- Mixed Mexico. Porsche Formula E Team Leaves Round 4 with Mixed Results.
- Texas Eyes on Porsche. Five Porsche Race Cars Look for WEC Win in Austin.
- Le Mans Lineup. Porsche Announces Driver Teams for 2020 24 Hour Classic.
- Trois-Pilotes Sous Le Tricolore. Veteran Pilet Leads All-French Driver Squad.
Porsche Profile. Event Story Lines.
Mixed Mexico. Porsche Formula E Team Leaves Round 4 with Mixed Results
After the first pole position in its brief history, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team missed out on a podium finish in the Mexico City E-Prix when the race came to a conclusion. André Lotterer (Germany) recorded the fastest lap in Super Pole qualifying to secure pole position at the fourth race of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Mexico City, Mexico. It was another highlight for the German sports car manufacturer in the fully-electric race series. The pole position secured Lotterer three points in the drivers’ championship.
Lotterer did not, however, enjoy such good fortune in the race itself. After battling with wheelspin at the start, he lost three places following contact with eventual race winner Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) at the entry to turn one. Further battles caused severe damage to the bodywork of the Porsche 99X Electric, forcing the German Porsche factory driver to retire from the race.
“André’s pole position showed what the car is capable of. That gives us confidence for Marrakesh.” Neel Jani
Neel Jani (Switzerland) finished the race in 14th-place driving the No. 18 Porsche 99X Electric. The Swiss driver had secured 14th-position on the grid in qualifying and was able to move up one place in the opening phase. He would eventually fall back after receiving a drive-through penalty for a technical rule violation.
As was the case in the first two races of the season in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, Lotterer was in the top-five for the Fanboost voting but was unable to make use of the additional energy. The former Porsche 919 Hybrid sports car driver is currently tenth-place in the drivers’ standings. Jani is currently in 23rd-position. After four races, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is ninth in the team standings. The fifth race of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/2020 will take place on February 29 in Marrakesh. Morocco.
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E.
“That was another tough race for us. André was repeatedly involved in battles that severely damaged the car. We eventually had to withdraw the car from the race. A drive-through penalty was imposed on Neel after the safety car period. We will have to analyze the precise reason for this. Of course, we are disappointed with how the race went but we need to focus on the positive aspects of this weekend. The pole position and the pace of both drivers shows that we are really competitive.”
Neel Jani, Driver, No. 18 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“The start went well, even though I was on the dirty side of the track. After that, I was involved in a lot of battles and kept getting hit from in front and from behind. It’s a shame that I was later subjected to a drive-through penalty. Had that not been the case, a better result would certainly have been possible. I am happy that I was able to finish the race and gain some more experience. André’s pole position showed what the car is capable of. That gives us confidence for Marrakesh.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“Of course, that is not the result I had hoped for. I struggled with wheelspin at the start and then Mitch (Evans) hit me on the first corner. That lost me a few places. It was a tough race with plenty of incidents. After so many collisions, my car was so badly damaged that I had to retire. I will go back on the attack in Marrakesh.”
Texas Eyes on Porsche. Five Porsche Race Cars Look for WEC Win in Austin.
Texas eyes will be upon Porsche on February 23 as the German marque aims to clinch its first victory in the United States with the new 911 RSR race car. Round five of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will be held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas offering the WEC arm of the Porsche GT Team the opportunity to score the first North American win for the car unveiled in 2019. Two “works” entries in the LMGTE-Pro class with the current generation race machine will fight for top honors in the all-factory class. Three customer teams field another five 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR in the LMGTE-Am class at Sunday’s six-hour race.
After a successful start to the 2019/2020 season with a one-two finish at Silverstone (Great Britain) as well as podium spots in Fuji (Japan) and Shanghai (China), fifth and sixth-places followed at the Sakhir, Bahrain race in December prior to the winter break. The Porsche GT Team has sat on the LMGTE-Pro class pole position three times during that span. After four rounds, the works team currently ranks second in the manufacturers’ classification with the two latest-generation Porsche 911 RSR racers. In the drivers’ category, the two ca. 515 hp GT racers sit third and fifth.-place.
After the cancellation of the race in São Paulo, Brazil, the FIA announced the sports car world championship’s return to Austin. COTA has previously hosted the WEC each season between 2013 and 2017. The 3.43-mile (5.513-kilometer) Grand Prix circuit with its 20 turns and significant elevation changes is considered among the most demanding tracks on the calendar. Since its completion in 2012, the Circuit of the Americas has been the home of the Formula 1 Championship in the United States Grand Prix. A partial resurfacing on the track was recently completed to address bumps.
Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) and Austria’s Richard Lietz pilot the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. The duo returns to Austin with fond memories. Lietz won the GTE-Pro class in 2015. In the past, his teammate Bruni has claimed three podium spots at the WEC race in Texas. The current WEC champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) also have good memories. Christensen won in 2015 and finished second with Estre at the most recent WEC round held at Austin in 2017. The Danish-French pair shares the cockpit of the No. 92 car.
“COTA is one of my favorite North American circuits. It’s very interesting, modern and demanding."
Dempsey-Proton Racing tackles the race with two 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR. Sharing driving duties in the ca. 510-hp racer (No. 77) is the newly-signed Porsche works driver Matt Campbell (Australia), team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and the Italian Riccardo Pera. Racing the No. 88 sister car is Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining from Austria, Belgium’s Adrien de Leener and Bret Curtis (Austin, Texas).
The Team Project 1 customer team also campaigns two 2017-generation Porsche 911 RSR race cars. At the wheel of the No. 56 car are Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Le Mans class winner Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and the Dane David Heinemeier Hansson. Ben Keating (Tomball, Texas) joins forces with Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands and Felipe Fraga (Brazil) in the No. 57. Gulf Racing’s No. 86 vehicle is shared by the all-British line-up Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Andrew Watson.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“After the winter break, we’re looking forward to the second half of the WEC season. I hope we can continue our great performance from the first three races.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“The new Porsche 911 RSR has already underlined its huge potential in this season’s WEC. We had a great start with a one-two and other podium results from the first three races. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for us in Bahrain, but we’ve done our homework and we’re heading to the USA full of optimism.”
Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC.
“Unfortunately, we lost our point advantage at the previous race in Bahrain and we’ve now turned from the hunted to the hunter. We’re happy to assume this role. We’ve had a good look at what happened in Bahrain and drawn our conclusions. We’ve implemented the lessons from the last race and will now tackle the rest of the season stronger. Austin has always been good turf for us so we’re looking forward to the upcoming race.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It’s great to be back in America, especially Texas. Some parts of the track have been resurfaced and this is the first time we race the new 911 RSR at Austin. We’re expecting colder temperatures than in previous years. This presents interesting challenges for the team and the car.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We know the Circuit of the Americas from the past. I have fond memories of this great race track. The weekend will be interesting because some parts of the track have been repaved and we don’t know how the tires and our new car will react to it. There are several unknowns, so we’ll be able to better assess our chances after the first practice session. Given that the new 911 RSR has performed well almost everywhere so far, I’m feeling very optimistic.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“COTA is one of my favorite North American circuits. It’s very interesting, modern and demanding. The WEC was last contested here in 2017. At that time, we managed to finish second. We were strong but our rivals were stronger. This year we hope to win with the new 911 RSR.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The winter break was long after Bahrain. I really enjoyed it and I took the opportunity to prepare for the rest of season. We are determined to show what we’re capable of in Austin. Before the upgrade of the track, some of the sections were very uneven. I’m excited to see how our tires perform on the new asphalt.”
Matteo Cairoli, Driver, No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.
“My memories of Austin are not the best because that’s where I lost the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup title in 2016. A year later we were running in the top three at a WEC race, but we couldn’t maintain the position due to problems with the drive shaft. For this reason, I hope we can bring home a good result this time.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
“This is my first race in Austin. I find the new challenge really exciting. The last races have been rather difficult. We had bad luck and a couple of things didn’t go perfectly for us. Hopefully that’ll change in Austin. I’m confident that we’ll achieve a good result there.”
Thomas Preining, Driver, No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
“I look forward to working with Adrien again. We get along really well and it’ll certainly be a great weekend. This is my first time at Austin. I only know the circuit from television. Still, I have high hopes. I’m confident that our Porsche 911 RSR will perform well there.”
Le Mans Lineup. Porsche Announces Driver Teams for 2020 24 Hour Classic.
The driver crews for the two-car factory Porsche GT Team are set for the world’s most famous endurance race. Porsche goes trophy hunting in the LMGTE-Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June with 12 drivers. Four Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) will be driven by successful Porsche “works” drivers and Young Professionals. Scheduled to line up on the grid are the current FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) world drivers’ champions Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2019 GTLM class champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). Richard Lietz (Austria), the two Frenchmen Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and the Italian Gianmaria Bruni – all of whom have also stood at the top of the podium at classics like Le Mans, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, the Ardennes marathon at Spa-Francorchamps and the prestigious races at Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – will fill out the factory driver ranks at Le Mans. Young Frenchmen Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet as well as Matt Campbell (Australia) round out the top-level driver line-up with which Porsche tackles the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 13 – 14.
For 2020, Porsche relies on continuity in its bid for a record-extending Le Mans class victory. While being one of the most legendary races in the world of sport, the race in La Sarthe, France is also the season-finale of the World Endurance Championship, adding even more to the need for a successful combination of drivers. The two WEC vehicles will take to the Le Mans grid with the same drivers for a third consecutive year. Bruni, Lietz and Makowiecki once again share the cockpit of the No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR, with Estre, Christensen and Vanthoor driving the 2018 Le Mans-winning car with the starting number 92. Drivers in the two Porsche 911 RSR that are staples on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship circuit have been reshuffled for Le Mans. Joining Bamber and Tandy in the ca. 515-hp nine-eleven (No. 93) is Campbell, who contests his first season as a Porsche works driver. Seasoned racer Patrick Pilet (France) will race with his fellow countrymen Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 94 racer.
In 2018, Porsche achieved a one-two finish in the all-factory teams GTE-Pro class. Estre, Christensen and Vanthoor held the lead over almost the entire distance with their No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR and celebrated their win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a flawless performance in the “Pink Pig”. The No. 91 sister car finished in second-place, with Makowiecki fending-off his closest rival in a spectacular 90-minute duel.
A year later, Bruni, Lietz and Makowiecki repeated the podium result in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. The No. 93 sister car followed them across the finish line of the Circuit de la Sarthe after 24-hours of racing in third-place. While making a play for the lead, both GT cars were foiled by safety car phases. After 24 hours, they were less than 70-seconds shy of the class winner at the world’s toughest endurance race. Bad luck plagued the title defenders. While running in the lead, a technical problem cost the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR six laps and relegated the vehicle down the field. Nevertheless, Estre and Christensen, with Vanthoor’s support, collected enough points to be crowned the FIA WEC world drivers’ champions.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“Fielding the four works cars again in the GTE-Pro category at Le Mans underlines how important this classic is for Porsche. With the championship squads from the FIA WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, we have a treasure trove of expertise at the start plus a good balance of experienced and young drivers. We aim to fight for victory, but we know from experience that such long-distance races are full of surprises.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsports.
“We’re travelling to Le Mans with a strong car and fast, experienced driver crews. With this powerful overall package, we intend to and will go for victory. The GT teams from the WEC and IMSA are extremely compatible. All drivers are familiar with the circuit and know what needs to be done at the 24-hour race.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
“We’re proud and delighted to again be represented by four factory cars at the highlight of the season. With both driver crews in the number 93 and 94 Porsche 911 RSR, we’ve put together a good mix of experienced and young drivers. Alongside seasoned IMSA drivers like Tandy, Bamber and Pilet we have the young drivers Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Julien Andlauer, who have already proven themselves at long distance events. With these teams we’re excellently positioned to tackle the season highlight at Le Mans.”
Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC.
“The same driver trios will tackle Le Mans at the wheel of the 91 and 92 Porsche 911 RSR racers for the third time straight. Each of the two regular WEC drivers will be supported by an experienced pilot. This continuity has the advantage of allowing the crews, engineers and mechanics to work together in perfect synergy. Since Le Mans is the last WEC race of the season, we don’t want to take any chances with new driver line-ups in the final bid for the title.”
Trois-Pilotes Sous Le Tricolore. Veteran Pilet Leads All-French Driver Squad.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a marquee event and a victory desired by racers from all over the world. For a Frenchman, native pride transcends it to be a national honor. Porsche Motorsport has announced that one of its four factory-entered race cars for this year’s French classic, the No. 94 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19, will be piloted by Le Mans veteran Patrick Pilet and his young countrymen Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet at the June 13 – 14 crown jewel of auto racing.
The three Frenchmen enjoy a very special relationship. After winning the French Porsche Carrera Cup in 2007, Pilet was given the responsibility of looking after the national juniors in subsequent years. When Jaminet and Andlauer joined the racing series, Pilet took the talented pair under his wing. By helping his young compatriots and coaching them in tactics, the experienced Porsche “works” driver forged a very special relationship with the two youngsters. With his mentoring came success. Jaminet, now a Porsche factory driver, won the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 2016. Andlauer clinched the championship in 2017, and in 2018, at the age of 18, became the youngest class winner at Le Mans in an LMGTE-Am category. He is the defending champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. For Pilet, who has two Le Mans podiums but no victories at la Sarthe, the 2020 24-Heures du Mans will see the popular Porsche ace come full circle.
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 94 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’ve accompanied Mathieu and Julien for quite some time on their journey as racing drivers and I’ve developed a close bond with them. It’s an honor and a pleasure for me to share the cockpit at Le Mans with these two talented young men. Together, we’ll attempt to win the world’s most prestigious endurance race.”
Julien Andlauer, Driver, No. 94 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“He knew everything about the racetracks, the strategies and the car and instilled in us the special Porsche spirit.”