Like in previous years, two Porsche 911 RSR will be fielded in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. Due to the restructuring of the World Endurance Championship calendar, the current season concludes with the 2019 Le Mans 24-hour race. The new season begins in September with the four-hour race in Silverstone (Great Britain) before heading to Japan, China, Bahrain, Brazil, the USA and Belgium, finishing with the Le Mans 24-hour highlight in 2020. After outstanding successes during the 2018/2919 season, Porsche claimed an early world manufacturers’ title. In the important US market, Porsche once again faces against stiff competition from other manufacturers with its works squad. For 2019, two Porsche 911 RSR aim to continue on from last year’s successes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Eleven races in the USA and Canada make up the calendar.
Winning four: Major crusade at the Le Mans highlight
At the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche will again fight with four 911 RSR in the notoriously competitive GTE-Pro class. Like last season, the factory vehicles from the Sportscar World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA series will join forces to tackle the long-distance French classic on the storied 13.6-kilometre Le Mans circuit. After clinching a double victory in 2018, the goal is clear: Porsche is keen to repeat this success at the endurance classic. Twelve drivers from the strong Porsche squad will helm the factory cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sharing the cockpit of the No. 91 car are Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki. Last year’s winners and the leaders of the world championship, Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen, again join forces in the No. 92 car with Laurens Vanthoor. Earl Bamber, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy share the No. 93 car. In the No. 94 vehicle, Porsche puts its trust in the youngsters Sven Müller, Mathieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen. Other works drivers and Young Professionals will contest the GTE-Am category in identical 911 RSR run by customer squads.
Proven line-up in North America
While the works campaign in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship is run by the German Manthey-Racing team, Porsche again relies on the successful partnership with the Core Autosport team in North America. Sharing the cockpits of the two 911 RSR in the GTLM class are works drivers Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet (No. 911) as well as Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor (No. 912). For the long-distance classics at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta, they are joined by works driver Frédéric Makowiecki and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet. In the GTD category, customer squads run the latest version of the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The sports car manufacturer from Weissach supports its customers with works drivers and technical support.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport
For decades, engines and motor racing have been his world. Friedrich “Fritz” Enzinger worked in the motorsport department at BMW for many years, where he gained a wealth of experience, most notably in Formula 1 – and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Austrian moved to Porsche in 2011 and put together the LMP team: with new premises, new personnel and a new car.
Four years later he celebrated his greatest successes with the Porsche 919 Hybrid: The 17th overall victory for Porsche at Le Mans and winning the manufacturer and team titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Under his leadership, he repeated this feat in 2016. In 2017, the Porsche LMP team left the prototype stage with another overall victory at Le Mans and with more world championship titles. Born in Styria, Enzinger, whose hobby is Icelandic horses, took over the position as Vice President of Motorsport in January 1, 2019. Parallel to this, the 62-year-old coordinates the motorsport activities of the Volkswagen Group.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsports
Technology and motorsport: These themes run like a common thread through the professional career of Pascal Zurlinden. Born on March 3, 1982, in France, Zurlinden trained as an automotive engineer and holds a Master of science in Motorsport Engineering and Management. With his passion and qualifications for race technology, Zurlinden has supported French racing teams, the DTM department in the Opel Performance Center, as well as the Phoenix Racing squad. Technical head, data, tests, simulations, racing or strategy engineer – Zurlinden has gained a broad base of expertise.
In 2008, he moved to Audi Sport and spent several years there working on the preparation, implementation and follow-up of the technical aspects of the DTM vehicles.
The trilingual engineer, who also holds a Swiss passport, has been with Porsche at the R&D Centre in Weissach since 2014. His first task there was as test and strategy engineer in the LMP1 project.
In 2017 he took over responsibility for the “Balance of Performance” in the GT field, before assuming the role as Director of GT Factory Motorsports in 2018. Under his leadership, Porsche achieved prestigious wins at Le Mans, Bathurst and in the North American long-distance races at Sebring and Road Atlanta.