Porsche remains the strongest marque at Le Mans
Stuttgart. Porsche has recognised outstanding achievements over the 2015 season at the Night of Champions motorsport gala in Weissach. On this occasion, the Porsche CEO, Dr Oliver Blume, provided the first prospects for the upcoming season. “On the racetrack we have experienced one of the most successful years in our company’s history. For 2016, we are placing emphasis on consistency and will again shift up a gear. We will be the only manufacturer to tackle three of the four classes at Le Mans,” he outlined in his speech.
919 Hybrid: Title defender in the WEC with the starting numbers one and two
In 2016, the Porsche squad enters its third WEC season as the title defenders. Two 919 Hybrid racers will take on the nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC, with the starting numbers one and two. The 919, which has undergone conceptual refinements in many areas, constitutes the technical evolution of the 2015 vehicle. Its new look will be unveiled at the WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard, France, on . The hybrid system of the 919 combines cutting-edge downsizing turbo technology with efficient fuel direct injection for the two-litre, four-cylinder combustion engine and uses a lithium-ion battery to store electricity from two different energy recovery systems. The 919 Hybrid produces a system power of almost 1,000 hp and provided Porsche with many important impulses for the development of future road-going sports cars, for example, with regard to the 800-volt technology for the Mission E concept, which will go into production at the end of the decade. Two instead of three 919 Hybrid will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the highlight of the 2016 WEC. Porsche and the VW-sister company Audi have agreed to reduce their effort by one LMP1 racing car each for maximum cost efficiency. All six current regular drivers in the Porsche 919 Hybrid will compete again in 2016. Sharing driving duties in the LMP1 racing car with the starting number one are the winners of the Drivers’ World Championship, Timo Bernhard (34), Brendon Hartley (26) and Mark Webber (39), with Romain Dumas (37), Neel Jani (32) and Marc Lieb (35) driving the sister car with the starting number two.
Kévin Estre signed as Porsche factory driver
Another racing professional who earned his stripes in Porsche’s one-make cup series will become a Porsche works driver: Kévin Estre (27) from France has notched up many successes over six years at the wheel of 911 GT3 Cup vehicles, including the titles of the Porsche Carrera Cup France and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. In 2015, he supported the Porsche Manthey squad in the 911 RSR at the WEC round at Spa and scored third place in the GTE-Pro class with Porsche Junior Sven Müller (23). With Kévin Estre, Porsche now has 16 works drivers under contract for the 2016 season in the LMP1 and GT categories.
Porsche rearranges WEC GT programme
In addition to the LMP1 commitment, Porsche again contests both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories in 2016. Driver champions Richard Lietz (31) and Michael Christensen (25) aim to defend their title in the professional category. The pair will be supported at Le Mans by Wolf Henzler (40). Proton Dempsey Racing fields the 911 RSR of the Porsche factory pilots. American actor Patrick Dempsey (49) continues to follow the WEC races in 2016 as partner of the team. Whenever his filming commitments allow, he will also tackle selected races in the GTE-Am class.
Two additional 911 RSR at the Le Mans 24 Hours
Porsche also plans to campaign another pair of 911 RSR at the Le Mans 24-hour race. Sharing the cockpit of one vehicle are Patrick Pilet (34) and Kévin Estre with Britain’s Nick Tandy (31). The sister car has been earmarked for Earl Bamber (25), Frédéric Makowiecki (35) and Jörg Bergmeister (39). “We would be very pleased to receive confirmation from the ACO for two GTE-Pro grid spots at Le Mans,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser.
Porsche aims to defend title in the USA with two 911 RSR
In the third season of the most important sports car championship in the USA, the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship, Porsche again sends a works squad to take up the challenge. The Porsche North America team will again field two 911 RSR, which have been significantly modified to comply with the new regulations. The cockpit of the number 911 vehicle is shared by Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy. At the longer races (24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans), the pair receives support from Kévin Estre. The regular crew in the number 912 car consists of Frédéric Makowiecki and Earl Bamber. These two will be joined by Michael Christensen at the four long distance classics. The season gets underway with the 24 Hours of Daytona on .
New 911 GT3 R celebrates race debut at Daytona
On the tradition-steeped circuit in Florida, the production version of the new 911 GT3 R for customer teams, mounted with the new four-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine with direct fuel injection, celebrates its race debut. Four teams field five vehicles at the season-opening round. Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler supports the Alex Job Racing squad. Jörg Bergmeister competes for Park Place Motorsports, with Patrick Long driving for Black Swan Racing. Due to the strong response from customer teams around the world, Porsche has decided to increase production of the 911 GT3 R and supply nearly 40 cars.
Porsche works drivers compete worldwide in the 911 GT3 R in 2016
Porsche continues the tradition of supporting 911 GT3 R customer teams with works drivers. Accordingly, Jörg Bergmeister will contest rounds of the Japanese Super GT, Patrick Long will tackle the Pirelli World Challenge for Effort Racing. At the 24 hour race on the Nürburgring, Wolf Henzler again competes for the Falken Motorsports squad.
Factory campaigns two 911 GT3 R at the Nürburgring 24 Hours
With the experienced Manthey Racing team, Porsche tackles Germany’s most popular automobile race in 2016, the Nürburgring 24 Hours, with two new 911 GT3 R each manned by four works drivers. The GT3 racer, based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, was unveiled as part of last year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, and underlined its Nordschleife capabilities by clinching third place at its first test race as part of the VLN Long Distance Championship in October.
Porsche extends youth development programme
Porsche further extends its successful youth development scheme in 2016. Germany’s Sven Müller (23) and the Italian Matteo Cairoli (19) will receive 200,000 Euro each to contest another season of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. New onboard are two talented young aspirants: Dennis Olsen (19) from Norway contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland as the first step in his training to become a professional racing driver. The Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet (21) managed to beat the other talented young candidates from one-make cup series worldwide. The vice-champion of the Carrera Cup France tackles the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as a Porsche Junior. As in previous years, the former Porsche works driver Sascha Maassen coaches the four Porsche Juniors on and off the racetrack.
Ryan Dalziel wins the Porsche Cup
The winner of this year’s Porsche Cup, the trophy for the most successful Porsche privateer, is a racing driver from Scotland. Ryan Dalziel (33) received the coveted trophy from Dr Wolfgang Porsche, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG. In addition, Dalziel takes home a 400 hp Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabrio valued at over 165,000 Euro. Thanks to his successes in the Pirelli World Challenge, in which he finished third overall at the wheel of the Effort Racing 911 GT3 R, he earned 5,580 points over the 2015 season. Second-placed Klaus Bachler can look forward to prize money of 30,000 Euro. In third place, Marco Seefried wins 25,000 Euro. The Porsche Cup has been awarded since 1970 and is based on an idea of Ferry Porsche.