Motorsport News

May 9, 2017


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: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Porsche Profile.
Event Story Lines


On to Le Mans. Porsche 919 Hybrids Finish Third and Fourth at Spa.

In the last race before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Porsche 919 Hybrids finished in third and fourth-places at the six-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. The trio of Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) lost time due to a slow tire puncture coming home in third-place. The sister car of reigning world champion Neel Jani (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) started from pole position but was unfortunate with the timing of two “Full Course Yellow” periods that neutralized the race. They finished just behind their teammates. Hartley had the consolation of setting the overall fastest race lap to underline the 919 Hybrid's potential. But in Spa, over the race distance, it was a pair of Toyotas that took the laurels.

Just like at the season's opening race in Silverstone, Porsche competed again in the Le Mans aerodynamic configuration. However, the lower downforce causes higher tire wear. Toyota raced in two different aero specifications. The car in Le Mans configuration finished behind the Porsches.

Despite sunshine at the start, rain was predicted for the closing stages of the race but ultimately it stayed almost dry throughout. The organizers announced 61,000 spectators for the three-day event. After the second of nine rounds in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Porsche ranks second in the constructors' standings. In the drivers' world championship, the Porsche crews are currently second and third.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

“We started from pole position, set the fastest race lap and scored a podium, but unfortunately we didn't make it with both cars on the podium. We are still fine with our strategic decision to compete in the first two rounds in low downforce configuration. Now we are looking forward to our last 30-hour test next week. We will head to Le Mans full of confidence and only a few points short in the manufacturer standings.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.

“Congratulations to Toyota for the race win and to our team in Weissach and here at the track for a flawless performance. Again both cars finished the race with no technical issues and took points for the championships. Apparently races in Spa are not our greatest skill. Since 2014, we are on pole here every year but we have never won. With our cars here in low downforce aero specification, we could not match the speed of the high downforce spec Toyotas because our tire wear was simply to high. But the third Toyota, with low downforce, we had under control. Comparing the time we lost in the pits due to the puncture, our performance was okay. We will now have our endurance test next week in Aragon and then look forward to Le Mans.”

Neel Jani, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“The pace was more or less what we expected it to be. We could match one Toyota but the other one was out of reach. We were a little unlucky and lost a lot of time twice during Full Course Yellows. After this our only chance to come back in the race was rain.”

André Lotterer, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I had a good start. I was a little surprised when the Toyota came flying by but I was expecting he wouldn't be able to brake properly for La Source. The first half of that stint was really good but then I had a massive tire drop and couldn't keep up the pace. Towards the end of that first stint the situation improved but overall it was not consistent. At my first pit stop we changed the strategy. Because we were expecting rain towards the end of the race, we thought we would not have to double stint all tires. My last stint was good as well despite some drizzle. The Toyotas have been strong, we have to catch up a bit.”

Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I was the second driver in our car and had a pretty standard stint. We went a little off sequence with the tire strategy to see if it would help us at the end of the race. But then it didn't rain significantly.”

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“My stint started well. I came out right behind the Toyota and then was battling with number 8 but then unfortunately I picked up a slow puncture. The pace was good afterwards again and I closed the gap to the front a little but to fight back from over 40 seconds is hard.”

Timo Bernhard, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I took over from Earl after the puncture and tried to catch back. It was nice closing the gap. I had a good fight with Neel and managed to get ahead. We took advantage of a Full Course Yellow but Toyota did as well. In the end, Brendon was pushing hard and did a great job but there wasn't more to get today.”

Brendon Hartley, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“The Toyotas were quick at the start and I knew I was in for a double stint. With the warmer ambient temperatures, the car's balance was quite different from the previous days. But I had a strong end to the opening stint and overtook André just before the pit stops. The sister car went onto a different strategy while we managed to keep close to the [number] 8 Toyota. Our car was unlucky when Earl picked up a puncture, which put us behind and off strategy. I was in the car for the last couple of hours. The team did a great job and our car was coming on really strong towards the finish. It's another podium, not the step we wanted to stand on, but we take confidence heading to Le Mans.”

Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“In the past, the Austin round has always been contested in September. Let's see whether the temperature makes a major difference. In any case, I'm always excited to race here. It's interesting and it's also really challenging, not least because of the extraordinary corner combinations - just what I like.”

Spa Day. Porsche 919 Confident Ahead of the Le Mans Dress Rehearsal in Spa.

The six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is far more than just the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the race on May 6 is known as the dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Porsche LMP Team has entered two Porsche 919 Hybrids for Spa, as it has for the 24-hour classic in Le Mans on June 17-18, with the same six works drivers. Reigning world champion Neel Jani (Switzerland) has the number 1 on the car he shares with André Lotterer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). The number 2 sister car belongs to Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand). After finishing second and third at the season's opening round in Silverstone in Great Britain, Porsche heads to the Ardennes Mountains leading the manufacturer standings.

In the duel with Toyota at Spa and Le Mans, title defender Porsche is one car less compared to the Japanese brand, which enters three prototypes in both races. Regarding the aerodynamics of the Porsche 919 Hybrids, the focus remains on preparing for the season's highlight in France. The aero package with low downforce, however, provides some advantages in Spa on the long flat-out sections. Also on top of the job list is sheer power because the 4.35-mille long Grand Prix circuit offers huge altitude differences.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

“On the one hand, the second championship round is a kind of a dress rehearsal for the Le Mans 24-Hours in June, but on the other it is our next chance to collect points on our title defense mission. The opening race in Silverstone was quite an obstacle to overcome with our low downforce Le Mans aerodynamics. The team managed that very well. We are leading the constructors' standings before Spa and we want to keep that position.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.

“The Spa rollercoaster provides such a variety of demands, that you always need to find compromises. It's a split to create a car set-up that is suited for the long flat-out sections but one that also enables the drivers to handle the car through the winding middle sector. Regarding aerodynamics, due to regulations, we are less flexible than in 2016 but I regard the 919 Hybrid well armed in this respect as well. In terms of reliability and team effort, Silverstone was first-class. We now want to deliver another flawless performance in Spa.”

eel Jani, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I think we can really look forward to Spa. Our performance in Silverstone was very encouraging given the fact we were racing our Le Mans aero kit. In Spa, it will be well suited for the long high-speed sections of sectors one and three. For the twisting middle sector, higher downforce would be better but it remains to be seen how much we will lose there compared to the competition. Another aspect is the weather: In the case of heavy rain, I see the advantage going to Toyota.”

André Lotterer, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“Spa is like a home race for me. From when I was a three-year old, I grew up pretty close and later we had a kart tuner next to the circuit. The track is one of the most beautiful ones in the world, embedded into great scenery. I like every inch of the track. The depression of Eau Rouge requires some braveness if you take it flat. There you also have to handle lapping maneuvers tactical and eventually have to lift early in order to avoid losing momentum for the uphill Kemmel straight. Belgium is quite a small country but remarkably it has many motorsport enthusiasts. I'm very much looking forward to racing with Porsche there for the first time.”

Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I remember very well driving the 919 for the first time in a race in Spa in 2015. It is a circuit very well suited to our high-performance racecars. The fun parts for me are in the winding middle sector but I also like the last sector a lot when you come from high speed and have to deal with bumps before the very tight Bus Stop chicane. This is something where a driver and good set-up work with the engineers can make a real difference. Regarding competition, I think we can be very confident after Silverstone and it will be very interesting to watch the Toyota cars if they compete in different configurations.”

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“Spa is one of the very few circuits I at least have some experience of driving the 919. When I was in the Porsche Simulator in Weissach before the 2015 race, I was surprised how fast I could go through Eau Rouge and then doing this in reality was very impressive. This circuit is definitely a special place and I'm sure our low downforce aero kit suits Spa much better than it did for Silverstone.”

Timo Bernhard, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“Next to the Nürburgring, Spa is like a second home race for me. It is only 124-miles from home and it is a brilliant circuit with a very natural and unique character. To manage a really good lap there in a Le Mans prototype is extremely rewarding because the track isn't an easy one at all. It has fast and slow corners that flow into each other. I fell in love with Spa back in 1998 when I finished sixth straightaway in a huge Formula Ford European Championship field. I have also done the Spa 24-Hours three times. However, so far it is a one-sided love affair between me and the circuit - I have often led races there but have never won. I want to change that in 2017.”

Brendon Hartley, Driver, No. 2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“We had a strong team performance in Silverstone that we can be proud of but came up six seconds short of the win. We will all work extremely hard to climb one step higher on the podium in Spa. We expect another close battle but will arrive there with confidence.”

All scores: http://www.fiawec.com/courses/classification.html
All results: http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com

Top-Five. Porsche GT Team Finishes Fifth-Sixth in WEC at Spa.

Round Two of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) concluded with positions five and six in the LMGTE-Pro class for the Porsche GT Team after Saturday's trouble-free race. At the legendary Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) narrowly beat their teammates to the finish line with the new Porsche 911 RSR. Less than a minute later, Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) followed them over the line in the No. 92 sister car.

Fans witnessed a spectacular sight shortly after the start as the 30-strong field squeezed through the legendary Eau Rouge passage. Right from the start, the famously cutthroat LMGTE-Pro category, with four automobile manufacturers competing, treated spectators to gripping fights for positions. As the race progressed, the GT field sorted itself into respective brands: This weekend, the two 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR became the third force behind Ferrari and Ford.

In the LMGTE-Am class, the Dempsey Proton Racing customer team celebrated a podium finish with the Porsche 911 RSR (model year 2015). Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) as well as the two Germans Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst drove a spirited race to finish in second-place. The Gulf Racing squad with Englishmen Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker as well as Australian Nick Foster had to retire from the race after a collision.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

“This result is very disappointing. We definitely couldn't match the pace of Ferrari and Ford. Everyone in our team did an absolutely flawless job today, but the gap to the front is simply too big. In the GTE-Am class, Dempsey Proton Racing maintained its very good qualifying position in second place. With every race, Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli is gaining experience and professionalism. I'm very pleased with how he is developing.”

Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“We've just endured six tough hours. We did everything we could; we fought well and didn't make any mistakes. Now we have to analyze the results and come back stronger at Le Mans.”

Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“We gave our best in the race, but Ford and Ferrari were in a different world today. We now need to see precisely why this is so.”

Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“That was a difficult race for us; we simply lacked the speed compared to the competition. One thing is certain: Our 911 RSR ran like clockwork, our strategy was super and our mechanics didn't make the slightest mistake with the fast pit stops.”

Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“This was not an easy day for the Porsche GT Team. Tire management proved to be particularly tricky today, and the caution phases also came at inopportune times for us.”

Matteo Cairoli, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

“It's just my second WEC race with Chris and Marvin and we land on the second podium step - that feels really good. Third at Silverstone, second at Spa - I think our goal for Le Mans should be fairly obvious.”

Narrow Miss. IMSA Porsches At the Circuit of the Americas.

After a successful start to the season in North America, the new Porsche 911 RSR narrowly missed securing its third podium result in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. With the No. 911 510 hp racing car, which is a totally new development of Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, Germany, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) secured fourth-place in the GTLM class after holding the lead earlier in the race. In the second 911 RSR, the No. 912, fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) took the flag in eighth-place. At the season-opening round in Daytona, the new 911 RSR had finished second, and recently followed up with a third place at Long Beach.

The challenges of the race began at the start. Entering Turn One, the pair became entangled in a collision not of their making but put them at the back down the field. Patrick Pilet (France) got off the line well on the 3.43-mile Grand Prix circuit. The past IMSA GT class champion managed to avoid the melee and launch a pursuit. First he snatched third and several laps later he overtook another competitor for second-place. After almost an hour of racing he was in the lead. This pace, however, could not go on. His teammate Werner, who took the wheel of the 911 RSR, was first shunted by a GTD class car, and was then handed a 60-second penalty that he served in the pit lane. As a result, all hopes for a possible podium finish were dashed. After two hours and forty minutes, Pilet, who had returned to the car for the final stint, took the checkered flag in fourth-place.

The opening lap accident put an early end to the race for the second 911 RSR. The No. 912 of Henzler, who replaced Kévin Estre (France) at Austin so that the Frenchman could contest the World Endurance Championship (WEC) round in Spa, Belgium, rejoined the race in fifth-place after the first stop for repairs. However, associated damages required longer repairs in the Porsche GT Team's garage. When Vanthoor returned to the track, the damage was still too extensive and the car was retired.

Porsche “Young Professional” Mathieu Jaminet (France) sat the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R on the pole position for the GTD class at COTA. The team won the season-opening round of the series, the Rolex 24 At Daytona with factory driver Michael Christensen (Denmark), Daniel Morad (Canada), Michael de Quesada (Tampa, Florida), Jesse Lazare (Canada) and Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, Florida). With Christensen racing in Spa for the Porsche “works” program in the WEC, Porsche assisted Alegra with the first-year “Young Professional” to team with Morad. The combination worked well with not only the fastest class-qualifying lap but also the fastest race lap and a long stay in the GTD lead. Ultimately, the program would finish seventh in class, just ahead of factory driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Round Five of the WeatherTech Championship will be contested on July 2 at Watkins Glen International in New York. The classic six-hour event follows a break for GTLM competitors to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. GTD class competitors will travel to Detroit, Michigan for the SportsCar Classic at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park on June 3.

Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship.

“Everything actually ran according to plan with the No. 911. Our strategy to strengthen the car in the practices worked perfectly. We managed to take over the lead. In the middle stint, however, we were shunted by a GTD car, which affected the rear aerodynamics. The penalty for not seeing the lights in the pit lane was the final straw. Although we continued to fight our way back up, it was not enough for a podium. Now we have time to analyze the first third of the season. This is what we'll do and after the summer break we'll be back in full force.”

Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“This race was pretty disappointing. We had the best chances to do well here, but it was our own fault that it didn't succeed. We made mistakes that shouldn't happen. I hope things go better for us at the next race in Watkins Glen.”

Dirk Werner, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“We had the chance for a podium result here. It's a shame that we didn't managed to use it. At the exit of the pit lane I was alongside a BMW and I didn't notice - for whatever reason - that the pit lights were red. The resulting penalty cost us the race. What's more, I had already been sent into a spin by a GTD car prior to this. All in all, it wasn't a great race for us.”

Wolf Henzler, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“I didn't imagine my first race this season with the 911 RSR would be like this. In the very first corner after the start, a Ford and a Ferrari had a big encounter and that set off a chain reaction. When I sped up right behind a Corvette, it suddenly spun. I couldn't avoid it and we collided. Our 911 RSR was so badly damaged that the resulting repairs cost us all chances of a good result.”

Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“By the time I climbed into the car for my stint, the race was as good as over for us. That was not a great weekend for us. We'll now go testing and hopefully we'll return stronger after the summer break.”

athieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“At the end of my first stint in the Alegra car we were running well. We were leading with a good gap. We were in a good position. We had some good battles and it was a lot of fun. In the end we finished P7. It was tough to fight with the other cars, to be honest. We scored points and we brought the car home in one piece and we ran the fastest lap. I wish the team the best for the rest of the season. It was a lot of fun and an honor to be asked to race the No. 28 Porsche this weekend in Austin.”

Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“Today, I would say was challenging. I think not having the second practice hurt us a little bit; we could have used the time to better develop the setup. Patrick did a good job at the start, he started fourth and brought the car into the pits in third; the crew did well also. There were quite a bit of yellows but I don't really think that affected us much. The heat was definitely a factor for today, the track changes throughout the race because of the heat. I think we will take what we learned today and use it moving forward, to Detroit. I wish we could have given our sponsor, Park Place Porsche of Dallas, a better finish for the home race. Hopefully, we will do better next time."

LA Air. Luftgekühlt 4 Draws Big Breath In California.

Despite an early morning rainstorm, Sunday's, May 7, Luftgekühlt gathering reached its reserved capacity for vintage, air-cooled Porsche vehicles under the backdrop of the port of Los Angeles.

Now in its fourth iteration, Luftgekühlt embodies air-cooled vehicles from the extensive Porsche narrative, from the Pre-A 356 through the Type 993 911 (1948 - 1998) on the street side, and 550 Spyders to 935s on the motorsports side.

This year's event drew upwards of 6,000 owners, fans and enthusiasts to experience the 600 capacity venue full of Porsche-powered vehicles. A pair of off-road safari type 911s that competed a week ago in the NORRA Mexican 1000 Off Road Race and the 1973 Can-Am championship winning 917/30 were two examples of the diversity on display, and the event was the largest yet for the stand-alone happening celebrating the unique car culture in California.

The Luftgekühlt branded events are the brainchild of Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and Southern California creative director Howie Idelson.

Social Media.
Porsche Cars North America. @Porsche
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Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing – 919 Hybrid. @Porsche_Team
   
Model Hashtag.
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 919 Hybrid. #919hybrid
   
Event Hashtag
   
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3CAN
PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 @CaymanGT4CSEast
Clubsport Trophy East #GT4CSE
Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA @PirelliCupUSA


Future Porsche Events.

Pirelli World Challenge - SprintX and GTS
Event: Pirelli World Challenge at CTMP, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Dateline: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Date: Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21
Track Length: 2.458-miles, 10-turn
Race Duration: Two, 60-minute races
Class:

GT-X (Porsche 911 GT3 R)

 

GTA-X (Porsche 911 GT3 R)

 

GTS-X (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)

  GTS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round:

SprintX. Rounds 3 and 4 of 10

  GTS. Rounds 5 and 6 of 18
Next Round: PWC at Lime Rock, Lime Rock Park, Lime Rock, Connecticut, May 26-27, 2017
 

IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama

Event: Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown, Circuit of the Americas
Dateline: Austin, Texas
Date:

Race 1. Friday, May 5

  Race 2. Saturday, May 6
Track Length: 3.4-miles, 20-turn
Race Duration: Two, 45-minute races
Class:

Platinum (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2017)

  Gold (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2014-2016)
Round: 5 and 6 of 14
Next Round: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York, June 29 - July 2, 2017


Porsche Motorsport Video News Releases.
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Photography.
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Porsche Cars North America Media Site.
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Porsche Cars North America Motorsports Site.
http://www.porsche.com/usa/eventsandracing/motorsport

Porsche North America Race Team Portal.
porscheusa.com/racing

Porsche Motorsports Media Information.
Current news, images and notes relating to Porsche can be found on our press kit. Please contact Dave Engelman or Tom Moore for the latest Porsche Motorsports media kit.

Contacts.

Dave Engelman
Porsche Cars North America
Media Relations Manager, Motorsports and Brand Heritage
Office. 770-290-3617
Mobile. 404-386-4665
dave.engelman@porsche.us

Tom Moore
Motorsports Public Relations
Office. 615-778-1614
Mobile.  615-509-5000
tom@darkhorseautosport.com

About Porsche Cars North America Inc. | One Porsche Drive, Atlanta, GA 30354 USA
Established in 1984, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche 918 Spyder, 911, Boxster and Cayman sports cars, the Macan and Cayenne SUVs, and Panamera sports sedans. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia since 1998, PCNA is also home to the first Porsche Experience Center in North America featuring a module-based 1.6 mile driver development track, business center, human performance center, and fine dining restaurant. PCNA employs approximately 300 people who provide parts, service, marketing, and training for 188 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand's 65-plus year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency. PCNA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000-plus motorsport wins to date.

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