TRG is currently in talks with multiple drivers for both Daytona and the full IMSA season. The team will continue to maintain its strong Porsche club racing endeavors in a variety of different series throughout the year as well.

TRG has a proud history with Porsche. Buckler himself won the 2002 Porsche Cup – awarded to the most successful non-works driver for a single year worldwide – and he and the team won the GT class of the Daytona 24 with the German marque four times – including once overall in 2003, a historic moment in GT motorsports that may never again be replicated. The team has achieved 13 Daytona podiums with Porsche, holds the record for the most number of entries in history, and ran an incredible five cars, or more, for eight years in a row. An international highlight of the team's success with Porsche includes a win at the 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans on their first try, in one of the closest GT races in history. Dozens of wins, multiple consecutive podiums, and an era of prestige exemplify over two decades of partnership with Porsche.

Kevin Buckler, CEO, The Racers Group.

“I don't think it gets much more ‘full-circle’ than this. I was a fan of the brand back in high school and bought an old –73 911 in the early 80s. Since then I always had a Porsche in the garage and many times on the autocross track up until my first track day at Road America in 1988. I was hooked! Debra and I attended the first ever PCA National Club Race in 1992 and drove the truck and trailer all over the US in the early ‘90s just trying to get the company started. We are proud to announce that we are back with Porsche as our premier brand running in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Championship. It feels right. We are currently in talks with multiple sponsor partners, drivers, and are working on a second car and program.

Jens Walther, president and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.

“All of us at Porsche Motorsport North America are looking forward to seeing a new 911 GT3 R in the traditional TRG livery once again. Kevin and his team have been responsible for many Porsche GT victories over the years, including an overall Rolex 24 victory in 2003. We warmly welcome him back to the Porsche family.”

Social Media.
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Model Hashtag.
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
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Event Hashtag.  
Series Hashtag.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada


Upcoming Porsche Events

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Event: Official Pre-Season Test Session, Daytona International Speedway
Dateline: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: Tuesday - Wednesday, December 13-14
Track Length: 3.56-miles, 12-turn
Race Duration: NA
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
  GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: NA
Next Round: Roar Before the 24, Daytona International Speedway, January 6-8, 2017


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