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Porsche keen to repeat last year’s GT victory, Sports Car World Championship WEC, rd 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France

 

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

 

Stuttgart. It was a debut made to order: At its first ever outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, the Porsche 911 RSR brought home a double victory. At the 82nd edition of the world’s most famous long distance race, contested on the Circuit des 24 Heures on 14/15 June, Porsche Team Manthey will again field a pair of 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class. Taking up the challenge alongside the factory squad, Porsche customer teams from Europe and America again contest the GTE-Am class, which Porsche also won last year. The classic event in provincial France, where Porsche is chronicled as the most successful manufacturer with 16 overall victories, is regarded as the highlight of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC).

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The race
First contested in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the toughest automobile race in the world and represents the greatest challenge motorsport has to offer. What makes this classic so unique is also the 13.65 kilometre “Circuit des 24 Heures”, one of the oldest and fastest race tracks in the world with 38 corners and the legendary five-kilometre long Mulsanne straight. Almost 75 percent of a lap is driven at full throttle.

Porsche drivers
Double points are awarded for round three of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC at Le Mans. Tackling the GTE-Pro class in the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). Sharing the #92 cockpit are their works driver colleagues Marco Holzer (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and last year’s winner Richard Lietz (Austria). Customer teams take on the GTE-Am class with a pair of 911 RSR: For the Dempsey Racing-Proton outfit, Patrick Dempsey (USA) and Joe Foster (USA) join forces with Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA). Christian Ried (Germany), Porsche junior Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) compete for Proton Competition. The customer squads IMSA Performance Matmut and Prospeed Competition each bring two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in last year’s spec to the start. IMSA Performance Matmut has contracted an all-French driver line-up with Erik Maris, Jean Marc Merlin and Eric Hélary as well as Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo and David Hallyday. Taking on the challenge for Prospeed Competition are Cooper MacNeil (USA), Bret Curtis (USA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) as well as Frenchmen Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard.

The Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche 911 RSR which Porsche has campaigned in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship since 2013 is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. At its race debut last year the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach scored a brilliant double victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For 2014, the 911 RSR received improvements in many areas. In addition to winning the WEC season opener at Silverstone, this racer has also clinched victories at the long distance classics at Daytona and Sebring. Through the balance of performance ruling, the 911 RSR for Le Mans must now weigh 25 kilograms more than last year’s contender, with the restrictors reduced from 29.6 to 29.3 millimetres.

The schedule
Free practice on the Circuit des 24 Heures is held on Wednesday, 11 June, from 16.00 to 20.00 hrs, followed by the first qualifying session from 22.00 hrs to midnight. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Thursday, 12 June, from 19.00 to 21.00 hrs and from 22.00 hrs to midnight. The start flag for the 24 hour pursuit drops on Saturday, 14 June, at 15.00 hours. The 56-strong field is sent on its way by ex-Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.

TV tips
Eurosport International and Eurosport 2 alternately broadcast the complete race live. The last two hours of free practice as well as the three qualifying sessions and the warm-up are also televised live. Also aired during the week are various programmes highlighting the world’s most famous long distance race with news, interviews, portraits and background reports. Detailed TV information is available on http://www.eurosport.com.

Quotes before the race

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

“Le Mans is the highlight of the year. For our teams and drivers this race represents an exceptional challenge – and we’re feeling highly motivated and very well prepared. After our double victory at the season-opener in Silverstone, our car now has to carry 25 extra kilograms of ballast and the diameter of the two restrictors is now 0.3 millimetres smaller than last year’s. When considering the additional changes made, as against 2013, at one or the other competitor one has to question to what extent is the Balance of Performance actually balanced. We feel it is a matter of utmost urgency in the spirit of the sport to find a regulation for the classification of vehicles where you don’t have to fear being punished for a good performance, like what happened to us after Silverstone. Nevertheless, we’ll work extremely hard to do a good job at Le Mans – just like last year.”

Joerg Bergmeister (#91):

“I’ve raced at Le Mans since 2002 and it’s a fantastic feeling to be back again this year. It’s the season highlight for me. This race has a very special atmosphere and it’s always incredibly demanding. More than anything I enjoy the extremely fast corners, they’re the most fun. Last year we came second behind our teammates and I wouldn’t mind at all if we switch positions this year.”

Patrick Pilet (#91):

“Le Mans is a very special race, especially for me as a Frenchman. It’s always an incredible feeling to go racing on such an extreme circuit in front of so many fans. Aside from the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans is the greatest race on Earth. We are well prepared and our 911 RSR is a strong contender, especially on the long straights. It would be fantastic if we could turn this into a win. We were so close last year.”

Nick Tandy (#91):

“Ever since I began racing for Porsche at Le Mans in 2010 it has been my goal to secure a podium spot here. You only get this chance once a year and I’ll do everything within my power to make it happen. For a race driver, Le Mans is a magical place. Even when you arrive in the paddock you get a sense of the great history. And the Circuit des 24 Heures is something very special with its unique combination of race track and normal country roads. It’s an honour for me to drive again for Porsche at Le Mans this year.”

Marco Holzer (#92):

“At my first race in Le Mans in 2010 we managed to achieve a podium finish with third place. When I think back to the cheering crowds at the award ceremony it still sends shivers down my spine. I’d very much like to experience this feeling again and our chances don’t look too bad. We have a great car and a strong team behind us. But in Le Mans you can’t afford to make one mistake. You have to be totally focussed otherwise you can forget it.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (#92):

“As a Frenchman you simply have to race at Le Mans. And you want to win. Your family is watching at the track, your friends are there supporting you. This makes it hugely motivating to achieve everything you’ve set out to do. As a child I dreamed of Porsche. I launched my racing career with Porsche. If I could now win Le Mans with Porsche, well that would just be the best thing in the world. But first we have to face 24 gruelling hours where pretty much anything can happen.”

Richard Lietz (#92):

“I have many wonderful memories of Le Mans, especially my wins in 2007, 2010 and 2013. It’s the greatest race in the world. I love it. If I couldn’t be here as a driver, I’d buy a ticket and watch the race as a spectator. Earlier, only victory in Le Mans counted. Since 2013, it has become part of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship which means that if you can’t win then you have to make sure you bring home as many points as possible. The connection between Porsche and Le Mans is pure racing fascination. Getting the chance to compete at Le Mans for Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in the history of this race, is motivation enough. You automatically do your absolute best to win.”

Patrick Long (#77):

“Le Mans is always a huge challenge. Everyone wants to win, regardless of the category they’re contesting. I’m really looking forward to racing with Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster and helping the whole team to fulfil their dreams at Le Mans. Last year we narrowly missed out on a podium spot. This time we’re determined to make it.”

SOURCE:

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

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Porsche teams conduct successful Le Mans test, Sports Car WEC, test day Le Mans 24 Hours, France, GT

 

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Stuttgart. At the traditional test day on the Circuit des 24 Heures on Sunday, teams and drivers entered the last and decisive preparation phase leading up to the Le Mans 24 Hours. The legendary long distance classic will be run on 14/15 June as round three of the Sports Car World Championship (WEC). Porsche Team Manthey’s two Porsche 911 RSR, which scored a double class win at their first Le Mans outing last year in the GTE Pro class, concluded a testing programme without any technical problems in dry and partly sunny conditions.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

The three Porsche customer outfits Dempsey Racing-Proton, IMSA Performance Matmut, and Prospeed Competition, also used the test day to set up their cars for the challenging 13.629 kilometre circuit. They are contesting the GTE Am class. The Le Mans 24 Hours runs for the 82nd time this year and is regarded as the highlight of the season.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France), and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) took the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR through its paces. Their works driver colleagues Marco Holzer (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France), and Richard Lietz (Austria), who celebrated his third Le Mans victory last year, shared driving duties in the second 911 with starting number 92 run by the Porsche Team Manthey squad. The team entrust the two factory-911 to the same driver line-ups for the race.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer, Frederic Makowiecki, Richard Lietz

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

“Basically our drivers are happy with the handling of the 911 RSR. Now we’ll focus on preparing for the race. Unfortunately Joerg Bergmeister had to make a brief excursion into the gravel trap and slightly damaged the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR when he avoided another car. It didn’t make sense to do the repairs here. We’ll take a good look at it when we get home, after all, we want to drive this car in a fortnight at the 24 hour race. I don’t think all the manufacturers laid their cards on the table today, so as to avoid risking being penalised. It would have been better to find a regulation where you don’t have to be afraid of being punished for a good performance, like what happened after our double victory at the season-opener at Silverstone. The current situation doesn’t do a season highlight like the 24 Hours of Le Mans justice.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Joerg Bergmeister

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Joerg Bergmeister

Joerg Bergmeister (#91):

“Basically a test day is to gain as much information as possible. Unfortunately I missed the braking point in the Ford curve and actually wanted to drive straight ahead through the gravel trap to avoid hitting the kerbs at the edge. But the car took off, flew far and landed hard. For this reason, the afternoon session fell flat.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: (l-r) Patrick Pilet, Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: (l-r) Patrick Pilet, Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

Patrick Pilet (#91):

“It’s always wonderful to be back in Le Mans. It’s my all-time favourite track. And today I immediately felt great here. Our car has a great set-up and I’m certain that we’ll tackle the race well prepared.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy

Nick Tandy (#91):

“This test in particular is always a good chance to see how the car handles on this rather unique track. Towards the end of the morning session we began to change certain things on the set-up. It’s important on such a day to make the best use of the little time you have. I’m sure we’ve done this today.”

Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer

Porsche Team Manthey: Marco Holzer

Marco Holzer (#92):

“I didn’t contest Le Mans last year so it felt great to turn some laps on this fantastic circuit again. This morning we had a lot of dirt on the track which gave very little grip, but over the course of the day the conditions improved. Today it was all about exploring how our tyres behave on this very special circuit and how the grip level changes. We managed to do what we had planned and we can now head to the race feeling quite confident.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Richard Lietz,  Frederic Makowiecki

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Team Manthey: Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

Frédéric Makowiecki (#92):

“We tried out several things on the car, but the many safety car phases, which were intended as a practice for the race, made this somewhat difficult. Still, this test day was a good preparation for the race. We learned a lot and I hope that we can use what we’ve learned in two weeks.”

Porsche Team Manthey: Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Olaf Manthey

Porsche Team Manthey: Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Olaf Manthey

Richard Lietz (#92):

“The test day ran well and we made the best use out of it. First and foremost it was about seeing how the tyres and the car worked together on a circuit that at times runs on a normal country road. I feel we’ve made progress and I’m looking forward to the race.”

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is contested on 14/15 June as round three of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC on the Circuit 24 Heures in Le Mans/France. Double points towards the championship are awarded for drivers, teams and manufacturers.

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster

Dempsey racing Proton: Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster

Source: Communication Porsche AG, Motorsport Press

 

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24 hours of Le Mans, Interview with Wolfgang Hatz, “Porsche is part of Le Mans, and Le Mans is part of Porsche”

 

24 hours of Le Mans, Interview with Wolfgang Hatz

“Porsche is part of Le Mans, and Le Mans is part of Porsche”

Stuttgart. This coming Sunday on June 1, the entries for what will be the 82nd running of the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans will be testing at the famous track. It is the final test prior to arguably the toughest motor race in the world. Porsche vehicles have been on the starting grid continuously for 63 years, and the German sports car manufacturer is the record holder with 16 overall victories and 103 class victories. The most recent class victory was last year with two 911 RSRs one-two in the GTE Pro category. To date, the last overall victory was 16 years ago, as Porsche has not competed in the top class since 1998. Porsche returns there this year and faces the new FIA-efficiency regulations with the innovative 919 Hybrid, which limits the energy consumption per lap. In parallel to this, the GT team is trying to build on the success of the previous year. A gigantic factory involvement. There are also six private Porsche teams starting the event; the most well known driver and team owner is Patrick Dempsey, racing car driver and American actor. As Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG, Wolfgang Hatz is responsible for the Porsche factory involvement.

Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Mr Hatz, when and why did Porsche decide to return to the top class of the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans?

Wolfgang Hatz: “This was in 2011. We were and still are well positioned in the GT category, but it is time for the brand to re-enter at the elite level. The options for this are easily understandable. There is Formula 1, and there is the WEC with Le Mans. An essential criteria for the decision was the desire to establish the project at Porsche itself, so the expertise would be developed and remain in-house. The World Endurance Championship including Le Mans suits us best, it is a real team sport. This is especially true of the team of drivers. But we also needed to create the infrastructure for this first: new buildings, a team of 230 people, every other one of which is an engineer.”

Did the historical connection to Le Mans also play a role?

Wolfgang Hatz: “Porsche is part of Le Mans, and Le Mans is part of Porsche. They fit together. Nevertheless, no one makes these kind of investments due to nostalgia; they have to pay off in the future. As far as I can remember, there was never a regulation that gave the engineers so much freedom and required so much innovation. The obligation towards producing a hybrid and the efficiency formula represent revolutionary challenges. I am proud that our engineers ventured the furthest of any. Ultimately, Porsche customers will benefit from this.”

Porsche Team: Alexander Hitzinger, Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG), Fritz Enzinger, Leiter LMP1 (r)

Porsche Team: Alexander Hitzinger, Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG), Fritz Enzinger, Leiter LMP1 (r)

Can you explain this in laymen’s terms?

Wolfgang Hatz: “Our combustion engine is the finest and most efficient engine ever developed by Porsche. This compact two litre, four cylinder, turbo engine with direct fuel injection and a performance of over 500 PS drives the rear axle. It is the smallest engine with the least number of cylinders in the top category of the race. Our engineers also combined a fundamentally new exhaust gas energy recovery system with this engine. No one else has that. We store the energy recovered from the otherwise unproductive flow of escaping exhaust gasses in a battery. We store energy, which we generate during braking on the front axle in the same battery. When the driver retrieves energy from this reservoir comprised of the latest type of battery cells, several hundred horsepower drive the front axle. During this phase, the driver has a powerful all-wheel drive at his disposal. Our car is the only one in the field which converts energy that would otherwise simply be wasted and makes it useable, not only when braking, but also when accelerating. This represents an immense potential for future road sports cars.”

Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG)


Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG)

Are the efficiency regulations not to the detriment of racing itself?

Wolfgang Hatz: “Not at all; the races at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps have demonstrated this. The prototypes have plenty of power available; whether this is from the internal combustion engine or electrical does not matter. They must use all of the energy on each lap, otherwise it is a waste. Nothing can be saved here. These endurance races are sprints over incredible distances.”

The World Championships comprises eight races, but the focus is on Le Mans. When would the factory involvement be considered a success?

Wolfgang Hatz: “It would be terrific, if the GT team could build on the success of the previous year. However, that is literally more difficult because we had to add weight in accordance with the regulations. Porsche Team Manthey headed by Hartmut Kristen has extensive experience, which may make the decisive difference at Le Mans. The situation is completely different in the case of the Porsche team headed by Fritz Enzinger in the LMP1 class: We have no experience there at all. 2014 is a year of learning. Not admitting that would mean miscalculating Le Mans. At Spa-Francorchamps, the Porsche 919 Hybrid impressively demonstrated that the necessary speed is there with pole position and the fastest race lap. Our competitors know we are a force to be reckoned with. However, the 919 Hybrid has not yet covered the complete Le Mans distance in racing conditions. In this respect, it would be a success if one LMP1 finishes the event. Succeeding with both would be fabulous.”

Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard (l), Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG)

Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard (l), Wolfgang Hatz (Vorstand Forschung und Entwicklung Porsche AG)

At Silverstone, we saw you emotionally applauding the podium place in the overall standings in the pouring rain. Isn’t that the high demand Porsche imposes on itself?

Wolfgang Hatz: “That was a great moment of joy. But I am not losing sight of reality over this. We were not top-notch at Silverstone. We also benefited from the competition’s problems. But we did complete the first six-hour race with this extremely complex car and a team that has never competed before at a circuit. All the processes, especially under chaotic weather conditions, worked very well for the debut. And everyone worked extremely hard for this. The drivers showed their enormous skills but also a lot of discipline. The podium was a great experience for all of us. And we had a one-two in the GT class. The picture we saw on Sunday in England was terrific.”

Where will you be watching the 24 hour race from?

Wolfgang Hatz: “I will be on duty and will not be a spectator. Of course, I spend most of the time in the pit. I attend every race and was at the tracks for almost all the tests. Mostly, by the way, by the side of Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board, and that will also be the case on June 14/15. Come, what may.”

Source: Porsche Product and Technology Communication, Motorsport Press

 

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American Le Mans, Falken Porsche, Henzler, Tandy, Sellers Third in GT at 12 Hours of Sebring

Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers (r - l)

Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers (r – l)

American Le Mans Series, round in Sebring, Florida USA

Stuttgart. At the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Falken Tire squad, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his teammate Bryan Sellers (USA) and works driver Nick Tandy (GB) finished the opening round of the American Le Mans Series season on the GT podium in third place.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

With this result, they were the best of the Porsche pilots on the bumpy 17-turn Sebring circuit which hosts America’s oldest endurance race.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

The team qualified in 12th place in class, but Henzler timed his acceleration at the green flag perfectly, scooting to sixth place in the 500 meters between the start line and turn one. Then, with perfect pit stops and some great driving in traffic from all three racers, the customer Porsche entry outran and outlasted factory teams from Corvette, BMW, SRT Viper and Aston Martin.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Nick Tandy, Bryan Sellers

“When the week began, I wouldn’t have thought we had a chance to make it on the podium as we didn’t have the speed of the others. Our Porsche was consistent, with the engine, brakes and handling all perfect, and we made up positions one at a time until we moved into the top three.

We are very satisfied with third place. We tested several times here, and that certainly helped, but we have more work to do for the season. One of the secrets to our success today was the fast and consistent driving of my colleagues Bryan and Nick,” said Henzler, the 2008 ALMS co-champion.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Paul Miller Racing: Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz, Bryce Miller

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Paul Miller Racing: Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz, Bryce Miller

The other Porsche customer team in the GT class was the Paul Miller Racing orsche 911 GT3 RSR, with factory drivers Richard Lietz (AUS) and Marco Holzer (GER) joining Bryce Miller (USA), finished in sixth place. Holzer, who will drive this car all season with Miller, was pleased with the performance of his Porsche for the last half of the race

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Paul Miller Racing: Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz, Bryce Miller

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Paul Miller Racing: Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz, Bryce Miller

“This was not an easy race for us as our setup in the beginning needed modification, but we picked up our pace and made up four positions in the second half to give Paul Miller Racing its best Sebring finish ever.

Bryce and Richard drove great, and a sixth position gives us valuable points for the season,” said Holzer.

In the GTC class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, no less than seven cars led the class during the 12-hour race, with the #66 TRG Porsche with Damien Faulkner (IRL) in the lead late in the race when an air gun failure during a tire change allowed the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche being driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL) to take the lead with 90 minutes remaining.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Alex Job Racing: Jeroen Bleekemolen, Cooper MacNeil, Dion von Moltke

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Alex Job Racing: Jeroen Bleekemolen, Cooper MacNeil, Dion von Moltke

Bleekemolen, former Porsche Mobil1 Supercup champion, who shared the driving duties with Cooper MacNeil and Dion von Moltke (both USA), then took the car to the checkered flag to win the class.

Round two of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 20 April on the street circuit in Long Beach, California USA.

Result
GT class
1. Milner/Gavin/Westbrook (USA/GB/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 333 laps
2. Bruni/Beretta/Malucelli (ITA/MC/ITA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 333
3. Henzler/Sellers/Tandy (GER/USA/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 332
4. J.Mueller/Martin/Auberlen (MC/BEL/USA), BMW Z4, 330
5. Farnbacher/Goossens/Dalziel (GER/BEL/USA), SRT Viper, 329
6. Holzer/Miller/Lietz (GER/USA/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 329
7. D.Mueller/Hand/Edwards BMW Z4 (CH/USA/USA), BMW Z4, 321
8. Senna/Muecke/Turner (BRA/GER/GB), Aston Martin Vantage V8, 318
9. Lamy/Della Lana/Johnson (POR/CAN/USA), Aston Martin Vantage V8, 309
10. Kendall/Wittmer/Bomerito (USA/CAN/USA), SRT Viper, 303

GTC class
1. Bleekemolen/MacNeil/von Moltke (NL/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 315 laps
2. Pumpelly/Wong/Canache, Jr. (USA/USA/VEN), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 315
3. Edwards/Cisneros/Seefried (GB/USA/GER), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 314

Points’ standings
GT class
Driver
1. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook, Chevrolet, 24 points
2. Gianmaria Bruni, Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli, Ferrari, 20
3. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Nick Tandy, Porsche, 17
4. Joerg Mueller, Maxime Martin, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 14
5. Ryan Dalziel, Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, SRT Viper, 12
6. Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Bryce Miller, Porsche, 10
7. Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, John Edwards, BMW, 7
8. Darren Turner, Stefan Muecke, Bruno Senna, Aston Martin Vantage V8, 7
9. Jonathan Bomarito, Tommy Kendall, Kuno Wittmer, SRT Viper, 6
10. Pedro Lamy, Paul Della Lena, Billy Johnson, Aston Martin Vantage V8, 5

Manufacturers – GT
1. Chevrolet, 24
2. Ferrari, 20
3. Porsche, 17
4. BMW, 14
5. SRT Viper, 12

Teams – GT
1. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 24
2. RISI, Ferrari, 20
3. Team Falken Tire, Porsche, 17
4. Rahal RLL, BMW, 14

The American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The field is divided into five classes that start together but are classified separately:
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers traditionally receives the most support: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series like the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and a 900 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

SOURCE: American Le Mans Series Porsche AG Media Database
Communication Porsche AG, Motorsport Press

 

 

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Video: Best Porsche finishes fifth in the fuel gamble at Daytona 24 hour

 

 

Daytona 24 Hours

Daytona 24 Hours

Stuttgart. The sprint to the finish of the Daytona 24 hour race turned into a gripping game of fuel poker in the fiercely contested GT class.

(l.-r.): Nick Tandy, Marco Holzer, Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas, Patrick Long, Jörg Bergmeister, Michael Christensen, Richard Lietz, Klaus Bachler, Marc Lieb

(l.-r.): Nick Tandy, Marco Holzer, Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas, Patrick Long, Jörg Bergmeister, Michael Christensen, Richard Lietz, Klaus Bachler, Marc Lieb

In the last laps, the teams put all their eggs in one basket with their strategies, waived an additional time-consuming fuel stop so that they had a winning chance at the prestigious sports car classic in Florida.

Richard Lietz

Richard Lietz

For Porsche works driver Richard Lietz this did not work out: Last year’s winner from Austria, who had held the lead position over long stretches in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and was on course for a podium result in the final laps, had to save fuel and was hence unable to utilize the full potential of the car.

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Nicolas Armindo, Andy Lally, John Potter

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Nicolas Armindo, Andy Lally, John Potter

With his Magnus Racing teammates Nicolas Armindo (France), Andy Lally (USA) and John Potter (USA) he finally finished in fifth – ahead of his works driver colleague Marco Holzer (Germany) who shared driving duties in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands), Damien Faulkner (Ireland) and Cooper MacNeil (USA).

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Magnus Racing: Richard Lietz, Nicolas Armindo, Andy Lally, John Potter

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Magnus Racing: Richard Lietz, Nicolas Armindo, Andy Lally, John Potter

The six best placed of the 34 GT vehicles crossed the finish line inside one lap.

“As title defender we had anticipated a better result than fifth of course, still we can be satisfied with our performance,” said Richard Lietz. “Right up until fifteen minutes before the flag everything was running to plan, unfortunately our strategy didn’t quite work. But we didn’t have a choice.

We did everything we could but it wasn’t quite enough.” He led the field with his number 44 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup over a total of 43 laps – far more than any of his opponents. Marco Holzer said: “It was a tough race for us.

We managed the distance well despite some problems but had to ease off the throttle in the last laps to save fuel. We took the gamble and didn’t want to refuel at the end. Sadly this plan didn’t quite succeed.”

 

Daytona 24 Hours

Daytona 24 Hours

“That was certainly one of the most exciting 24 hour races,” said Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

“Our customer teams were right up there in the fight for victory. Last year we came home with a triple victory, this time others climbed the podium.”

 

The first leader on the Daytona International Speedway was Nick Tandy.

Nick Tandy

Nick Tandy

At his debut race as a Porsche works driver, the Briton from Konrad Motorsport/Orbit snatched the lead from pole position. His perfect start, however, was not a good omen: After about eight laps and many incidents, he had to park his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup trackside with suspension damage.

Michael Christensen

Michael Christensen

This also proved to be a bitter experience for his teammate Michael Christensen, the Porsche junior from Denmark who contested his first ever 24 hour race.

Klaus Bachler

Klaus Bachler

For the second Porsche junior, however, Daytona yielded success: Austria’s Klaus Bachler, who contests the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup this year with Michael Christensen, finished eleventh in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup fielded by Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports after putting in a commendable performance.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports: Madison Snow, Melanie Snow, Sascha Maassen Marco Seefried, Klaus Bachler

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports: Madison Snow, Melanie Snow, Sascha Maassen Marco Seefried, Klaus Bachler

“We had a few problems during the night but all in all everything went well,” he commented. “That was my first 24 hour race and I learned a great deal.”

At the wheel of his Porsche Cayman, the 2009 overall winner from America David Donohue won the GX class with his compatriots Nelson Canache, Shane Lewis and Jim Norman.

With this, he earned Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in the history of the race, the 75th class victory in Daytona.

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Klaus Bachler, Nick Tandy, Marco Holzer, Patrick Pilet, Patrick Long, Michael Christensen, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Jörg Bergmeister

(l.-r.): Richard Lietz, Klaus Bachler, Nick Tandy, Marco Holzer, Patrick Pilet, Patrick Long, Michael Christensen, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Jörg Bergmeister

 

Race result
GT class

1. Albuquerque/Jarvis/Mortara/von Moltke (MEX/GB/MEX/USA), Audi R8, 678 laps
2. Bass/Basseng/Rast/Stippler (USA/D/D/D), Audi R8, 678
3. Wilkens/Assentato/Cosmo/Lazzaro (USA/USA/USA/USA), Ferrari 458, 678
4. Balzan/Frezza/Pier Guidi (I/I/I/), Ferrari 458, 678
5. Lietz/Lally/Armindo/Potter (A/USA/F/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 678
6. Holzer/Bleekemolen/Faulkner/MacNeil (D/NL/IRL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 678
10. Farnbacher/Baldwin/Burtin/Ragginger/Renauer (D/USA/USA/A/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 671
11. Bachler/Maassen/Seefried/Snow/Snow (A/D/D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 668
13. Lieb/Sellers/Davis/Keen (D/USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 663

GX class
1. Donohue/Canache/Lewis/Norman (USA/USA/USA/USA), Porsche Cayman, 635 laps

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SOURCE:  24 Hours at Daytona Porsche AG Media Database   Communication Porsche AG Motorsport Press

 

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Video: Four Porsches on the first four grid spots – Daytona 24 Hours 2013

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Konrad Motorsport/Orbit: Nick Tandy, Michael Christensen, Christian Engelhardt, Lance Willsey


Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Konrad Motorsport/Orbit: Nick Tandy, Michael Christensen, Christian Engelhardt, Lance Willsey

Daytona 24 Hours – Press Release – 24/01/2013
Four Porsche on the first four grid spots

Stuttgart. Good starting position for Porsche at the Daytona 24 hour race: In qualifying for the sports car classic in Florida, Porsche pilots locked out the first four grid spots in a field of 36 vehicles entered in the GT class.

Nick Tandy

Nick Tandy

Pole position went to Nick Tandy in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup fielded by Konrad Motorsport/Orbit. Daytona marks the first race for the Briton as a Porsche works driver.

Michael Christensen

Michael Christensen

One of his teammates is Porsche Junior Michael Christensen (Denmark), who contests his first 24 hour race on Saturday.


“Pole position in Daytona shouldn’t be underestimated, even if the race runs over 24 hours,” said Nick Tandy.

“Starting from the front allows you to avoid getting caught up in any skirmishes and that’s certainly an advantage. Our car ran perfectly and that gives us a good feeling for the race.”


In last year’s winning car with the starting number 44, Andy Lally (USA) set the second quickest qualifying time.

Sharing the cockpit of the Magnus Racing 911 GT3 Cup is Porsche works driver Richard Lietz from Austria.

Richard Lietz

Richard Lietz

Third in qualifying in the fiercely competitive qualifying session on the Daytona International Speedway, in which the eleven top placed cars are all within just one second, went to Sean Edwards (MOMO/NGT) from Great Britain ahead Porsche factory pilot Patrick Long (USA) competing for the Park Place Motorsports squad. 


“We won the race last year. Second on the grid is an excellent starting position to repeat this success,” said Richard Lietz.

Patrick Pilet

Patrick Pilet

Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet (France), one of Sean Edwards’ teammates, was also feeling optimistic.

“Sean did an excellent job. After this great qualifying result we are all looking forward to the race. Our goal is to finish on the podium.”

The Daytona 24 Hours starts on Saturday at 15.30 hrs local time (21.30 hrs CET).

Result GT qualifying

1. Nick Tandy (GB), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:47.631 minutes
2. Andy Lally (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 0.197 seconds
3. Sean Edwards (GB), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 0.376
4. Patrick Long (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 0.506
5. Alessandro Balzan (I), Ferrari 458, + 0.629
6. Felipe Albuquerque (MEX), Audi R8, + 0.651
7. Marco Seefried (D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 0.688
8. Robin Liddell (GB), Camaro GT.R, + 0.699

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SOURCE: Daytona 24 Hours – Porsche Media Press Database
Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 — at Daytona International Speedway.

trackmap

In North America, the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race sets the standard for sports car performance and longevity. Traditionally, the 24 hour race on the Daytona International Speedway is the first highlight of the motorsport season and year after year attracts the best pilots from all kinds of race series worldwide to the ‘Sunshine State’ of the USA.

Porsche has collected 72 class and 22 overall wins in the race’s 49-year history, making Porsche the most successful manufacturer in the history of the race. In recent years, Porsche cars have made up almost one-half of the overall entry list at Daytona.

The race
The endurance classic, which kicks off the Grand-Am Series season, started out in 1962 as a three-hour race. At 1,250 miles in 1964, the race grew to double the distance of the classic 1,000 kilometer races of Spa, Monza and the Nürburgring. The maiden 24-hour event in Daytona took place in 1966. Taking their places on the winner’s list are Formula 1 champions like Phil Hill and Mario Andretti as well as legendary Porsche pilots like Hans Herrmann, Rolf Stommelen, Hurley Haywood and Bob Wollek.

The circuit
The Daytona International Speedway is one of the world’s most famous racetracks. The 24-hour race is contested on the 3.56-mile track combination of oval with banked corner and the infield. The circuit is also the venue for the famed NASCAR Daytona 500 race with more than 250,000 spectators annually.

 

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PORSCHE NEWS: Le Mans 24 Hours/WEC: LMP1 Sports Prototype to Be Run by Weissach-Based Works Team

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STUTTGART, GERMANY, Dec 08

At the Weissach Motorsport Centre, preparations for the running of the new LMP1 sports prototype at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the sports car World Endurance Championship are progressing at high revs. For this feat the infrastructure was considerably expanded.

A new workshop building and an office complex have been completed. “The first rollout of our new LMP1 car is planned for mid-2013,”announced Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche AG Board of Management Member for Research and Development, on Saturday on the occasion of the end of season “Night of Championscelebration”.

“The car will be run by our own works team based here at Weissach.” The LMP1 project was realised by a new department headed by Fritz Enzinger.

With his well-established organisational structure, Porsche’s Head of Motorsport Hartmut Kristen continues to be responsibilityfor all other motorsport programmes worldwide. The customer sport model 911 GT3 R celebrated 41 wins from 131 starts in a range of GT3 racing series worldwide. For the 2013 season Porsche offers teams an upgrade package which will position the GT3 R even better in the performance window as defined by the FIA.

In his speech, Hatz underlined the importance of GT racing for Porsche and pleaded for two different GT categories for works-supported professional sport and for customer sport:

“In factory sport the regulations must be based on technology while in customer racing a stronger alignment of the relative strength by Balance of Performance measures is legitimate.”

In addition to the promotion of four Porsche Juniors, one pilot from the international makes cups will enjoy comprehensive support for the 2013 season. Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay (25) who won the Carrera Cup France at his first attempt last season receives funding to the value of 200,000 Euro towards his 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign. At a test session in Vallelunga, Vernay won over eight other top drivers from the Carrera Cups France, Asia, Japan, Scandinavia, Italy, Australia, Great Britain and from the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Vernay has already made a name for himself in international motor racing.

In 2005 he claimed the championship in the French feeder series Formula Renault Campus and went on to finish second in a Formula 3 single-seater at the Macau Grand Prix in 2009. In 2010 Vernay went to the USA and promptly clinched overall victory in the Indy Lights Series’ in his first season. Peugeot contracted the Frenchman as a test and reserve pilot for their LMP1 project in 2011. At the same time Vernay competed in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and was crowned LMP2 champion.

“The support from Porsche is a great opportunity for me,” says Vernay. “In the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup all drivers have to adjust to a new vehicle.

As a newcomer, this means I’ll have a good chance to be competitive right from the beginning.

The Supercup is the pinnacle of the Porsche one-brandcups and has a great reputation as a launching platform to enter professional GT sport.”

With its well-established works drivers, Porsche is relying on continuity.

All nine drivers still have a valid contract for the 2013 season or their contract was extended. For six of the nine drivers, the 24-hour race at Daytona on 26 January marks the start of the new season.

Porsche Motorsport News  Feb 2012

Joerg Bergmeister drives a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for The Racers Group. With Kevin Buckler’s squad, Bergmeister scored a sensational overall victory at Daytona in 2003 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Marco Holzer competes for Alex Job RacingMarc Lieb again joins forces with Brumos Racing and Richard Lietz drives for last year’s winner Magnus Racing

Patrick Long goes racing for Park Place Motorsports and Patrick Pilet competes for the NGT team.

For the Porsche Juniors Michael Christensen and Klaus Bachler the race in Daytona marks the first time in their career that they contest a 24 hour race. Christensen receives support in his campaign from Christian Engelhart and Porsche Cup winner Nick Tandy for the Konrad Motorsport team with whom he contested the Carrera Cup Deutschland in 2012. Bachler is competing for Snow Racing.

SOURCE: Porsche Motorsport Porsche Press Database

 

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