Porsche strengthens driver lineup for 2017 season
Porsche Motorsport announces a strengthened driver lineup for 2017 season at the manufacturer’s Night of Championship gala evening in Weissach. While celebrating successful 2016 season, in which Porsche Motorsport took both Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ title in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the company’s motorsport department listed names of all driver who will represent Porsche in 2017.
Three-time Le Mans winner as a newcomer in Porsche Team
After the departure of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Mark Webber from the LMP1 driver lineup, three newcomers join the team. Definitely the biggest name on the list is Andre Lotterer, three-time winner of 24h Le Mans and 2012 world endurance champion, who found himself without a seat after Audi withdrew from the championship. Lotterer will join newly-crowned FIA WEC champion Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The third driver in the #1 car would be Nick Tandy, who served as Porsche factory driver since 2012 and already has Le Mans 24h victory in his CV.
One more driver from Porsche’s existing factory driver squad who will switch from GT car to LMP1 prototype is the New Zealander Earl Bamber, who shared Porsche 919 Hybrid with Tandy and Nico Hulkenberg in 2015 Le Mans victory. In 2017, Bamber will be in the #2 entry together with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.
The next year’s 919 represents another step in its technological evolution, featuring a completely new colour design, an optimised aerokit, and the complete overhaul of almost all components. The vehicle will be officially unveiled on March 23, 2017, at the WEC prologue in Monza.
Dirk Werner and Laurens Vanthoor joined Porsche factory GT squad
Porsche will return with a factory squad to the GT competition of the FIA WEC in 2017, after cooperating with Manthey Racing in the previous years. With Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy moving to the LMP division, new drivers have been signed in for GT squad. Among them, there are two highly experienced GT drivers – Dirk Werner and Laurens Vanthoor.
The 35-year-old Dirk Werner is returnee to Porsche, as he competed in Porsches from 2004 to 2009, during which time he secured the title of the 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, won the GT title of the Grand Am Series in 2007 and 2009, and was awarded the Porsche Cup in 2009 as the best private driver. From 2010 to 2016 he competed for BMW as a works driver.
The Belgian Laurens Vanthoor, although only 25 years old, already has many trophies, especially in the endurance racing (Spa 24 Hours, Nürburgring 24 Hours, 12 Hours of Sepang, 24 Hours of Dubai). Another new driver is Sven Müller, who has earned his promotion from Porsche junior to works driver. In 2016, he took titles in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Other drivers confirmed for the seats in the FIA WEC are Michael Christensen, Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz.
Porsche will continue to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with two cars. The regular drivers of the #911 would be Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner. At the particularly long events such as the Daytona 24 Hours, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, the duo will receive support from Frederic Makowiecki. The #912 car would be driven by Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, with Richard Lietz joining them for the four long-distance classics.
Restructuring a Porsche Junior Programme
Following the success of Porsche Junior Programme, a company restructures a programme. The Italian Matteo Cairoli and Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet receive continued funding and support as “Young Professionals”, assisting customer teams in their international GT racing campaigns.
Three young drivers will be backed as Porsche Juniors in 2017: Norwegian Dennis Olsen and the Australian Matt Campbell will contest the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup while GT rookie Thomas Preining from Austria will take on the challenge of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.
Photos: Porsche Motorsport,