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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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WEC: 3,556 kilometres for the Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Prologue in Paul Ricard

WEC: 3,556 kilometres for the Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Prologue in Paul Ricard

Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brandon Hartley

 

Stuttgart. The Porsche Team enjoyed two intensive days of testing with the newly developed 919 Hybrid, entered in the top class of Le Mans Prototypes, during the official Prologue of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Paul Ricard.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brandon Hartley

It was the first time the Porsche Team had shared a test with the whole WEC field and was able to get a first impression about the differences in speed between the various classes.

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On the 5.791 kilometre long track the difference between the overall fastest lap of the LMP1 car (1:41.289 minutes, Porsche 919 Hybrid, Brendon Hartley) and the slowest GT car was around 20 seconds. The team had another first a few days earlier on the same track when it took part in a private test with two cars.
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In total both driver line-ups – Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb (car no. 14) and Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber (car no. 20) – completed 614 laps (3,556 kilometres) on Friday and Saturday. They practiced countless driver changes and worked together with the Porsche Team’s engineers to further improve the car’s set-up.

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Team principal Andreas Seidl:

“The Prologue was an excellently run test by the WEC organisation and we were able to complete our programme. After concentrating on long distance racing during our private test, when we covered two six hour race distances, we have now also tested our qualifying performance. We made good progress in all areas – be it team-work, performance or reliability. But we know very well that we cannot catch up overnight with the advantage our competition has in terms of experience, and we have quite a lot of homework to do before the season’s opening race on 20th April in Silverstone.“

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Off the track another important point has been clarified. The Porsche 919 Hybrid has finally been homologated for the six megajoule class. This classification defines the amount of recuperated electrical power which can be boosted per lap. At the same time, the megajoule class defines the amount of fuel which can be used per lap.

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1:

“To decide on the best megajoule class requires a complex calculation. To put it simply, you can say we have designed our energy recovery systems as big and heavy as the overall car concept allowed. With the amount of energy we can recuperate this way, we fit well into the six megajoule class.“

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brandon Hartley

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, as well as Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development, gathered first hand information about the project’s progress at the track from Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

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Drivers’ quotes

Romain Dumas (no. 14):

“We made huge progress. In my opinion, the Prologue was even better than we ourselves expected it to be beforehand. But the expectations from the outside world are enormous. It is impressive how we have been welcomed here. But we keep focussing on the next target: to finish the 6 Hours of Silverstone.“

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Neel Jani (no. 14):

“Our development speed was as strong as the mistral wind on the long straights here at Paul Ricard. Overall our results are fine. We were able to solve problems and to discover new ones, which will be looked at now. The partnership with Romain and Marc fits. In terms of set-up, we work in the same direction.“

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Marc Lieb (no. 14):

“In every regard it was a good test for the whole team. And it was also very important to gain first hand experience of the speed differences between the cars. In Silverstone this will be much more intensive: Paul Ricard is quite a long race track and during testing not all of the cars are running at the same time.“

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Timo Bernhard (no. 20):

“To me this was the most important test of all. Certainly if I compare the state of the car now to the roll out last June, but more importantly regarding the team spirit and how we work together. Not least of all what you can tell from the test results is very good news for the fans, as all three LMP1 cars are so close together.”

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Brendon Hartley (no. 20):

“Operating as a Porsche works driver for the first time and in the top class of Le Mans Prototypes was an impressive experience. Having topped the time sheets is certainly not the most important thing in our test programme, but personally for me it is the icing on the cake.“

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Mark Webber (no. 20):

“This test here was a big milestone. To enter two cars for the first time was a tremendous amount of hard work for the crew on the operational side. Smooth running was a well-deserved award and a good tonic for the guys after a long week. Every day we run we find more areas to improve, which is very encouraging. The track lay-out at Paul Ricard seems to suit our car very well. I’m curious to find out how we can perform in Silverstone.“

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Mark Webber

Notes:
One of the attachments is the press kit for Porsche’s return to top level motorsport, including technical details of the 919 Hybrid and driver portraits.
The attached video clip features current footage of the car on track and interviews from Paul Ricard and is royalty free for publishing.

Further news and comprehensive TV footage material will be available for download from Monday, 31st March, on the Porsche press database.

@PorscheRaces is the new Twitter channel of Porsche Motorsport. This brief messaging service informs you about upcoming Motorsport events by Porsche Motorsport, and during races it reports live from the pits about driver changes, weather conditions, tyre selections and background information.

 

Source: Porsche AG

Product and Technology Communication
Motorsport Press

 

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New Special Exhibition: “24 Hours for Eternity. Le Mans.” First presentation of the 919 Hybrid in the Porsche Museum

 

From March 26 to July 13, 2014, the Porsche Museum presents a comprehensive special exhibition about Le Mans.

From March 26 to July 13, 2014, the Porsche Museum presents a comprehensive special exhibition about Le Mans.

Stuttgart. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen is getting attuned to the return of the sports car maker to Le Mans: with a comprehensive special exhibition from March 26 to July 13, 2014, Porsche is taking a look back not only to its multiple previous successes at the French endurance race.

The present-day Le Mans commitment is also being placed on centre stage: for the first time, the Porsche 919 Hybrid will be presented to the greater public at the Porsche Museum. The car celebrated its premiere only three weeks ago at the Geneva Motor Show.

Until May 4th, 2014, the 919 Hybrid mock-up will be on display at the Porsche Museum.

Until May 4th, 2014, the 919 Hybrid mock-up will be on display at the Porsche Museum.

The exhibition at the Porsche Museum is transformed to a racing track in homage to the famous endurance race. The focus will be on the 919 Hybrid, the fastest research lab and most complex racing car Porsche has ever built. The onset of the Porsche Le Mans history in 1951 marks the beginning of the “24 Hours for Eternity” special exhibition.

For the first time on display: The Porsche 908/02 Spyder LH with the nickname „shark fines“ achieves the 3rd place in the overall classification.

For the first time on display: The Porsche 908/02 Spyder LH with the nickname „shark fines“ achieves the 3rd place in the overall classification.

Re-enactments of racing situations from the victorious racing years on life-sized prism walls and track sections such as the Hunaudières straight will guide the museum visitor through the special exhibition.

New: Re-enactments of racing situations from the victorious racing years of Porsche will be presented on life-sized prism walls.

New: Re-enactments of racing situations from the victorious racing years of Porsche will be presented on life-sized prism walls.

More than 20 different racing cars tell the unique and exciting history of this legendary 24-hour race. Alongside the 919 Hybrid, you can see at the Porsche Museum for the first time the 1969 Porsche 908/2 Spyder long tail, the 1971 Porsche 911 T/R, the 1974 Porsche 911 3.0 RSR as well as the 1981 Porsche 936/81 Spyder and many more. The Porsche 936, which already captured the races in 1976 and 1977, is reactivated in 1981 for the 24-hour race. With 360 km/h, the 936 is the fastest vehicle in the field on the Mulsanne straight and brings its drivers Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell the sixth overall victory – with a lead of 14 laps.

Also Porsche`s last winner car of Le Mans from 1998 will be displayed: the Porsche 911 GT1 `98.

Also Porsche`s last winner car of Le Mans from 1998 will be displayed: the Porsche 911 GT1 `98.

The cars on exhibit also include the 1979 Porsche 935, the Porsche 911 GT2 Le Mans, the 1994 Porsche 962 GT Dauer Le Mans as well as the WSC LMP1 of 1998. With the 962 GT Dauer Le Mans, Porsche competed in the 24-hour race under the direction of the Joest team in 1994. With this car, Mauro Baldi, Yannick Dalmas and Hurley Haywood took home the 13th overall win for Porsche. The model that Hans-Joachim Stuck, Danny Sullivan and Thierry Boutsen drove awaits the visitor here in the museum. This and other historical tales of the famous race will come alive in the special exhibition. Various historical and technological small exhibit pieces such as helmets, a brake disc from the Porsche 956 and the diary of Ferry Porsche from the collection of the Porsche corporate archive round off perfectly the historical journey through time of Porsche at Le Mans.

On the weekend of the race, June 14th to 15th, visitors can follow the race live as part of a public viewing in the Porsche Museum (free entrance then).

On the weekend of the race, June 14th to 15th, visitors can follow the race live as part of a public viewing in the Porsche Museum (free entrance then).

On the weekend of the race, the Porsche Museum will be open for the first time for more than 24 hours straight, from Saturday, June 14, starting at 9:00 a.m., until Sunday, June 15, 6:00 p.m. Visitors and fans of the endurance race can follow the race live as part of a public viewing programme on several monitors inside and around the museum building. Entrance is free of charge on this racing weekend.

All 16 Porsche winners of Le Mans will be available as model cars in a scale of 1:43 in the shop of the Porsche Museum.

All 16 Porsche winners of Le Mans will be available as model cars in a scale of 1:43 in the shop of the Porsche Museum.

The museum shop has a selection of specific items as part of the Le Mans special exhibition for sale to the public. Along with posters, postcards and polo shirts, all 16 overall winners of Le Mans will be available as model cars in a scale of 1:43. The Porsche Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday admission is eight euros for adults. Reduced price tickets cost four euros. You’ll find more information on the Internet at: http://www.porsche.com/museum.

Source: Communication Porsche AG
Porsche Museum

 

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Porsche “Mission 2014. Our return.” Interactive microsite highlighting Porsche’s comeback into top motor racing

Interactive journey through time into the history of Porsche Motorsport

Stuttgart. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche returns to the pinnacle of endurance motor racing in 2014 with a newly designed sports prototype. The greatly anticipated comeback will be accompanied by a multimedia microsite entitled “Mission 2014. Our Return.” on porsche.com/mission2014.

© Porsche AG

© Porsche AG

It takes fans on an interactive journey through 60 years of Porsche Motorsport history showcasing previously unreleased films, photo galleries and stories. Phase one of the three-stage Web Special highlights the legendary venues of Porsche’s racing history and brings the greatest moments of motorsport back to life.

© Porsche AG

© Porsche AG

Each week, new content is added, outlining why Porsche and motorsport are inseparably connected. In addition to historical film documentaries, interviews with drivers, engineers and former race directors allow a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes.

© Porsche AG

© Porsche AG

The microsite “Mission 2014. Our Return.” is found under porsche.com/mission2014

© Porsche AG

© Porsche AG

Source: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

 

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First Porsche Press Video from Spa-Francorchamps rd 2 of the World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Press Release

03/05/2013

World Endurance Championship, round 2 in Spa-Francorchamps

Spa: More than just Eau Rouge

Stuttgart. A first video from Spa-Francorchamps of round 2 of the World Endurance Championship (WEC)  e weekend.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

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World Endurance Championship, round 2 in Spa-Francorchamps Latest Photos

Patrick Pilet, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Joerg Bergmeister (l-r), Porsche AG Team Manthey

Patrick Pilet, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Joerg Bergmeister (l-r), Porsche AG Team Manthey

Stuttgart. Latest photos from free practice 1 in Spa-Francorchamps, where round 2 of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) is contested on Saturday.

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Proton Competition, Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Proton Competition, Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti

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Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas, Joerg Bergmeister, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz,Timo Bernhard (l-r), Porsche AG Team Manthey

Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas, Joerg Bergmeister, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz,Timo Bernhard (l-r), Porsche AG Team Manthey

 

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SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Databse
Communication Porsche AG Motorsport Press

 

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Latest Photos: Porsche Free Practice World Endurance Championship, rd 1 in Silverstone, Great Britain

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Stuttgart. Latest photos from free practice on the Silverstone Circuit, on which the first round of the World Endurance Championship WEC is contested on Sunday.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsport Press

 

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