Porsche confirms Kiwis in 2016 motorsport team
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Porsche aims to remain the strongest marque at Le Mans
Porsche has recognised outstanding achievements over the 2015 season at the Night of Champions motorsport gala in Weissach. On this occasion, the Porsche CEO, Dr Oliver Blume, provided the first prospects for the upcoming season.
"On the racetrack we have experienced one of the most successful years in our company’s history. For 2016, we are placing emphasis on consistency and will again shift up a gear. We will be the only manufacturer to tackle three of the four classes at Le Mans,” he outlined in his speech.
In 2016, the Porsche squad enters its third WEC season as the title defenders, with the numbers one and two adorning the two 919 Hybrid racers.
The cars will take on the nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC, with the starting numbers one and two.
The 919, which has undergone conceptual refinements in many areas, constitutes the technical evolution of the 2015 vehicle. Its new look will be unveiled at the WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard, France, on 25 March.
The hybrid system of the 919 combines cutting-edge downsizing turbo technology with efficient fuel direct injection for the two-litre, four cylinder combustion engine and uses a lithium-ion battery to store electricity from two different energy recovery systems.
The 919 Hybrid produces a system power of almost 1,000 hp and provided Porsche with many important impulses for the development of future road-going sports cars, for example, with regard to the 800-volt technology for the Mission E concept, which will go into production at the end of the decade.
Two instead of three 919 Hybrid will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the highlight of the 2016 WEC. Porsche and the VW-sister company Audi have agreed to reduce their effort by one LMP1 racing car each for maximum cost efficiency.
All six current regular drivers in the Porsche 919 Hybrid will compete again in 2016. Sharing driving duties in the LMP1 racing car with the starting number one are the winners of the Drivers’ World Championship, Timo Bernhard (34), Brendon Hartley (26) and Mark Webber (39), with Romain Dumas (37), Neel Jani (32) and Marc Lieb (35) driving the sister car with the starting number two.
Porsche rearranges WEC GT programme
In addition to the LMP1 commitment, Porsche again contests both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories in 2016. Driver champions Richard Lietz (31) and Michael Christensen (25) aim to defend their title in the professional category. The pair will be supported at Le Mans by Wolf Henzler (40).
Proton Dempsey Racing fields the 911 RSR of the Porsche factory pilots.
American actor Patrick Dempsey (49) continues to follow the WEC races in 2016 as partner of the team. Whenever his filming commitments allow, he will also tackle selected races in the GTE-Am class.
Porsche also plans to campaign another pair of 911 RSR at the Le Mans 24-hour race. Sharing the cockpit of one vehicle are Patrick Pilet (34) and Kévin Estre with Britain’s Nick Tandy (31).
The sister car has been earmarked for Kiwi Earl Bamber (25), Frédéric Makowiecki (35) and Jörg Bergmeister (39).
“We would be very pleased to receive confirmation from the ACO for two GTEPro grid spots at Le Mans,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser.
Porsche aims to defend title in the USA with two 911 RSR
In the third season of the most important sports car championship in the USA, the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship, Porsche again sends a works squad to take up the challenge.
The Porsche North America team will again field two 911 RSR, which have been significantly modified to comply with the new regulations. The cockpit of the number 911 vehicle is shared by Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy.
At the longer races (24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans), the pair receives support from Kévin Estre.
The regular crew in the number 912 car consists of Frédéric Makowiecki and Earl Bamber.
These two will be joined by Michael Christensen at the four long distance classics. The season gets underway with the 24 Hours of Daytona on 30 January.