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Porsche 911 RSR triumphs with double victory in Le Mans, Sports Car WEC, rd 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France

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Stuttgart . At the Le Mans 24 Hours, Porsche has further extended its record with class wins number 99 and 100 and opened a new chapter in the history of the world’s most famous long distance race. On the Circuit des 24 Heures, the new Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey with Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) won the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class against strong opposition from Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Viper.

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In the second 911 RSR, their works driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) made the double victory for the race car from Weissach perfect.

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In the GTE-Am class, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by the customer team IMSA Performance Matmut clinched victory with Frenchmen Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl-Vernay and Christophe Bourret.

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The 81st running of the long distance classic took place in changeable weather with constant showers and under the most difficult conditions. All the greater was the relief after the maiden win of the new Porsche 911 RSR.

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At the finish line, the Porsche AG Team Manthey squad stood united at the pit wall to give their heroes the glorious reception they deserved.

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Amidst them stood Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG, CEO Matthias Müller as well as Board Members Wolfgang Hatz (Research and Development) and Bernhard Maier (Sales and Marketing) who had witnessed most of the race firsthand round-the-clock in the Porsche pits.

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Already in the hour after the start, the 911 RSR made up positions at just its third outing in the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC, which yielded double points at Le Mans as the third round.

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With fast lap times and utmost reliability, the 911 with the starting number 92 in particular fought for victory right from the start.

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The pit stops were predominantly just routine: Refuel, tyres, driver change – then back out on the track.

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Both works-run Porsche completed the entire distance without the slightest technical problem, apart from a rear light that had to be replaced on the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR after being nudged by a competitor.

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The second racer fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey was thrown back in the field shortly after the start when the safety car was deployed right in front of Joerg Bergmeister which cost the Porsche factory pilot almost two minutes.

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While some competitors struggled on the difficult and partly wet circuit, the 911 RSR made it safely through the night without any problems and underlined the intention to clinch its maiden victory with consistently fast lap times.

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Even when torrential rain fell a good hour before the finish and its pursuers launched a final attack, Richard Lietz remained unfazed at the wheel of the number 91 car. In the final race hours, the number 91 vehicle also gained ground and slipped into second place ahead of the Aston Martin and Ferrari. The Porsche works drivers did not let this superb double victory slip out of their hands.

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In the GTE-Am class, three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at times ran at the front. At the flag, Raymond Narac, Christophe Bourret and Jean-Karl Vernay, who receives support from Porsche in his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign this season, brought home the victory.

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Especially for Jean-Karl Vernay, the winner of the 2012 International Cup Scholarship, a dream came true.

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Porsche race driver Patrick Dempsey, one of an all-American driver trio helming the Dempsey Del Piero-Proton 911 GT3 RSR with Porsche works driver Patrick Long and Joe Foster, also held the lead at times.

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However, after he was blamelessly shunted off the circuit by a sports prototype he had to bury his dream of winning his first Le Mans outing with Porsche.

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The Le Mans race was overshadowed by the death of Denmark’s Allan Simonsen. In the fourth race lap, the Aston Martin pilot crashed into the barriers in the fast Tertre Rouge corner and died from his serious injuries shortly afterwards in the Circuit des 24 Heures Medical Centre.

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Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG:

“With the 99th and 100th class win and the double victory of the new 911 RSR, this Le Mans 24 hour race was a magnificent success for Porsche. I very much congratulate all those who have contributed. Our joy, however, is also mixed with sadness and shock at the death of Allan Simonsen. We have not only lost a passionate racer, but also a good friend of the Porsche motorsport family. He contested his first Le Mans 24 Hours in 2007 with a Porsche. With our works driver Marc Lieb in 2005, he contested two races of the Le Mans Endurance Series in a Porsche as well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family as well as the Aston Martin squad and his teammates at this difficult time.”

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG:

“Those were very gripping 24 hours and a race with action we’ve all certainly experienced rarely. It was exciting from the first to the last minute. In the end luck was on our side. Aston Martin was a tremendous opponent. At this time our thoughts should be with the fatally injured Allan Simonsen. For motorsport and for Aston Martin it is a great tragedy. Nevertheless, Porsche has once again shown that it is the manufacturer to beat in GT racing. This makes us optimistic for 2014.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member Research and Development at Porsche AG:

“I am incredibly proud of what the entire team has done here. A double victory in the Pro class and even a win thanks to our customer team, you can’t ask for more than that.”

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

“In the 50th anniversary of the 911 and 15 years since the last time a works team competed here Le Mans it’s the best result you can imagine. And I don’t just mean the performance of our Pro teams. Our customer squads have performed brilliantly. We couldn’t have done better. The race was thrilling for the spectators and it was nerve wracking but the result after all that was well worth it.”

Olaf Manthey, team principal of Porsche AG Team Manthey:

“I’m still speechless about our success. After the penultimate safety car phase I was not feeling particularly optimistic. I still can’t believe this victory. In 1999 I was with Porsche for the first time in Le Mans and we won then too. Now I returned after 15 years and did it again. Dear God, however, has written a screenplay that almost ruined by nerves.”

Marc Lieb (#92):

“It’s a fairytale. To win Le Mans at our first attempt with a new RSR is something we never expected in our wildest dreams. I’m incredibly proud of my teammates and the entire crew that turned the 911 RSR into a winning car at Le Mans in such a short time.”

Richard Lietz (#92):

“Even in my last stint when everything came to a head for us I didn’t feel any great pressure. But right from the start I had the death of a colleague in my head, and the battle for tenths of seconds and positions became secondary. I believe there wouldn’t be many drivers who could really concentrate, I’ve never experienced so many safety car phases in Le Mans. We were lucky with the rain today but we needed luck too under such difficult conditions. As far as our performance and the car goes we are delighted and proud, but our thoughts are somewhere else.”

Romain Dumas (#92):

“This race was packed with suspense and emotion right from the start. It began with Allan Simonsen’s tragic accident, and in the end we were lucky with the rain which helped us considerably. However, we had a lot of frustration with the safety car at the beginning. This success is of course great for Porsche and the 50th anniversary of the 911.”

Joerg Bergmeister (#91):

“I had very mixed feelings after Allan’s fatal accident. First and second place is obviously a dream result which we had not anticipated before the race considering the superiority of Aston Martin. We had a fabulous car, but also a bit of bad luck. But we were always up with the play, second place is a very good consolation.”

Patrick Pilet (#91):

“It is a day to be proud and happy, but also sad. Due to the circumstances we’ll all need a couple of weeks to let it sink in. Right now we are all thinking of Allan and that’s why this success is not exactly the wonderful moment it was actually supposed to be for me. We came here with a new car, we worked incredibly hard together and fought together with Porsche for this result.”

Timo Bernhard (#91):

“It was a very moving, difficult race with constantly changing weather conditions. We had hoped for a podium result, so the double victory is just fantastic especially for me since this was my last race with the 911 RSR. From the outset we were really fast, but lost two minutes early on through the safety car and we spent the rest of the race trying to catch up. In the end we all had that necessary luck and I congratulate my teammates on their victory. That was a truly great day for the entire team.”

Jean-Karl Vernay (#76):

“Porsche supports me this season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Here in Le Mans I wanted to prove that they were right putting their trust in me. I think I succeeded. I had a great weekend.”

Patrick Long (#77):

“I wanted so much to climb the podium with Patrick and Joe. Even a victory would have been possible. The car was so unbelievably good, but it wasn’t our race. Today is a great day for Porsche. Double victory in Le Mans with the new 911 RSR – it’s almost impossible to believe. My congratulations to all those in Weissach who contributed to it.”

Patrick Dempsey (#76):

“Patrick Long did a fantastic job. He drove so well, so fast. I’m pleased to have him in the team. He is so incredibly inspiring. Porsche gave us a very good car. We were so close to the podium. It is an unbelievable experience to be in Le Mans with Porsche. I’m very proud to have been a part of this great project.”

Round four of the sports car World Endurance Championship takes place on 1 September in Sao Paulo/Brazil.

Race result
GTE-Pro class
1. Dumas/Lieb/Lietz (F/D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 315 laps
2. Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet (D/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 315
3. Dumbreck/Mücke/Turner (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin, 314
4. Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (DK/E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 312
5. Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander (MC/J/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 312
6. Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli (I/I/I), Ferrari 458 Italia, 311

GTE-Am class
1. Narrac/Bourret/Vernay (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 306 laps
2. Perazzini/Case/O’Young (I/I/CDN), Ferrari 458 Italia, 305
3. Gerber/Griffin/Cioci (ZA/IRL/I), Ferrari 458 Italia, 305
4. Dempsey/Long/Foster (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 305
7. Henzler/Gibon/Milesi (D/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 300
8. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 300
9. Collard/Perrod/Crubile (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 298

Please note: Photo material from the Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC is available for accredited journalists from the Porsche Press Database under the internet address http://presse.porsche.de. On this website you can also activate the Porsche Motorsport SMS Info Service to receive the latest news and information from race tracks around the world via text messages. On the internet address http://presse.porsche.de/motorsport journalists have access to the new digital Porsche Motorsport Media Guide 2013.

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SOURCE: Porsche AG Communication Porsche AG

Motorsport Press

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Porsche 911 RSR make up positions after start, Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC, rd 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France

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Stuttgart. The race is on: On Saturday at 15.00 hours, the honorary starter of the Le Mans 24 Hour race Jim France, the founder of the American Grand-Am Series, sent the 56 cars on their way.

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Watched by Dr Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG, and Matthias Müller, Porsche AG Chairman of the Executive Board, two Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche AG Team Manthey as well as five customer team-run Porsche 911 GT3 RSR headed into the 81st edition of the most famous long distance race in the world.

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In the first hour of the race, in which there was a long caution period due to an accident, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (Germany) moved up into second place in the GTE-Pro class at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 92.

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His works driver colleague Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) made up three places in the 911 RSR with the starting number 91 also run by Porsche AG Team Manthey and now ranks fourth.

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In the GTE-Am class three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR sit in the lead: Front-runner is Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA), followed by his factory pilot colleague Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Paoli Ruberti (Italy).

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 Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC

Communication Porsche AG
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First qualifying in Le Mans for Porsche 911 RSR, Sports Car WEC round 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France

Porsche AG Team Manthey

Porsche AG Team Manthey

Stuttgart. Porsche AG Team Manthey used the first qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours on Wednesday primarily to work on the set-up of the new Porsche 911 RSR for its first outing at the world’s most famous long distance race.

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The 911 RSR with the starting number 92, shared by Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), performed impressively in free practice by setting the best time in the GTE-Pro class, and went on to post the fifth quickest time during the first qualifying held in the night.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey- Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet, Timo Bernhard - M13_1364

At the wheel of the second 911 RSR with the starting number 91, their works driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) were clocked as seventh fastest.

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The best Porsche in the GTE-Am class was the 911 GT3 RSR run by Proton Competition on second place. Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti share the cockpit.

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The IMSA Performance Matmut 911 with Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) clinched the third quickest time.

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In the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Dempsey Del Piero Proton squad, the all-American line-up of Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey,

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Dempsey Dell Piero Proton: Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Patrick Long

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Dempsey Dell Piero Proton: Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Patrick Long

Porsche works driver Patrick Long and Joe Foster secured the seventh spot.

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Quotes after the first qualifying

Joerg Bergmeister (# 91):

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“My main priority was to turn my mandatory laps. I was driving on used tyres and everything went really smoothly. As a driver you’re never really satisfied but I think that as far as the race is concerned we are on the right track.”

Patrick Pilet (# 91):

Patrick Pilet and Timo Bernhard

Patrick Pilet and Timo Bernhard

“The balance of the car was okay. On the fastest lap I encountered a lot of traffic which cost me some time. For tomorrow we have to keep working on the balance.”

Timo Bernhard (# 91):

“Today wasn’t really a labour-intensive day. In free practice I turned three laps before the session was red-flagged. When I wanted to climb in the car for my last qualifying stint the red flag came out again and after that it was no longer possible to do anything. Now I hope that I get to drive a bit longer tomorrow.”

Marc Lieb (# 92):

Marc Lieb, Joerg Bergmeister, Porsche AG Team Manthey

Marc Lieb, Joerg Bergmeister, Porsche AG Team Manthey

“The qualifying was quite good. I went out on used tyres and that worked well. I’m happy with the car’s balance. Of course we have to tweak the set-up but I think that we’ll manage that before the race. Compared to Spa and Silverstone we’ve made great strides.”

Richard Lietz (# 92):

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb

“My first lap was really good, but I spun in the second. Luckily nothing happened and I then had no problems on the second set of tyres.”

Romain Dumas (# 92):

Romain Dumas

Romain Dumas

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to drive during qualifying. I drove a couple of laps in free practice during the afternoon. It was great fun to be out on this track in a GT car.”

Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Porsche AG Team Manthey

Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Porsche AG Team Manthey

Wolf Henzler (#67):

 

“Today was my first time with the car on new tyres. The balance is still not quite perfect. I hope that we can attack it again tomorrow.”

Jean-Karl Vernay (#76):

“We have made progress in all areas since the last race in Spa. On the straights we are still a little slower but we are closing in on our competitors. I’m getting to know the circuit better with every lap I drive.”

Patrick Long (#77):

“I initially went out on used tyres to get a feel for the car. When I then tried to go for a good qualifying time with soft tyres the yellow flag came out at the first corner. Afterwards I only had time to turn the required mandatory laps for the night qualifying.”

Patrick Dempsey (#77):

Patrick Dempsey, Dempsey Dell Piero-Proton

Patrick Dempsey, Dempsey Dell Piero-Proton

“I’m very pleased to compete in Le Mans with Porsche. This is really a fantastic experience. Of course there are still some things that need improving but it’s been quite a long time since I’ve driven laps at night on this difficult track. The Porsche is great fun to drive. I’ve learned a lot and I’m feeling confident that we’ll improve even more until the race.”

Paolo Ruberti (#88):

(l.-r.): Gianluca Roda, Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti

(l.-r.): Gianluca Roda, Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti

“I was almost a second quicker than in free practice. In the first chicane I was a little too quick and I lost the rear. Luckily I didn’t hit anything.”

Result 1st qualifying
GTE-Pro class
1. Bell/Makowiecki/Senna (GB/F/BRA), Aston Martin, 3:55.658 minutes
2. Fisichella/Bruni/Malucelli (I/I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 3:55.909
3. Dumbreck/Mücke/Turner (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin, 3:56.004
5. Dumas/Lieb/Lietz (F/D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:56.457
7. Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet (D/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:56.573

1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin, 3:58.661 minutes
2. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 3:59.246
3. Henzler/Gibon/Milesi (D/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4:00.053
5. Narrac/Bourret/Vernay (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4:01.713
7. Dempsey/Long/Foster (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4:03.378

Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC

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SOURCE:  Communication Porsche AG Motorsport Press

 

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Le Mans 24 Hours / World Endurance Championship – Confirmed Porsche entry for Le Mans

24h Le Mans

24h Le Mans

Organizer confirms Porsche entry for Le Mans

Stuttgart. Porsche AG fields two new 911 RSR based on the 991 model generation at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours and in the World Endurance Championship.

Entry for the newly developed vehicles sporting the starting numbers 91 and 92 was confirmed for the GTE class by the organisers ACO and FIA today in Paris.

The factory squad “Porsche AG Team Manthey” will run both 911 RSR race cars.

Contesting the event in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria).

Marc Lieb

Marc Lieb

Richard Lietz

Richard Lietz

The pair has already shared a cockpit in last year’s WEC. At the first two rounds of the season in Silverstone (14 April) and Spa (4 May) as well as at the Le Mans 24 hour race (22 June) they will receive reinforcement from their works driver colleague Romain Dumas (France).

Works drivers also pilot the number 91 sister car: Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) teams up with Patrick Pilet (France). In Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans the duo are joined by Timo Bernhard (Germany).

Jörg Bergmeister

Jörg Bergmeister

Patrick Pilet

Patrick Pilet

Timo Bernhard

Timo Bernhard

Additionally, the customer teams IMSA Performance Matmut and Felbermayr Proton have received a starting place in the WEC and at Le Mans, fielding the predecessor model Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the GTE-Am category.

At the wheel of the IMSA Matmut 911, Raymond Narac (France) shares driving duties with Jean-Karl Vernay (France) who contests the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup with backing from Porsche AG this year. Vernay is the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup France.

Jean-Karl Vernay

Jean-Karl Vernay

The customer team Dempsey Racing-Proton is also delighted with its acceptance to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey

Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey, who is known especially for his role as “McDreamy” in the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, already contested the Le Mans race in 2009 and now climbs back into the cockpit.

Patrick DempseyALMS LAGUNA SECA 2012.USAGE:  Dempsey Racing web site and press material only..Photo:  ©2012 Rick Dole.904.806.0362.radole@earthlink.net

Patrick Dempsey
ALMS LAGUNA SECA 2012.USAGE: Dempsey Racing web site and press material only..Photo: ©2012 Rick Dole.904.806.0362.radole@earthlink.net

“We are very much looking forward to returning to Le Mans with a works team from Porsche for the first time since 1998,” says Porsche Head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen.

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport

“The new 911 RSR performed well in earlier tests and is already proving extremely reliable on the track. Between them, our six pilots have scored eight class wins in Le Mans and have a great deal of experience with different 911 race cars.

And our customer teams in the GTE-Am class are also well prepared for the 2013 season.”

SOURCE:  Porsche Motorsport  – Porsche AG Media Press Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

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