Heavy rain caused a turbulent race and led to multiple safety car phases, red-flags and many changes of position on the racetrack. After six hours and a strong team effort, the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR crossed the finish line in second place. The cockpit of the sports car was shared by the Austrian Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni from Italy. The No. 92 sister car driven by Kévin Estre from France and the Dane Michael Christensen came third in China. A total of eleven vehicles run by six manufacturers battled for GTE-Pro class victory on the 5.451-kilometre Shanghai International Circuit. Thanks to this result, Porsche has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship.
Porsche also had reason to celebrate in the GTE-Am class. The three Porsche 911 RSR campaigned by the customer team Dempsey Proton Racing and Project 1 concluded the race on positions one to three. Climbing to the very top of the all-Porsche podium was Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (AUS), Christian Ried (Germany) and Porsche-Junior Julien Andlauer (F), who shared driving duties in the No. 77 Porsche 911.
Persistent downpours required utmost concentration from drivers
Spectators were treated to a heart-stopping finale in both categories. Persistent downpours and the onset of darkness required utmost concentration from drivers. At the wheel of the No. 91 vehicle, Lietz fought his way from fourth to second place in the final 40 minutes. In the 911 with the starting number 92, his brand colleague Christensen overtook a rival in the last lap to secure position three.
In the GTE-Am class, Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister from Germany driving for the Porsche customer team Project 1 swept past the second Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Dempsey Proton Racing squad in the penultimate lap and took the flag in second. Sharing the cockpit of the No. 56 car with Bergmeister was Patrick Lindsey (USA) and Egidio Perfetti (N). Position three was occupied by the No. 88 vehicle of Dempsey Proton Racing with drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Riccardo Pera (I) and Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (I). The Gulf Racing trio, Michael Wainwright (GB), Ben Barker (GB) and Porsche-Junior Thomas Preining (A), finished on ninth place.
Round six of the FIA World Sports Car Championship WEC will be contested in Sebring on March 15, 2019.
Comments on the race
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “After the first three hours of the race we were very uncertain whether it was still a race. But it turned into a brilliant event. Our drivers with Nordschleife experience underlined their prowess. Finishing second and third earned important points towards the world championship, it also expanded our lead, and we’re heading home from Shanghai feeling very happy. We’re also extremely pleased to have extended our collaboration with the Manthey Racing team for the next two WEC seasons. In the GTE-Am class Porsche locked out the entire podium. I’m thrilled for all three. A fantastic job – it doesn’t get any better than that!”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “We finished on the podium with both vehicles. That’s fantastic and I’m proud of the great team performance, particularly with the pits stops. We managed to do here what we missed out on at Fuji. For me, that’s the Porsche spirit! Richard drove brilliantly and things went well for me especially at the end, although the rain and falling darkness made conditions very difficult.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “It was a hard-fought second place. A wonderful result for the team. I’m really thrilled about that because they all worked really hard. We can be proud. The conditions were difficult. We opted for the right tyres at the right time. The start with all the spray was chaotic, but then it got better. I found the final 30 minutes, when dusk fell, especially tricky. Still, the No. 92 still managed to bring home P3.”
More quotes in the press release (downloads).
1. Sorensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 109 laps
2. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 109 laps
3. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 109 laps
4. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 109 laps
5. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 109 laps
6. Tomczyk/Catsburg (D/NL), BMW M8 GTE, 109 laps
7. Priaulx/Tincknell (GB/GB), Ford GT, 109 laps
8. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 109 laps
9. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 109 laps
10. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, 109 laps
11. Blomqvist/Felix da Costa (GB/P), BMW M8 GTE, 108 laps
1. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
2. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
3. Al Qubaisi/Pera/Cairoli (UAE/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
4. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 108 laps
5. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 108 laps
6. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cheever (J/MC/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 107 laps
7. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MAL/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, 107 laps
8. Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 107 laps
9. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 107 laps
Frenchman Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen from Denmark have qualified the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR on the fourth grid spot for round five of the World Sports Car Championship WEC. The pair lapped the 5.451-kilometre Shanghai International Circuit in 1:59.031 minutes under cloudy skies and in temperatures of 16 degrees Celsius. At the wheel of the 510 hp No. 91 sister car, Richard Lietz from Austria and the Italian Gianmaria Bruni achieved the eighth quickest time in the GTE-Pro class. Porsche takes up the six-hour race at 4am CET on Sunday as the leader of the manufacturers’ and drivers’ (Estre/Christensen) championship.
In the GTE-Am category, Dempsey Proton Racing narrowly missed out on pole position, with the No. 77 car just 0.067 seconds shy of the leader. For the race, the cockpit is shared by Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (AUS), Christian Ried (D) and Porsche-Junior Julien Andlauer (F). The second the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey Proton Racing qualified on fourth in the class. Sharing driving duties are Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Riccardo Pera (I) and Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (I). The first-time Fuji (Japan) winners, the Project 1 customer team with Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (D), Patrick Lindsey (USA) and Egidio Perfetti (N), concluded the qualifying session on position seven. Lining up one position behind on the eighth grid spot is the Gulf Racing squad with Michael Wainwright (GB), Ben Barker (GB) and Porsche-Junior Thomas Preining (A).
Pascal Zurlinden, (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “After the rain on Friday we experienced a dry qualifying session today. It wasn’t easy for us as we only had an hour in the morning during the final free practice to find a setup for dry conditions. It wasn’t perfect and ultimately we had to settle for fourth place. Rain is forecast for the race, so anything is possible. We’re very well prepared.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “The qualifying was really difficult for us. We had problems in the morning with the balance and couldn’t completely solve it in time for the qualifying. But that probably doesn’t matter, because we’ll be driving in the wet tomorrow. Of course, we’ll do everything we can to get ahead.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “We learnt a lot today. It was dry for the first time, so it was new and unpredictable for everyone in qualifying. Our first set of tyres somehow didn’t really work. We need to take another look at the data. The second set was normal, and then it all came together well.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “That was a difficult qualifying for us. It’s important not to take too many risks on this fast racetrack, otherwise it could get dangerous. My flying lap was good but not perfect. The wear and tear on the racetrack is high. I wasn’t running new tyres and couldn’t really figure out how far I could push.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “Both of us did well, despite just missing out on the pole. I think we can be happy with fourth. In terms of the overall classification, it’s not the worst grid position for the race.”
Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #56): “Preparing for the qualifying with just one session in the dry was obviously not ideal. But everyone was in the same situation. Although we managed to improve the car significantly, it would seem that the opposition made even more progress. Perhaps they also ran a different tyre compound. If it rains during the race the cards will be reshuffled.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “The car felt great and we only narrowly missed out on claiming pole position. In any case, we had the speed. Christian Ried turned a really good lap and secured the basis for second place. Since our car was very good in the wet on Friday I’m feeling confident for Sunday.”
Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 RSR #88): “I really enjoyed my laps. At the end of the day it was only good for fourth in the GTE-Am class. But six hours is a long time and a lot can happen. I’d be very pleased if it rained, because I love driving in such conditions.”
1. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 1:58.627 minutes
2. Tomczyk/Catsburg (D/NL), BMW M8 GTE, +0.247 seconds
3. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, +0.373 seconds
4. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, +0.404 seconds
5. Blomqvist/Da Costa (GB/E), BMW M8 GTE, +0.428 seconds
6. Sorensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, +0.530 seconds
7. Priaulx/Tincknell (GB/GB), Ford GT, +0.651 seconds
8. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, +0.659 seconds
9. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, +0.827 seconds
10. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, +1.062 seconds
11. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, +1.601 seconds
1. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 2:01.884 minutes
2. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, +0.067 seconds
3. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, +0.206 seconds
4. Al Qubaisi/Pera/Cairoli (UAE/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, +0.231 seconds
5. Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vant. GTE, +0.327 seconds
6. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MAL/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, +0.516 seconds
7. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, +0.545 seconds
8. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, +2.357 seconds
9. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cheever (J/MC/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, +2.764 seconds
The Porsche GT Team tackles round five of the 2018/2019 FIA WEC Super Season with great confidence. At the six-hour race in Shanghai (China) on 18 November, the factory squad from Weissach aims to notch up another success with two 911 RSR. Thanks to a victory at the last race in Fuji (Japan) to conclude the first half of the season, Porsche has consolidated its lead in the GTE-Pro class of the World Sports Car Championship. Porsche is now eager to extend this advantage over the competition from Ferrari, BMW, Aston Martin and Ford at the last race of the 2018 year. Moreover, three customer teams fight for points towards the GTE-Am class with four additional Porsche 911 RSR.
The Porsche GT Team has a score to settle at the Shanghai International Circuit. Last year, both 911 RSR were at times on course for victory. Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) lost around 15 seconds when they were shunted by an LMP1 prototype in the last third of the race and finished second. The sister car retired early. In the 2014 season, the Porsche GT Team celebrated a one-two result on the Formula 1 circuit in China. The following year, the Dane Michael Christensen and Lietz won. Shanghai has hosted the World Endurance Championship (WEC) every year since 2012. The Grand Prix circuit places high demands on the tyres and offers many overtaking opportunities.
The Porsche GT Team drivers
Sharing driving duties in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR are Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy). At the six WEC races contested in Shanghai, the Austrian has climbed the podium four times. Bruni is hoping to claim his first win on the diverse racetrack just outside the Chinese metropolis. Kévin Estre and Christensen share the cockpit of the No. 93 sister car. After their victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), the duo from France and Denmark went on to win the most recent race in Japan.
The customer teams
Three customer teams field four additional Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Am class. The German Project 1 team, which secured its first WEC victory in Fuji, fields the No. 56 Porsche for Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and Patrick Lindsey (USA). The Porsche-Junior Thomas Preining will contest his second race in the World Sports Car Championship. The Austrian shares the No. 86 car fielded by Gulf Racing with the two British racing drivers Ben Barker and Michael Wainwright. Dempsey-Proton Racing targets more successes with two Porsche 911 RSR. Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Great Britain), Porsche-Junior Julien Andlauer (France) and Christian Ried (Germany) currently lead the championship with the No. 77 car. Sharing driving duties in the No. 88 sister car are Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli from Italy, his compatriot Riccardo Pera and Khaled Al Qubaisi (United Arab Emirates).
The Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche 911 RSR celebrated its World Sports Car Championship (WEC) debut at Silverstone in 2017. So far this season, the racer from Weissach has clinched a one-two result in the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans and secured the GTE-Am category class win at the endurance classic in France as well as at the Silverstone race. The RSR with its four-litre boxer engine is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car and produces around 510 hp depending on the restrictor. With a total of six vehicles, the Porsche brand is represented by the largest contingent of GT racers in the World Sports Car Championship.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “After winning the Fuji race we’re heading to Shanghai feeling highly motivated. But we have to assess the situation realistically. Our win in Japan wasn’t entirely our own doing, several things happened that played into our hands. With this in mind, the race in China certainly won’t be a foregone conclusion. We have to stay fully focused to avoid making any mistakes. If we manage to do this and make the most of our 911 RSR’s potential, we should be able to climb the podium at Shanghai – maybe even the top step.”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “The Formula 1 circuit in Shanghai is very demanding, especially on the tyres. This is partly due to the very long first right-hander. Our Porsche 911 RSR has to have a perfect setup for this turn. Our victories in Fuji and at Road Atlanta underlined that our car has very special qualities over the distance. In 2017 we performed very strongly in Shanghai, but we weren’t rewarded with a win. Now we want to rectify that.”
More quotes in the press release (downloads).
The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC
In the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC), which was first contested in 2012, sports prototypes and GT vehicles compete in four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately. The Porsche GT Team contests the GTE-Pro class, while the customer teams Dempsey Proton Racing, Project 1 and Gulf Racing fight for honours in the GTE-Am class.