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Category Archives: Night Of Champions

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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Works engagement with 919 hybrid and 911 RSR, Most comprehensive racing programme of all time

Works engagement with 919 hybrid and 911 RSR

Porsche 919 R Hybrid

Porsche 919 R Hybrid

Stuttgart. Porsche heads into the 2014 season with the most extensive motorsport programme ever. In addition to its new LMP1 project, Porsche Motorsport sends two GT works teams to compete on race tracks around the world. Porsche AG Team Manthey again fields two Porsche 911 RSR in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet

Porsche North America contests the new Tudor United Sportscar Championship with CORE autosport as the race team, with the new season kicking off at the Daytona 24 hour race on 25 January.

Matthias Müller, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Matthias Müller, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Porsche Motorsport’s driver squad has also grown to record size.

For the upcoming season, Porsche has signed on 20 drivers including four Porsche juniors and a scholarship candidate chosen from the international one-make race series. All current Porsche factory pilots have received a contract for the 2014 season. “We’ve never had such a large driver line-up in the history of the company,” says Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG.

Porsche 919 hybrid named, LMP1 driver squad complete
Porsche AG announces its driver line-up and the vehicle name for its return to the top category of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014, with the season highlight in Le Mans: On the occasion of the Porsche Night of Champions this Saturday in Weissach, the young New Zealander Brendon Hartley (24) and long-standing Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (33) from Germany have been confirmed as regular drivers in the LMP1 race car, officially called the “Porsche 919 hybrid”. Already signed on for the LMP1 project are the drivers Timo Bernhard (DE, 32), Romain Dumas (FR, 36), Neel Jani (CH, 30) and the Australian Mark Webber (37).

Driver squad Porsche LMP1, Mark Webber, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Brendon Hartley (l-r)

Driver squad Porsche LMP1, Mark Webber, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Brendon Hartley (l-r)

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

“We are very proud of our strong international driver line-up. Three of the six drivers come from our own Porsche driver squad, two were even Porsche juniors. This is something we are particularly proud of.” Hatz continued: “The vehicle name 919 hybrid follows on from the tradition of the Le Mans-winning 917, but it is also with a view to the 918 Spyder, and acknowledges the company’s embarkation into the hybrid future. With hybrid sports cars like the Cayenne as a SUV, the Grand Touring Panamera, and the 918 Spyder three-litre super sportscar, we are on the right track. But to continue leading the way in the future and to merge sportiness with sustainability, we need to keep learning. Maximum efficiency in energy consumption is the directive of the new WEC regulations for the works-entered class 1 prototypes – and that is also the direction for the automobile future.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions 2013

Fritz Enzinger, Head of LMP1, explained:

“We had a substantial number of applicants from all classes for the two 919 hybrids. We were looking for experience, sheer speed, technical understanding, and we wanted team players because this is more important in endurance racing than in any discipline.”

Strong driver squad wrapped up with Hartley and Lieb 
Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas were the first drivers to be selected. The two bring the experience of seven overall victories each from 24 hour races – Nürburgring, Daytona, Spa and overall victory together in Le Mans with Audi. In July 2013, the ex-Formula 1 test driver Neel Jani joined the team, with Mark Webber onboard since the end of the 2013 Formula 1 season. Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb now complete the squad.

Hartley left his homeland early to advance his racing career in Europe. Following on from successes in the Formula Renault and Formula 3 came the long-awaited Formula 1 contract – as a test driver but with precious little chance to race. Hence, parallel to his F1 commitments, Hartley turned to sports car racing. He said: “I’m incredibly proud that Porsche has chosen me. I was deeply impressed at my first outing in Le Mans. But to compete there in the LMP1 for an iconic company like Porsche is another dimension completely.”

Marc Lieb was 20 years old when his career as a race driver at Porsche took off: In the year 2000, he won the Porsche Junior driver selection. In addition to a raft of class victories, he also scored five overall wins at 24 hour races, four times on the Nürburgring, once at Spa. “I have been fortunate enough to celebrate victories with Porsche all over the world,” said Lieb, “even in the GT class at Le Mans. People there always asked when we would return to the LMP1 class. Since the project was given the go-ahead, I only wanted one thing: to be involved. Le Mans and Porsche, I can’t even begin to describe how excited this makes me feel.”

Mark Webber disclosed:

“For me a lot of it is familiar, a lot is foreign, everything is special. I’m absorbing every bit of information I can and I’m already looking forward to the next tests.” The nine-time Grand Prix winner took the wheel of the 919 hybrid for the first time several days ago in Portimão, Portugal.

Timo Bernhard has a few more kilometres to his credit. He said:

“I’ve been with Porsche for 15 years and I feel an immense responsibility that comes with the return to LMP1. In the development, all your skills as a driver are required. The first premise is not to drive fast, it’s more to feel what the car is doing and to share even the smallest details with the engineers.”

Romain Dumas, who celebrates his 36th birthday today on the Night of Champions, underlined:

“We are a good team for the development of the 919 hybrid. We have a lot of work ahead of us. The 2013 class victory with Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz in the factory-run Porsche 911 RSR was really great, but now we’re heading into new territory, and with all the complex technical innovations, our new squad faces an enormous challenge.”

Neel Jani summarises:

“It has always been my goal to one day fight for overall victory in the WEC and Le Mans. To do this you have to be part of a good works squad, and this is where I am right now. To compete for Porsche is a great honour and it comes with a lot of responsibility. We want to write a new chapter in the great history of Porsche motorsport, even if it takes time. The technology is completely new and we need to grow together as a team.”

Frédéric Makowiecki signed as Porsche works driver
Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki (33) will join the ranks of Porsche Motorsport’s GT squad this coming season and pilot a 911 RSR. Makowiecki, who prefers to be called Fred Mako, is a regular competitor behind the wheel of Porsche race cars. He has collected more than nine years of experience in the cockpit of the 911. One of his greatest achievements was clinching the title of the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 2010.

Frédéric Makowiecki (FR)

Frédéric Makowiecki (FR)

“Frédéric Makowiecki is one of the fastest and most experienced GT pilots,” says Porsche Head of Motorsport Hartmut Kristen. “He has a great deal of experience on virtually all international race tracks and he knows precisely how to drive a Porsche 911 fast. I’m very much looking forward to working with him.”

Porsche acquires majority holding in Manthey Racing GmbH
Porsche has acquired a 51 percent stake in Manthey Racing GmbH and as such continues to expand its long and successful collaboration with the race outfit from Meuspath at the Nürburgring. “I’m sure this will help us to prepare even better for the challenges we are facing together in the WEC and I look forward to working with Olaf Manthey, Nicolas Raeder and Martin Raeder,” says Wolfgang Hatz.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey

Martin Ragginger wins Porsche Cup
After a successful season in international GT racing, Austrian Martin Ragginger (25) can celebrate winning the Porsche Cup as the best Porsche private driver in the world. On the occasion of the Night of Champions on 14 December in the R&D Centre at Weissach, Ragginger accepted the Porsche Cup from Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG.

After earning 5,940 points this past season, Ragginger also takes home a new Porsche 911 Carrera S with a total value of more than 120,000 Euros. Second-placed Klark Quinn (AUS) is the recipient of 30,000 Euros, with Robert Renauer given 25,000 Euros for third place. The Porsche Cup comes with a total purse of 253,000 Euros. As the brainchild of Ferry Porsche, this trophy has been awarded every year since 1970 to the best private Porsche race driver. Pilots earn points towards the Porsche Cup in 18 international race series as well as at selected long distance races.

Professional racer Martin Ragginger, who contested his first kart race at the age of nine, competed in six race series during 2013. He celebrated his greatest success of the season at the 24 Hours of Dubai, winning the A6-AM class for GT3 vehicles. Ragginger also tackled the ADAC GT Masters at the wheel of a 911 GT3 R and concluded the season in fourth overall. The Austrian earned more points towards the Porsche Cup in the VLN on the Nürburgring, at the Campionato Italiano GT, in the Grand-AM and in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Trailing Ragginger by just 110 points, Klark Quinn (31) came a close second in the fight for the Porsche Cup. Quinn secured the 2013 Australian GT Championship title, winning three out of twelve rounds of the Australian series, and climbing the podium eleven times. At the twelve-hour race at Bathurst, Australia, he achieved third place at the wheel of a Porsche 991 GT3 R fielded by his team “VIP Petfoods Racing”.

After an exciting season, Robert Renauer clinches the third spot on the Porsche Cup podium. The 28-year-old from Jedenhofen in Bavaria earned Cup points at 17 races. In the ADAC GT Masters, the qualified car salesman secured second place in the overall classification with his team Tonino powered by Herberth Motorsport. Renauer went on to score more points at rounds of the Campionato Italiano GT, as well as in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the GrandAM Rolex Sportscar Series.

Start: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Deutschland 2013

Start:
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Deutschland 2013

Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup continues with Formula 1
The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup continues to run as part of the Formula 1 weekends. The successful partnership, which began back in 1993, has now been extended for another three years, up to and including the 2016 season. For more than two decades, the flagship of Porsche’s one-make race series has been regarded as one of the major launching platforms for an international GT career.

“The Supercup is the crown of Porsche’s brand trophy series. It has everything that makes international motor racing great. Many of our works drivers are the best sports car pilots in the world and they came from the Supercup,” says Porsche Motorsport boss Hartmut Kristen. “We’re delighted to be able to continue offering our partners and fans exciting racing in such an attractive environment like the top league of motorsport.”

The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads into its 22nd season on 11 May 2014 in Barcelona. Nine events with a total of ten races make up the calendar. A highlight of the season will be on 12 October at the Supercup debut on the new Formula 1 circuit in the Russian Olympic city of Sochi.

The 2014 Supercup calendar:

11.05. Barcelona/Spain
25.05. Monte Carlo/Monaco
22.06. Spielberg/Austria
06.07. Silverstone/Great Britain
20.07. Hockenheim/Germany
27.07. Budapest/Hungary
24.08. Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium
07.09. Monza/Italy
12.10. Sochi/Russia (2 races)

SOURCE: Porsche AG

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

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Nick Tandy wins Porsche Cup as the best private driver in the world

Nick Tandy Winner Porsche Cup, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche Chairman of the Supervisory Board


Nick Tandy Winner Porsche Cup, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Stuttgart. After his first full season in international GT racing, Nick Tandy (28) from Great Britain can celebrate winning the Porsche Cup as the best private driver in the world.

On the occasion of the Night of Champions on 8 December in the R&D Centre at Weissach, Nick Tandy received the Porsche Cup from Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG. Additionally, Tandy was awarded a new Porsche 911 Carrera S.

911 Carrera S Coupé

 Tandy was awarded a new 911 Carrera S Coupé

During the past season the Briton scored a total of 7,510 points. Second-placed Raymond Narac is the recipient of 30,000 Euro, Paolo Ruberti’s third place comes with a purse of 25,000 Euro.

Nick Tandy (GB)Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland - 09 Hockenheimring 2011

Nick Tandy (GB)
Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland – 09 Hockenheimring 2011

 

The Porsche Cup is endowed with a total value of 253,000 Euro. In the competition initiated by Ferry Porsche, drivers earned points in 18 Grand Touring and prototype race series worldwide as well as at selected long distance races. Professional race driver and part-time farmer Nick Tandy headed into 2012 as the reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by the experienced Manthey Racing team in the International GT Open. Sharing the cockpit with works driver Marco Holzer, Tandy won five races.
In the ADAC GT Masters, Tandy competed for the Geyer & Weinig EDV – Schütz Motorsport squad at the wheel of a 911 GT3 R. Here, Tandy and his teammate Christian Engelhart scored four victories. For the Brit, the season concluded with seventh place in the drivers’ classification.

2012 ALMS - Petit Le Mans

Tandy earned further points towards the Porsche Cup competing for Flying Lizard Motorsports and TRG in the ALMS.

2012 ALMS - Petit Le MansPorsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Seth Neiman, Nick Tandy

2012 ALMS – Petit Le Mans
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Seth Neiman, Nick Tandy

2012 ALMS - Petit Le MansPorsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Seth Neiman, Nick Tandy

2012 ALMS – Petit Le Mans
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Seth Neiman, Nick Tandy

In the British GT Championship, he manned the cockpit of a Team Motorbase fielded 911 GT3 R at selected rounds. After John Fitzpatrick (1972, 1974, 1980) and Tim Sugden (2005), Nick Tandy is the third Briton to be honoured with the Porsche Cup, which has been awarded by Porsche since 1970.

International GT Open, Barcelona, Marco Holzer (GER), Olaf Manthey (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Marco Holzer (GER), Olaf Manthey (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Manthey-Racing, Marco Holzer (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Manthey-Racing, Marco Holzer (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Manthey-Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Marco Holzer (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Manthey-Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Marco Holzer (GER), Nick Tandy (GBR)

With a margin of just 170 points, Frenchman Raymond Narac (45) finished the race for the Porsche Cup in second place. The founder and owner of the successful IMSA Performance Matmut team contested three major championships as team principal and driver.

International GT Open, Barcelona, IMSA Performance Matmut, Patrick Pilet (FRA), Raymond Narac (FRA)

International GT Open, Barcelona, IMSA Performance Matmut, Patrick Pilet (FRA), Raymond Narac (FRA)

In the European Le Mans Series, Narac defended the championship title in the GTE Am class driving a 911 GT3 RSR in last year’s spec.

International GT Open, Barcelona, Raymond Narac (FRA)

International GT Open, Barcelona, Raymond Narac (FRA)

 

Joining forces with Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet, Narac periodically held the lead in the International GT Open driver’s standings and concluded the season in the hotly-contested championship in sixth. In the World Endurance Championship, Narac scored a class win and second place in Le Mans.
After securing second in last year’s Porsche Cup, Paolo Ruberti again climbs the “podium” in third. The 37-year-old Italian secured this success predominantly in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Driving Felbermayr-Proton’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Ruberti won the GT Am class at the Sebring 12 Hours and the 6 hour race in Bahrain.

Ruberti secured additional points thanks to a victory and a second place in the Italian GT Championship.

SOURCE: Porsche Motorsport  Porsche AG Media Press Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

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