Motorsport News

November 20, 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: Monday, November 20, 2017

Porsche Profile.
Event Story Lines


Fond Farewell. Porsche 919 Retires from Professional Prototype Racing.

With two podium finishes at the last round in Bahrain, the Porsche LMP Team bid a fond farewell to the FIA World Endurance Championship. Drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), who were crowned world champions two weeks ago, finished in second in an incident filled and highly emotional 2017 finale. This year's Le Mans winners dropped behind after an early incident but impressively fought back. The sister car, shared by Neel Jani (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) started from pole position but also suffered a set-back after a collision and a subsequent penalty. Lotterer clocked the fastest race lap and crossed the finish line in third position after six hours of racing. Toyota won the night race.

With this race, that was green flagged by Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Volkswagen AG, one of the most successful chapters of Porsche's motorsport history comes to an end. From 2015 to date, the Porsche LMP Team took three consecutive Le Mans outright victories plus three successive manufacturers' world championship titles while Porsche 919 Hybrid drivers won the drivers' world championship title on the same three occasions. Since the 919's debut in 2014, the tally from 34 races is 17 wins with seven of them being one-two victories. Furthermore, 20 pole positions and 13 fastest race laps were achieved.

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

"No other Porsche factory team has ever managed three Le Mans outright victories in a row but this squad achieved it. I thank them very much for this. I'm extremely proud of every single team member. They have mastered a mammoth task with hard work, consistency and the right approach. To me this represents the Porsche spirit that our brand has stood for spanning almost 70 years. Now the team of Fritz Enzinger and Andreas Seidl face its new challenge: to enter Formula E for season number six at the end of 2019."

Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG.

"An era comes to an end with the last race entry of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. We have often shown in our company's history that inventiveness, experience and courage can make a highly complex and successful racecar. The 919 achieved almost everything possible in its four years and demonstrated the predominance of hybrid power. The combination from a highly efficient combustion engine and a powerful electric drive reached a new level with the 919 Hybrid. We consequently follow this path with our road sports cars."

Fritz Enzinger, Porsche LMP Team, Vice President LMP1.

"Today a very successful era comes to an end and this is the right time to say thank you. Foremost I want to thank the Board who had the faith to give me the project, supported me a lot and always gave me the feeling I was the right choice. Personally, I was only convinced about this when we took our first race win in São Paulo back in 2014. Thanks to all our drivers who took every chance and delivered the highest performance. Finally, it was 17 wins in 34 races. Thanks to everybody in the team for their relentless work and euphoria for the project. There was nothing I enjoyed more than seeing the instinct to win in their eyes on race days! Today is also the right time to pay my gratitude to our Team Principal Andreas Seidl. For the last two years, Andreas mastered the dual role of Team Principal and Technical Director in a superior manner with the first 919 that was developed under his guidance winning the world championship. And finally, it is great a company like Porsche exists. If I had to put the six years I'm with Porsche in one sentence it would be: I was allowed to live my dream. Thanks for the project and thanks for the freedom of scope."

Andreas Seidl, Porsche LMP Team, Team Principal.

"Over the past four seasons, Toyota has been an incredible competitor, and I congratulate them on today's victory. Thanks to the whole team here and in Weissach, to our drivers and partners for four sensational years. This definitely was the last race for the 919 Hybrid. We are very proud of the success we were able to achieve with this technology driven car. Next year we will celebrate these innovations with some very special events. But these details will be unveiled at a later date."

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

"The start was good and at the beginning we could more or less match the pace of the Toyotas. But as soon as we were in traffic, they just had this little bit more than us and over the distance we had to let them go. I really, really enjoyed playing with the boost today and all of the tactics for the last time. I was very aware that we were doing everything for the last time. It has been an amazing journey to be part of such a big project with so many great people."

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

"I had a smooth stint. The 919 was good and I really enjoyed driving it today. I had one little issue lapping an LMP2 causing me to lock-up, which resulted in big flat spots on my tires towards the end. It's a shame we had contact earlier in the race but bad luck has been the story of our car's season. I'm very happy that I was able to do 50 WEC races and drove these amazing cars. The 919 has been a very successful car and I've enjoyed the season racing with Porsche."

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

"I enjoyed the race. It was good fighting and we were all pushing really hard. We got ambitious and tried to do a triple stint on one set of tires, it all looked good. Unfortunately I had contact with another car in the middle of the race. A clear misunderstanding that ended with punctures for both cars, which set us back. This, plus the penalty, were tough ones to take but we gave our best in the race. We knew we had to do everything possible to take the fight to Toyota today. It was a pleasure to drive with Neel and André over this season and to be part of this team."

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

"We were on the back foot after Timo unluckily had to make an early pit-stop. But we never gave up, kept things clean and I personally didn't have any problems during my stints. I just ticked the laps off and enjoyed my time in this monster for the last time. It was a real pleasure today as it has been for me throughout the 919 program. Porsche came up with the crazy idea of putting a little guy from the Carrera Cup in the 919 Hybrid for Le Mans. So, I must thank everyone at Porsche who believed in the pyramid system, which gave me that opportunity. Everyone at Weissach worked so hard throughout the program. It has been an honor to drive for Porsche at the highest level of motorsport. Congratulations must also go to Toyota on a great win today - they really raised their game over the past couple of races."

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

"I had a good start, got past one Toyota and kept up with Neel. But then unfortunately I picked up that bollard and the extra stop dropped us far behind. That was a real shame. But the race result is secondary today. It is the end of great era. I'm honored having been part of this program from the very beginning until the last lap. A great crew, great people and great teammates. I will miss them. This program definitely is the highlight of my career."

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

"We were out of contention early on today. Timo having to pit early in the race was really unlucky and to hit this bollard in the middle of the road wasn't his fault at all. It put us on the back foot but we fought until the checkered flag with the stints going pretty smoothly. It is good to have both cars on the podium today but it is mixed emotions. I'm honored having been part of this program and I will miss it."

Porsche Pilots In Bahrain. 911 RSR Drivers Secure Second-Place In WEC Title.

At the six-hour race on the Bahrain International Circuit, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) secured second-place in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMGTE-Pro Drivers' Championship. With the 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR, the drivers of the No. 91 Porsche GT Team finished fourth in the LMGTE-Pro class at the season finale in the desert. For Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France), who were on course for victory after running in the lead at times, all hopes were dashed after they became entangled in a collision caused by another competitor.

On the 3.36-mile Grand Prix circuit close to Manama, the capital of the Persian Gulf kingdom, the two 911 RSR made a somewhat cautious start to the last race of the year. Only when the engineers sent the No. 92 vehicle with Estre at the wheel back out on the racetrack with a new tire strategy after the first pit stop did the 911 RSR demonstrate the desired performance. Pulling out all stops, the Frenchman overtook two Ferraris in a spectacular overtaking maneuver and worked his way up the field one position after the other. After two hours he had snatched the lead. His teammate Christensen rejoined the race in third-place, moved up into second and set his sights on the frontrunner. However, after half the distance, an LMP1 Toyota squeezed past the 911 RSR in the blind spot and roughly shunted the Porsche into retirement. All prospects of the new GT spearhead from Weissach claiming its maiden victory in the world championship were destroyed.

As spectators in the pits, Christensen and Estre had to watch how the fight for victory played out without them. However, their team colleagues Lietz and Makowiecki jumped into the breach for them. After a weak start which saw the two running at the back of the GTE-Pro field at times, the title aspirants in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR gathered momentum. With 90 minutes left to the checkered flag, Makowiecki had fought his way through to sit in second-place behind the leading Ferrari. However, in the last hour of racing, he was unable to maintain this level of performance. Despite his determined efforts to defend his position, he ultimately had to let the second Ferrari and then a Ford pass him. He didn't, however, relinquish the runner-up spot in the drivers' classification of the world championship as reward for the strong performance of the entire team this season and particularly at this gripping final race of the season.

For the Porsche customer team, Dempsey Proton Racing, the Porsche Junior Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst (both Germany) concluded the season in second-place in the FIA World Endurance Trophy. In Bahrain they took the flag in fourth-place in the 2015-spec 911 RSR, with which they had won this year's LMGTE-Am class races at the Nürburgring and in Mexico.

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.

"We were only narrowly beaten in the debut season of the 911 RSR. Like the last race of the season, all the other races in the GTE-Pro class were extremely competitive. Spectators were treated to truly spectacular racing. Unfortunately, our number 92 car was hit by competitors. In 2018, we'll return with the goal of winning the world championship. Congratulations to our Dempsey Proton Racing customer squad for securing second-place in the drivers' classification of the FIA Endurance Trophy."

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

"We did a lot of things right in this first season with the new 911 RSR. Ultimately, we were in a position to fight for the drivers' world championship. In today's race, we tried several courageous measures and learned a lot, albeit a little too late. Nevertheless, I take my hat off to the team for being so brave. We were beaten by a very strong opponent. For the 2018/2019 season, we now have to prepare even more intensively in order to fight for victories and the world championship title."

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

"Congratulations to the whole team for a great season. We faced very strong opposition with a completely new car and with big expectations. And in this first year we've achieved several commendable successes and learned a great deal. But this season always underlined that we have to keep pushing."

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

"We fell behind in the first stint. Our engineers then opted for a different strategy - and Kevin drove an incredible stint. It was fantastic to watch how he fought his way to the top. I rejoined the race in third-place, overtook the first Ferrari and had a collision with the Toyota. He came out of nowhere, completely unexpectedly, I couldn't see him in the blind spot and so I had no chance to avoid the collision. Obviously, this is a disappointing way to finish the season."

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

"We struggled initially. The first stint wasn't good. Our engineers sent me back out onto the track with a modified strategy and that worked brilliantly. I managed to come from the very back of the field to first place. Michael also drove a strong second stint, but he was hit by the Toyota, unfortunately. The LMP1 guys sometimes try to overtake off the racing line and no one can anticipate that. Michael hadn't expected him at that point. Unfortunately, that was the end of our race."

Social Media.
Porsche Cars North America. @Porsche
Porsche North America. @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport - GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing - 919 Hybrid. @Porsche_Team
 
Model Hashtags.
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
Intercontinental GT Challenge @IntercontGTC


Future Porsche Events.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Event: Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Daytona International Speedway
Dateline: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: Friday - Sunday, January 5 - 7, 2018
Track Length: 3.56-miles, 12-turnn
Race Duration: Official Test Session
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
  GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. NA
  GTD. NA
Next Round: 56th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Daytona International Speedway, January 27 - 28, 2018
 

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Event: 56th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Daytona International Speedway
Dateline: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: Saturday - Sunday, January 27 - 28, 2018
Track Length: 3.56-miles, 12-turn
Race Duration: 24-Hours
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
  GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. 1 of 11
  GTD. 1 of 11
Next Round: 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring, Florida, Sebring International Raceway, March 17, 2018


Porsche Motorsport Video News Releases.
https://vimeo.com/159661478

Photography.
http://press.porsche.com/media/gallery2/v/photos/motorsports/happenings

Porsche Cars North America Media Site.
http://press.porsche.com/

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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