Porsche has paid tribute to the worldwide achievements of teams and drivers during the 2017 season at its “Night of Champions” motorsport gala in Weissach. On this occasion, the huge expansion of its worldwide GT programme was announced.
Porsche plans to campaign four factory vehicles at the 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The two Porsche GT Teams from the FIA WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship each field two ca. 510 hp GT racers from Weissach. The cockpit of the #91 car is shared by Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki. The number 92 vehicle is manned by Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor. Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber are expected to drive the number 93 car, with the #94 Porsche 911 RSR earmarked for Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Sven Müller. With Bamber, Bernhard, Dumas and Tandy, a total of four outright Le Mans winners will compete as part of the Porsche works squad.
In the 2018/2019 season, Porsche again sends its factory Porsche GT Team to contest the GTE-Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz fight for the world championship, with Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre manning the #92 vehicle. In the GTE-Am class, a number of customer teams have applied for a starting spot with the 2017-spec 911 RSR. In total, Porsche has sold seven 911 RSR to customers for the WEC, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the European Le Mans Series.
One of the most successful driver pairings in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship join forces again in 2018: Like in their 2015 championship winning year, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet share the cockpit of the 911 RSR with the starting number 911. In the #912 sister car, the two-time Le Mans overall winner Earl Bamber and the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain Series champion, Laurens Vanthoor, form a world-class driver duo.
The successful 911 GT3 R customer racing model undergoes an upgrade for the 2018 GT3 season. The parts kit, which can be used to update all 2016 and 2017 models, includes amongst other things a new front lid for the optimisation of thermal management and side flicks to improve the aerobalance.
At each round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Porsche lends its support to at least one local team in their 911 GT3 R pro-class campaign. The works driver trio Dirk Werner, Romain Dumas and Frédéric Makowiecki will contest all races and fight for the drivers’ championship. In the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the three also share the cockpit of a 911 GT3 R. This will be fielded at all races by Manthey Racing. In many other international and national GT series such as the European Le Mans Series, the Pirelli World Challenge, the Japanese Super GT series, the IMSA WeatherTech Championship (GTD class) and the Nürburgring Long Distance Championship, Porsche supports customer teams with engineers and drivers.
The reigning FIA WEC world champion and Le Mans winner makes his comeback into GT racing in the 2018 season. Joining forces with Kévin Estre, the owner of the racing team will contest the ADAC GT Masters with his own Team 75 Bernhard.
Nine Porsche 911 GT3 R are expected to line up at the Nürburgring to contest the ADAC 24-hour race. Five vehicles will be fielded by customer teams in the pro class, with four in the amateur class. Manthey Racing campaigns two vehicles manned by factory drivers: Sharing driving duties in the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R are Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Kévin Estre and Patrick Pilet. Taking up the race in the #912 car are Romain Dumas, Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki and Nick Tandy. A total of 13 Porsche works drivers and four Young Professionals will tackle the Eifel marathon on 12/13 May.
The new 911 GT3 Cup, which celebrated its premiere in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the Carrera Cup Deutschland as well as in North America in the 2017 season, will be fielded in the majority of Porsche’s 21 one-make cup series around the world in 2018. Up until spring 2018, a total of 339 units of the 485 hp one-make cup racer will roll off the assembly line at Porsche’s main facility in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Never before have so many racing vehicles of one type been manufactured for one season. Hence, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup remains the world’s top selling race car.
The Porsche LMP Team will spend 2018 concentrating on its new mission: its successful entry into Formula E. The start takes place in season six, beginning at the end of 2019. Until then, the team will design, develop and test a complete powertrain. The first steps were already taken in 2017, with the concrete implementation of the concept taking place next year. The first test drives with the finished Formula E race car from Porsche are scheduled for early 2019. A second field of activity will be the operational implementation of a farewell tour for the three-time Le Mans winning Porsche 919 Hybrid car. Outside the events of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and thus outside the regulations of usable energy amounts, the innovative race car will be campaigned at many individual events throughout the year. At the end of 2018, the era of the ca. 900 hp hybrid prototype will come to a close. The 919 will then make its last trip to the Porsche Museum.