Stuttgart. The new Porsche 911 RSR narrowly missed out on a podium spot at its first race outing.
At the six hour race in Silverstone, the season-opener of the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC), Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Romain Dumas (France) occupied fourth in the GTE-Pro class with the 470 hp race car from Weissach.
At the wheel of the second 911 RSR, also fielded by the newly-formed Porsche AG Team Manthey, their works driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) took the flag in sixth.
On the storied British race track, the Porsche 911 RSR, based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, took up the race after a good qualifying result from the second row of the grid and could match the pace of its strongest opponents for some time.
At times, Patrick Pilet was running third with the #91 car, before an unscheduled pit stop cost him more than two laps and pushed him down the field.
Halfway through the race, Romain Dumas was also on track for a podium place in third with the #92 car. Later, his teammate Richard Lietz even moved into second place – but at the end of the day it was not enough for a top three placing.
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board – Research and Development:
“That was the first race for the new car and the new team. The organization of the squad worked well. Of course, there are areas where we have room for improvement, but it’s like a football team, we first have to get everything running smoothly.Technically, everything worked on the 911 RSR apart from a one small thing which we will have fixed by the next race.
As far as the performance is concerned, we still have room for improvement. Naturally we also have to work on the car, it has a little too much oversteer.
But all in all I regard it as a positive weekend. It wouldn’t have been good if the car had experienced lots of problems, but that was not the case. We saw that the 911 RSR can turn consistently quick lap times over the race distance. Now if we do our homework, I think we’ll finish further up the field at the next races.”
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport:
“Both new 911 RSR reached the flag at their race debut, and there were no major technical problems. With a new team, of course there is still some fine-tuning to be done, that’s normal. We are looking forward to the next race and hope that the car will make another step forward there.”
Marc Lieb (#92):
“We gained many important insights in the race. The car underlined its potential. Now we just need to work a little more on that.”
Richard Lietz (#92):
“We were looking good in the fast corners, but we need to sort out the oversteer exiting the slow corners. But our engineers should be able to correct this by the next race. If so, the podium is within reach.”
Romain Dumas (#92):
“An interesting race. We learned a lot. On the straights we are a little slower than our opponents which makes overtaking very difficult. Still, there are many positives things we can take from this race.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91):
“That wasn’t our dream result. But we’ve learned a lot this weekend. The conditions were not the easiest, because we had no time to practice on the dry track for setting up the car.”
“It’s bad luck that we lost more than two laps, but the mechanics did a good job. In any case, we’ve found a good basis to work on and we are optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Timo Bernhard (#91):
“Heading towards Le Mans that was a very valuable race for us. Our performance wasn’t too bad. Without the front axle problem a podium place would have been within reach.”
In the GTE-Am class, Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti scored fifth place in last year’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the customer team Felbermayr-Proton.
Round two of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) takes place on 4 May in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
1. Turner/Mücke/Senna (GB/D/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 171 laps
2. Kobayashi/Vilander (J/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 170
3. Dalla Lana/Macowiecki/Lamy (CAN/F/P), Aston Martin Vantage, 170
4. Lieb/Lietz/Dumas (D/A/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 170
5. Bruni/Fisichella (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 170
6. Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard (D/F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 168
1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen (DEN/DEN/DEN), Aston Martin Vantage, 169 laps
2. Bornhauser/Canal/Rees (FRA/FRA/BRA), Chevrolet Corvette, 166
3. Potolicchio/Aguas/Peter (I/VEN/A), Ferrari F458 Italia, 165
4. Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter (D/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 165
5. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 165
7. Narac/Bourret/Tandy (F/F/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 163
The World Endurance Championship
In the World Endurance Championship, sports prototypes and GT vehicles start in four classes: LMGTE-Pro, LMGTE-Am, LMP1 and LMP2. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately.
SOURCE: World Endurance Championship Porsche AG Press Media Database