Porsche is expanding its worldwide GT racing programme
Following a closure of its LMP programme, Porsche announced an expansion of its GT racing programme all over the world, including four factory cars at Le Mans 24 Hours in 2018.
The announcement was made at Porsche’s annual ‘Night of Champions’ gala celebration in Weissach, where German manufacturer also introduced all drivers for the 2018 GT season, including FIA WEC, IMSA SportsCar Championship and other competitions.
Farewell tour for Porsche 919 Hybrid
The ‘Night of Champions’ was an opportunity to pay tribute to the worldwide achievements of teams and drivers during the 2017 season. The greatest result was, of course, one more FIA WEC title for the Porsche LMP Team, including the third consecutive win at 24h Le Mans with Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Now, the 900-hp hybrid prototype car will go to farewell tour before finding its place in the Porsche Museum. During 2018, Porsche LMP Team will prepare for Porsche’s debut in the Formula E at the end of 2019.
Four-car attack at 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours
Without LMP commitments, Porsche will expand its GT racing programme in 2018. The team is preparing the largest ever GT factory mission at Le Mans, announcing four cars at the 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2018.
Four crews which would compete in the GTE Pro class at 2018 Le Mans will also have a full-time programme for the rest of the season – two cars in the FIA WEC and two cars in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Two FIA WEC GTE Pro entries are the #91 Porsche 911 RSR for Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz and the #92 Porsche for Michael Christensen/Kevin Estre. Frederic Makowiecki will be the third driver in the #91 car at Le Mans while Laurens Vanthoor will join the #92 crew at Circuit de la Sarthe. In the GTE-Am class, there would be a number of customer teams because Porsche has sold seven 2017-spec 911 RSR cars.
In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy will share the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, while Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor will share the #912 car. They would be reshuffled at Le Mans in the #93 car (Pilet/Tandy/Bamber) and #94 car (Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Sven Müller).
Upgraded Porsche 911 GT3 R is ready for 2018
The successful Porsche 911 GT3 R undergoes an upgrade for the 2018 GT3 season with a number of customer teams. Porsche will give its support to local teams for each round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The works driver trio Dirk Werner, Romain Dumas and Frederic Makowiecki will contest all races and fight for the drivers’ championship.They will also contest in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Some other competitions for a 911 GT3 R would be the European Le Mans Series, the Pirelli World Challenge, the Japanese Super GT series, the GTD class of the IMSA Championship and the Nürburgring’s VLN endurance series.
World champion Timo Bernhard will race in the ADAC GT Masters
Timo Bernhard, the reigning FIA WEC world champion and Le Mans winner will make his comeback into GT racing in the 2018 ADAC GT Masters. He will drive a Porsche for his own Team 75 Bernhard, sharing a car with Kevin Estre.
Nine Porsche 911 GT3 R cars are expected to line up at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2018. Five vehicles will be fielded by customer teams in the Pro class, with four in the amateur class. A total of thirteen Porsche works drivers and four Young Professionals will tackle the Eifel marathon.
Porsche further expands its youth development programme
The proven support scheme will be supplemented for the first time by Porsche Selected Drivers programme. The two-time IMSA GTD champion Christina Nielsen is the first driver to be chosen. Two drivers in the Porsche Junior programme will be 18-year-old Frenchman Julien Andlauer and 19-year-old Austrian Thomas Preining.