Richard Lietz is an Austrian racing driver who currently serves as Porsche factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship and other GT competitions. He has an impressive record in the sports car competitions with several championship titles and three Le Mans victories. He achieved all that driving Porsches.
He was a champion for the first time in the 2007 International GT Open. Then, in 2009 and 2010, he won GT2 class in the Le Mans Series. Most recently, he was the FIA WEC GT champion in 2015. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Lietz was the GT2/GT class winner three times, in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
Four seasons in formula competitions early in a career
Born in December 1983 in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, Richard Lietz started his racing career in 2000, competing in the Formula BMW Junior and finishing sixth in the points. Next year, he spent a season in the Formula BMW ADAC, scoring one victory and finishing sixth in the final classification.
The next step in his career was the Formula 3 in 2002. He spent a full season in the German championship with Palfinger Racing, scoring no wins or podiums. In 2003, Lietz spent a season with HBR Motorsport in the Formula 3 Euro Series. It was his last season in formula racing.
Starting a career with Porsche in 2004
In 2004, Lietz started his sports car racing career with Porsche, staying loyal to German sports car manufacturer until today. Driving for Tolimit Motorsport, he participated full-time in the German Carrera Cup and part-time in the Porsche Supercup. With two podiums in the Carrera Cup, he finished fourth in the points.
In 2004, Lietz also made a debut in international racing by joining Arkin Aka in one race of the Spanish GT Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup.
Regular front-runner in the Supercup and German Carrera Cup
In 2005, Lietz stayed with Tolimit Motorsport in both Porsche competitions. He scored maiden Supercup victory at Magny-Cours and finished fifth in the final standings. He was without wins in the German Carrera Cup but finished third in the points, behind Christian Menzel and Nicolas Armindo.
In the 2006 Porsche Supercup season, Lietz was the race winner two times in the #46 car, finishing the season third in the points, behind Richard Westbrook and Uwe Alzen. In the German Carrera Cup, Lietz was a winner once to finish fourth in the points.
International GT Open champion in 2007
In 2007, Lietz left Porsche one-make competitions and significantly expanded his commitments in other international championships. He spent a full season in the International GT Open with Italian team Autorlando.
He was sharing the #11 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR with Joel Camathias. After seven rounds over European circuits and two wins in the GTA class, they were overall International GT Open champions. Lietz was also driving for Autorlando in two races of the Italian GT Championship, winning one race.
Le Mans 24h class winner in the first attempt
In 2007, Lietz also made a debut in three greatest GT endurance races (Daytona, Le Mans, Spa). In January, he was driving the #81 Synergy Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup at Daytona 24 Hours, sharing a car with Steve Johnson, Richard Westbrook and Patrick Huisman. They were 27th overall and 11th in the GT class.
In June 2007, Lietz made a debut at 24 hours of Le Mans, driving the #76 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR for the French team IMSA Performance Matmut. He, Raymond Narac and Patrick Long were the winners in the GT2 class, beating the nearest rivals by six laps. Lietz was also driving for the French team in Le Mans Series and at Spa 24 Hours, a part of the FIA GT Championship. At Spa, Lietz/Narac/Long finished 9th.
Second place in the 2008 International GT Open
In 2008, Lietz had a similar programme, driving for Autorlando in the International GT Open, Italian GT Championship and Spanish GT Championship, and driving for IMSA Performance Matmut in the Le Mans Series, Le Mans and Spa.
His partner in the Autorlando Porsche was Gianluca Roda. They scored five wins and finished second in the GTA class standings. In the Le Mans Series, Lietz scored two podiums to finish seventh in the GT2 classification. At Le Mans, he didn't finish the race.
Besides racing in Europe, Lietz traveled to the US to participate in American endurance races. At Daytona, he was driving for Synergy Racing again. At Sebring 12 Hours, he was driving a Porsche for Flying Lizard Motorsports.
Le Mans Series GT2 champion in 2009
In 2009, Lietz became the GT2 class champion in the Le Mans Series, driving the #77 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR for Team Felbemayr-Proton. He and Marc Lieb were the race winners three times. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Wolf Henzler joined them in the #77 car but they retired early, after just 24 laps.
In 2009, Lietz continued to race with Autorlando in the International GT Open, finishing again in the second place with Gianluca Roda as his teammate.
2009 - podiums at Nurburgring and Daytona
In 2009, Lietz made a debut at 24 Hours of Nurburgring, finishing in the third place with Manthey Racing. His partners in the #2 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup were Emmanuel Collard, Wolf Henzler and Dirk Werner.
In North American endurance races, Lietz finished second in GT class at Daytona 24 Hours in the #67 TRG Porsche and 8th in GT2 class at Sebring 12 Hours in the #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche.
2010 – Le Mans Series GT2 champion and Le Mans 24h GT2 winner
In 2010, Lietz scored a double success with Felbemayr-Proton's Porsche. He defended Le Mans Series GT2 title after winning three races together with Marc Lieb. At Le Mans 24 Hours, they were joined by Wolf Henzler again. Unlike the previous year, they managed to finish the race and took a victory in the GT2 class. At Spa 24 Hours, which was the non-championship race, Lietz was second with IMSA Performance Matmut team, sharing a car with Raymond Narac, Patrick Pilet and Patrick Long.
In 2010, Lietz spent the fourth consecutive season with Autorlando in the International GT Open, sharing a car with Gianluca Roda. They finished a season in the second place.
In North America, he drove for Magnus Racing at Daytona 24 Hours (5th in GT class) and for Flying Lizard Motorsports at Sebring 12 Hours (fifth in GT2 class).
Daytona 24h class winner in 2012
In 2011, Lietz stayed in the Le Mans Series with Team Felbemayr-Proton, ending a season in the fifth place, not scoring wins. At Le Mans 24h, he was fourth in the GTE Pro class, sharing a car with Marc Lieb and Wolf Henzler. In 2011, Lietz also recorded one-off appearance in the Rolex Sports Car Series and two starts in the American Le Mans Series but without notable results.
In January 2012, Lietz finally scored his first class victory at Daytona 24 Hours. He was driving the #44 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup for Magnus Racing, sharing a car with John Potter, Andy Lally and Rene Rast.
2012 - full season in the new FIA World Endurance Championship
Lietz spent 2012 in the revived FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #77 Porsche 997 RSR for Team Felbenmayr-Proton in the GTE Pro class with Marc Lieb as full-time co-driver. They were class winners at Spa and Fuji, securing the third place for the team in the LMGTE Trophy standings. At Le Mans 24 Horus, the #77 crew didn't finish the race.
Besides competing in the FIA WEC, Lietz participated with two different teams in two ALMS rounds, at Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans.
Third Le Mans 24h victory in 2013
The FIA World Endurance Championship stayed the main competition for Lietz in 2013. Driving the #92 Porsche 911 RSR with Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas (three races), he finished fourth in the GT drivers' standings. The highlight of the season was the Le Mans GTE Pro class victory for a trio in the #92 Porsche. They beat teammates in the #91 car.
Of other commitments in 2013, Lietz participated in all famous endurance races (Daytona 24h, Sebring 12h, Nurburgring 24h, Spa 24h). His best result was the second place at Spa 24 Hours, where he was sharing the #150 Manthey Racing Porsche with Marc Lieb and Patrick Pilet.
2014 - one more class victory at Daytona 24 Hours
In 2014, Lietz started a year with a GTLM class victory at Daytona 24 Hours. He was driving the #911 Porsche 911 RSR together with Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet. Lietz spent a full season in the IMSA United Sports Car Championship with Porsche North America, scoring no more wins or podiums and finishing 15th in the GTLM standings.
In the FIA World Endurance Championship, he participated in six rounds with two factory-entered Porsches. He won at Silverstone and finished third at Le Mans, ending a season in the third place among GT drivers. His teammates on Le Mans podium were Frederic Makowiecki and Marco Holzer.
FIA WEC GT champion in 2015
In 2015, Lietz switched his focus again on the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #91 Porsche 911 RSR in eight rounds and the #92 car in one round. He and Michael Christensen won three races (Nurburbring, COTA, Shanghai) and Lietz became the World GT champion. At Le Mans 24 hours, he finished fifth in the #91 car, sharing it with Michael Christensen and Jorg Bergmeister.
In 2015, Lietz also participated in four rounds of the European Le Mans Series and three rounds of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. He scored a victory at Petit Le Mans, sharing the #911 Porsche with Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
Two winless seasons in the World Endurance Championship
In the 2016 FIA WEC season, Lietz was driving the #77 Porsche 911 RSR for Dempsey-Proton Racing in the GTE Pro class. Sharing a car with Michael Christensen, plus Philipp Eng at Le Mans, he scored no wins or podiums to finish 8th in the final standings.
In the 2017 FIA WEC season, Lietz rejoined Porsche GT Team in the #91 car, sharing it a full season with Frederic Makowiecki. Patrick Pilet joined them at Le Mans. They were on a podium six times, including third place at Le Mans, to finish the season as vice-champions, behind Ferrari's Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.
Victory at Nurburgring 24 Hours in 2018, triumph at Spa in 2019
For the 2018/2019 FIA WEC super season, Porsche announced that it would retain Richard Lietz in the #91 car, with Gianmaria Bruni as his new co-driver. They finished second at Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2018. A year later, in June 2019, they were again second at Le Mans, in the last round of the season. Lietz finished the season third in the points.
Outside FIA WEC, Lietz has won 24 Hours of Nurburgring in May 2018.
He continued to work as Porsche factory driver in the 2019/2020 FIA WEC season, opening the season with a victory at Silverstone in September 2019. Outside the World Championship, he won Spa 24 Hours together with Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.