Since 1990, gripping sprints with spectacular sports cars from Zuffenhausen, hotly-contested duels and equal technical opportunities are the hallmarks of the Carrera Cup. In the anniversary season, Porsche Deutschland GmbH took over the running of the series from Porsche AG after 29 successful years.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport: “The Porsche one-make cups form the basis of our motorsport pyramid and are also a training ground for talented youngsters who are keen to make their way to the top of the career ladder in motor racing. Another indication of the success is the sheer number of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. This vehicle is the most widely produced racing car worldwide. Therefor we will further expand the strategy of our one-make cups in the future.”
„It is a great honor for us, to continue the story of our first and most successful one-make cup worldwide. We are looking back on an exciting season and can´t wait for the races in 2020”, said Alexander Pollich, CEO at Porsche Deutschland GmbH.
The initial spark for the success story of Porsche’s one-make cup series was ignited in 1986. Parallel to a comprehensive works motorsport programme – Alain Prost successfully defended his Formula One world championship title in the McLaren TAG Porsche; the 962 C prototype dominated long-distance events – Porsche established the 944 Turbo Cup. Under the direction of two-time German racing champion Dieter Glemser, young drivers would lock horns with seasoned professionals. Even then, top priority was given to competing with identical vehicles, tyres and fuel.
The first Cup-911: Management Herbert Linge, development Roland Kussmaul
In addition to scouting out talented youngsters, Porsche also placed importance on the one-make cup philosophy: production technology should be proven on the racetrack. Thus, the market launch of the 911 Carrera 2 for the 1990 season also signalled a model change for the cup series. Thus, the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland was born. Since then, Porsche has continued to develop a near-production racing version of the latest 911 for the one-make cups. For the concept of the first vehicle, the 911 Carrera 2 Cup of the 964 generation, Porsche called on its in-house luminary, Roland Kussmaul, who had worked for Porsche since 1969. The overall direction was also put in capable hands: At the age of 61, Herbert Linge was given the role of managing the series. The founder of the ONS-Staffel (mobile marshalling and emergency crew) as well as the Weissach R&D Centre was active in motor racing for two decades and was with Porsche since 1943.
For decades, the Carrera Cup has served as the launching platform onto the major international stage for the best drivers. From Porsche’s overall winners at Le Mans between 2015 and 2017, five earned their stripes in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland: Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (Bruchmühlbach-Miesau), Romain Dumas (F), Marc Lieb (Ludwigsburg) and Nick Tandy (GB). Two other German Cup champions were crowned German touring car champions: Mike Rockenfeller (2013) as well as René Rast in (2017/ 2019). Now, Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer is eager to follow in the footsteps of his successful predecessors: At just 20 years of age, the Frenchman concluded the 30th season at the final round on 29 September as the champion of the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland with a mere 2.5-point advantage.
The close competition between the young guns, experienced professionals and ambitious amateurs is second to none and has shaped the Cup concept right from day one. Over the decades, the technically identical racing versions of the iconic Porsche 911 sports car have evolved significantly: Andlauer clinched the trophy in the latest 911 GT3 Cup (991/II generation) with a power output of 485 hp. Olaf Manthey from Germany, on the other hand, secured the first title in 1990 at the wheel of the 911 Carrera 2 Cup (964 generation) producing 265 hp. The former DTM driver with his characteristic handlebar moustache founded a team with its base close to the Nürburgring and is today entrusted with the operations of the works Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Again and again, rookies and old-hands take turns in claiming the trophy. The youngest champion in the series to date is Austria’s Thomas Preining. When he won the title in 2018 he was exactly 20 years and 63 days old. Harald Grohs holds the record at the other end of the age spectrum: he took home the trophy in 1995 at the age of 51.
Marc Lieb was 22 years old when he followed Timo Bernhard as the Cup-champion in 2002. The two would join forces in Olaf Manthey’s team from 2007 to 2011 and achieve four overall victories at the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring. From 2014, the two were teammates in the Porsche LMP1 squad. In 2016, Lieb, Roman Dumas and Neel Jani from Switzerland were crowned overall winners at Le Mans and world endurance champions. Today, Lieb works as the liaison between Porsche Motorsport and customer teams. Parallel to his racing achievements, the 39-year-old shares his expertise as a vehicle engineer.
“I’ll always have ties to the Porsche Carrera Cup,” Lieb assures. “I’ll never forget my time as a junior. We learned about how professional motor racing works and yet we enjoyed a close-knit atmosphere. The Carrera Cup not only served as a springboard for us drivers, but for all employees and teams. Later, I worked on the Porsche 919 Hybrid with several engineers from that time. Such relationships often come full circle at Porsche. That’s what makes the company stand out. Since 1990, an extensive network has emerged from the Porsche Carrera Cup and everyone benefits from this.”
A unique customer support system across the world
Just as the 911 has shaped the brand since 1963, motor racing with this iconic sports car has been an integral part of Porsche’s identity – with top-level factory campaigns and unique customer support. The development process of the racing vehicles is unparalleled, too. The GT3 Cup cars are developed by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach and roll off the same assembly line as the road-going cars in Zuffenhausen. Porsche works drivers and race engineers then give them the baseline setup during test drives. From 1990 up to and including 2019, Porsche produced 4,251 units of the Cup cars based on the 911 at the main factory in Stuttgart and subsequently prepared the vehicles ready to race. At the Weissach headquarters for customer racing, 25 engineers on average are involved in developing the newest customer racing vehicle, for instance the 911 GT3 Cup. At least another 30 people handle orders, sales, service and are on hand with advice for customer squads around the world, who go racing with the GT3 Cup cars or with the 911 GT3 R, Cayman GT4 Clubsport and 911 GT2 RS Clubsport models.
From the Porsche Development Centre at Weissach, the Cup concept has spread around the world. Other Porsche Carrera Cups are contested in Asia, Australia, Benelux, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Italy and Scandinavia. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which runs as support to selected rounds of the Formula One World Championship, has formed the pinnacle of the cups since 1993. As a broad foundation of customer racing, the Porsche Challenge and the Porsche Trophy have been established in many other markets. Today, a total of 25 Porsche racing series compete in 27 countries on four continents.