The season-opening race of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC at Silverstone on 20 April marks the return of Porsche to top-level motorsport. On the storied British race track, the newly-formed Porsche Team campaigns two Porsche 919 Hybrid vehicles in the LMP1 class. Silverstone hosts the first of eight WEC rounds this season, with the Le Mans 24 Hours as the ultimate highlight in June.

Six works drivers contest the LMP1 class on the Silverstone Circuit with the 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) share the cockpit of the number 14 vehicle, with Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) teaming up in the number 20 prototype.

The newly-developed Porsche 919 Hybrid is the most complex race car Porsche has ever put on wheels. Because the LMP1 regulations have stipulated a decrease in the allowable fuel quantity available per lap by around 30 percent compared to 2013, the vehicle has been designed for extreme performance and efficiency. With the combination of two different energy recovery systems and a downsized turbocharged engine, it also serves as a research platform for fundamental technology for future production models.

The six-hour race in Silverstone starts on Sunday, 20 April, at midday local time (13.00 hrs CEST) and is broadcast live on the internet under www.fiawec.com. Eurosport airs the final hour of the race live from 18.00 hrs CEST.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: „Time has flown since Porsche announced its plan to return to the World Endurance Championship. That was on June 30th, 2011. Assembling the entire team to now number 230 employees, the infrastructure, vehicle development and construction – this was an unbelievable phase. But now it is high time to go racing and see where we stand. The main priority for the first race outing of the 919 Hybrid is that we finish at Silverstone. We drove six hours at a stretch several times during testing, but racing is always a special challenge. The debut for the team and the vehicle will be very exciting for us all.“

The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC
Sports prototypes and GT vehicles contest the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC in four classes: LMP1 (eg. Porsche 919 Hybrid), LMP2, LMGTE-Pro (eg. 911 RSR) and LMGTE-Am (eg. 911 RSR and 911 GT3 RSR). They all compete together in one race but are classified separately.

The 2014 races
20 April Silverstone/Great Britain
03 May Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium
14/15 June Le Mans/France
20 September Austin/USA
12 October Fuji/Japan
02 November Shanghai/China
15 November Sakhir/Bahrain
30 November Sao Paulo/Brazil

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The Porsche Team enjoyed two intensive days of testing with the newly developed 919 Hybrid, entered in the top class of Le Mans Prototypes, during the official Prologue of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Paul Ricard. It was the first time the Porsche Team had shared a test with the whole WEC field and was able to get a first impression about the differences in speed between the various classes. On the 5.791 kilometre long track the difference between the overall fastest lap of the LMP1 car (1:41.289 minutes, Porsche 919 Hybrid, Brendon Hartley) and the slowest GT car was around 20 seconds. The team had another first a few days earlier on the same track when it took part in a private test with two cars.

In total both driver line-ups – Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb (car no. 14) and Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber (car no. 20) - completed 614 laps (3,556 kilometres) on Friday and Saturday. They practiced countless driver changes and worked together with the Porsche Team’s engineers to further improve the car’s set-up.

Team principal Andreas Seidl: “The Prologue was an excellently run test by the WEC organisation and we were able to complete our programme. After concentrating on long distance racing during our private test, when we covered two six hour race distances, we have now also tested our qualifying performance. We made good progress in all areas – be it team-work, performance or reliability. But we know very well that we cannot catch up overnight with the advantage our competition has in terms of experience, and we have quite a lot of homework to do before the season’s opening race on 20th April in Silverstone.“

Off the track another important point has been clarified. The Porsche 919 Hybrid has finally been homologated for the six megajoule class. This classification defines the amount of recuperated electrical power which can be boosted per lap. At the same time, the megajoule class defines the amount of fuel which can be used per lap.

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1: “To decide on the best megajoule class requires a complex calculation. To put it simply, you can say we have designed our energy recovery systems as big and heavy as the overall car concept allowed. With the amount of energy we can recuperate this way, we fit well into the six megajoule class.“

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, as well as Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development, gathered first hand information about the project’s progress at the track from Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

Timo Bernhard (no. 20): “To me this was the most important test of all. Certainly if I compare the state of the car now to the roll out last June, but more importantly regarding the team spirit and how we work together. Not least of all what you can tell from the test results is very good news for the fans, as all three LMP1 cars are so close together.”

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For the Porsche Team the final stages of preparation for the 2014 World Endurance Championship (WEC) have begun. The team tested its newly developed 919 Hybrid, entered in the top class of Le Mans Prototypes, for three days (March 24-26) at the Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France. For the first time the innovative hybrid LMP1 race cars have appeared in their final livery on a race track. The graphic in the design shows the first letters of Porsche’s market core “Porsche Intelligent Performance“. On Friday in Paul Ricard the WEC Prologue begins, the first meeting of all the World Championship cars is looked forward to with great excitement.

During Porsche’s exclusive test on the 5.791 kilometre long track all six LMP1 works drivers were on duty. Both driver line-ups, Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb (car number 14) and Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber (car number 20) completed a comprehensive test programme. The programme was interrupted several times due to technical problems, but, nevertheless, the test was highly productive, including night running and countless pit stop practices.

Regardless of the strong and cold Mistral winds early in the week on the circuit, which is 470 metres above sea level, the team enjoyed excellent testing conditions. With ambient temperatures from as low as four degrees at night and up to 12 degrees during the day (track temperatures 4-23°C) the circuit was dry, except for some light night-time drizzle on one occasion. Together the two 919 Hybrid cars covered a mileage of 4,756 kilometres.

Team principal Andreas Seidl: ”This test was a very challenging one for the entire crew. For the first time we were running two cars at the same time, which was demanding in terms of logistics and team coordination. The other target was to simulate a race weekend in order to prepare for the two six-hours races that are coming up. This was a very important experience for us. The test taught us that we have to improve in terms of reliability. With regards to the way the crew and drivers worked together as a team, we are going in the right direction. The next two days of testing here in Paul Ricard, during the Prologue, will be used to fine tune both the car’s set up, as well as the race specific processes.“

After the Prologue, the test shared by the whole WEC field on March 28 and 29, the first round of the World Championship will follow on April 20, it is the 6 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain).

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Porsche starts with four cars in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 hours of Le Mans. Today, Thursday, the Le Mans organiser, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) in Paris, announced the list of competitors selected to participate in the 82nd edition of the classic long-distance race on June 14th and 15th, 2014. Porsche has registered its new works team for the two 919 Hybrid cars as "Porsche Team" in the top category of Le Mans prototypes (LMP1). The start numbers for the innovative hybrid sports cars are 14 and 20.

Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (start number 20) and Romain Dumas (start number 14) are each assigned to one of the two Le Mans prototypes in the WEC. This series comprises eight races, including the 24 hours of Le Mans. As a result each of the two 919 Hybrid cars will be piloted by a Le Mans overall winner: Bernhard (Germany, 33) and Dumas (France, 36) both achieved this success with Audi in 2010. There is still no final decision on which of the four other LMP1 Porsche works drivers will take turns at the wheel during the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship – Brendon Hartley (New Zealand, 24), Neel Jani (Switzerland, 30), Marc Lieb (Germany, 33) and Mark Webber (Australia, 37).

Team Principal Andreas Seidl explained in Paris: "It was an obvious choice to split these two pilots to the two cars because of their special long-distance and Le Mans experience. The confirmation of our entry is another milestone on our road to Le Mans. We are all excited to meet our competitors for the first time at the official test at Paul Ricard at the end of March and of course at the WEC season kick-off at Silverstone in April.”

The 919 Hybrid was developed to meet the new efficiency regulations for the top category of Le Mans prototypes. The 919 Hybrid has a highly complex hybrid drive system comprising a small-capacity supercharged V4 combustion engine, an electric motor driving the front wheels and two energy recovery systems.

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The 24 Hours of Daytona on January 25th marks the start of the inaugural season of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (USCC). Porsche is represented by a large turnout for the season-opener on the Daytona International Speedway, with Porsche works drivers and Porsche juniors competing. After notching up 22 overall and 75 class victories here in Florida, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the sports car classic.

With its twelve corners, the 5.729 kilometre Daytona International Speedway is one of the most famous race tracks in the USA. The 24 hour race, regarded as the second great endurance race after Le Mans, is contested on a combination of the oval with banked corners and the infield.

In the GTD class Timo Bernhard starts for the team Park Place Motorsports in a Porsche 911 GT America. The Porsche 911 GT America features a four-litre, six-cylinder engine and produces 470 hp. The vehicle is an improved version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the most successful and most widely-produced race car in the world.

The 24 Hours of Daytona starts on Saturday, 25 January, at 14.30 hrs local time (20.30 hrs CET).

Timo Bernhard: “The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of my favourites. You come up against many really strong drivers from other race series, and I’ve always wanted to compete against those guys."

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* * * Merry christmas and a happy new year with the best wishes for 2014 * * *

Timo Bernhard + Daniel Fries

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Porsche 919 hybrid named, LMP1 driver squad complete

Porsche AG announces its driver line-up and the vehicle name for its return to the top category of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014, with the season highlight in Le Mans: On the occasion of the Porsche Night of Champions this Saturday in Weissach, the young New Zealander Brendon Hartley (24) and long-standing Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (33) from Germany have been confirmed as regular drivers in the LMP1 race car, officially called the “Porsche 919 hybrid”. Already signed on for the LMP1 project are the drivers Timo Bernhard (DE, 32), Romain Dumas (FR, 36), Neel Jani (CH, 30) and the Australian Mark Webber (37).

Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, stated: “We are very proud of our strong international driver line-up. Three of the six drivers come from our own Porsche driver squad, two were even Porsche juniors. This is something we are particularly proud of.” Hatz continued: “The vehicle name 919 hybrid follows on from the tradition of the Le Mans-winning 917, but it is also with a view to the 918 Spyder, and acknowledges the company’s embarkation into the hybrid future. Maximum efficiency in energy consumption is the directive of the new WEC regulations for the works-entered class 1 prototypes – and that is also the direction for the automobile future.”

Fritz Enzinger, Head of LMP1, explained: “We had a substantial number of applicants from all classes for the two 919 hybrids. We were looking for experience, sheer speed, technical understanding, and we wanted team players because this is more important in endurance racing than in any discipline.”

Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas were the first drivers to be selected. The two bring the experience of seven overall victories each from 24 hour races – Nürburgring, Daytona, Spa and overall victory together in Le Mans with Audi. In July 2013, the ex-Formula 1 test driver Neel Jani joined the team, with Mark Webber onboard since the end of the 2013 Formula 1 season. Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb now complete the squad.

Mark Webber disclosed: “For me a lot of it is familiar, a lot is foreign, everything is special. I’m absorbing every bit of information I can and I’m already looking forward to the next tests.” The nine-time Grand Prix winner took the wheel of the 919 hybrid for the first time several days ago in Portimão, Portugal.

Timo Bernhard has a few more kilometres to his credit. He said: “I’ve been with Porsche for 15 years and I feel an immense responsibility that comes with the return to LMP1. In the development, all your skills as a driver are required. The first premise is not to drive fast, it’s more to feel what the car is doing and to share even the smallest details with the engineers.”

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Changing weather conditions, 66 GT race cars from nine different manufacturers, 70,000 spectators: The 65th running of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on the famous Ardennes roller-coaster circuit had all the ingredients for success – and offered suspense from the first to the last minute. After 24 eventful hours, the Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France) celebrated a podium result. In the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Porsche customer team Manthey-Racing, the trio clinched second place. The ProSpeed Competition squad achieved the second best Porsche placing with ninth on their home turf. Four 911 finished in the top 13 at the supreme sports car classic.

One of the two 911 GT3 R fielded by the French Pro GT by Almeras team also delighted fans with a chase through the field that was rewarded with 13th. The factory pilots Timo Bernhard and Joerg Bergmeister (both Germany) had already lost almost half an hour in the first race third after their French teammate Nicolas Lapierre went off and damaged the radiator of the 911. A slow puncture in the night cost them more time. “We had a problem with the balance and therefore didn’t have the speed for a top placing,” said Timo Bernhard. “Then the radiator damage cost us eleven laps. But we drivers worked brilliantly together and fought back to clinch 13th.”

 

Result 24 hour race
1. Schneider/Buhk/Götz (D/D/D), Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, 564 laps
2. Lieb/Lietz/Pilet (D/A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 563
3. Lotterer/Mies/Stippler (D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 558
9. Hennerici/Maassen/Soulet (D/NL/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 550
11. Clément/Pla/Armindo/Renauer (F/F/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 545
13. Bernhard/Bergmeister/Lapierre (D/D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 543
21. Ragginger/Asch/Richter/Klohs (A/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 526
26. Kelders/Desbrueres/Rostan/Hirschi (B/F/F/CH), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 502

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