The impressive CV of the strongest boxer in the endurance ring


After notching 18 race victories, five world championship titles and three class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche concluded its factory entry with the 911 RSR in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship WEC. Under the Porsche Penske Motorsport banner, the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer returns to the world’s greatest endurance races with the 963 to battle for overall victories from the 2023 season.

Before writing a new chapter with the hybrid prototype, Porsche can draw up a positive balance sheet of its ten-year campaign with the 911 RSR. Over the past decade, the strongest racing boxer from the Weissach development center has left an indelible mark on the notoriously competitive GTE-Pro class. During the 2013 season, Porsche AG acquired 51% of Manthey’s operating team. The experienced team from Germany’s Eifel region was then given the management of the factory entry in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship WEC. This new constellation was immediately crowned with success, with a class victory at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2013 – 2016: Le Mans class victory in the first year, numerous international successes

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Romain Dumas (France) triumphed in the new GTE-Pro category. The sister car finished in second place. “This result left me speechless,” smiled Olaf Manthey, who led the team at the time. For the winning driver Marc Lieb, a dream has also come true: “Our team was new, the car too. In the first two races of the year, we were still a bit lacking in rhythm”, recalls the 2016 WEC champion. “Then came our Le Mans package. we fought our way through the field in difficult and changing conditions. The key to our success was that, unlike our rivals, we were able to complete three stints on a single set of tires. After 24 hours, the Porsche 911 RSR n °92 crossed the finish line first, more than two minutes ahead of the sister car.

“We didn’t expect to win and that’s what made this victory so wonderful for Porsche, the team and us the drivers,” said Lieb. “Still, it was the saddest victory of my career.” The reason: A tragic accident eclipsed the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen lost his life early in the race after hitting the guardrail at the Tertre Rouge bend. In 2007, the amiable and very popular Dane contested Le Mans at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Based on the 991 generation, the 2013 911 RSR was the last of its kind to feature the classic flat-six engine in the rear. In 2014, the nine-eleven took class victories at Silverstone and Shanghai. A year later, another major milestone was achieved: four victories in the GTE-Pro category at the Nürburgring, in Austin, Shanghai and Bahrain as well as the constructors’, drivers’ and teams’ championship titles. In 2016, the two factory cars only contested Le Mans. The following season saw the arrival of Weissach’s new GTE-Pro racer – this time based on the 991 generation with the drivetrain mounted in front of the rear axle for the first time. Winning the admiration of fans around the world for its incomparably muscular sound, the new concept has proven extremely successful at many racetracks on both sides of the Atlantic.

2017 – 2019: New vehicle concept and an unforgettable performance at Le Mans

Given the new weight distribution – which gave the team a wealth of new knowledge, especially in terms of tire usage – 2017 was seen as a development year. The learning process went quickly. In only the second year of competition, the FIA ​​WEC factory team made a spectacular appearance at Le Mans – in terms of performance and design. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Porsche brand, the two 911 RSR sport a historic look. The #91 car, decked out in the style of the legendary Rothmans livery, dominated qualifying. Italian works driver Gianmaria Bruni set a new record for GTE vehicles at Le Mans with a lap time of 3:47.504 minutes.

The #92 car sporting the Pink Pig livery dominated the race. Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) set a fast pace and had luck on their side: they won their class by one lap ahead of the sister car shared by Gianmaria Bruni , Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). “The Porsche 911 is and remains the best sports car in the world, it is a real racing car. There is nothing better than a double in the GTE-Pro class and a win in the GTE-Am class on our 70th anniversary,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Porsche Board of Management. Research and Development, immediately after the race.

2018 – 2022: World champion titles and another class victory at the Manserer Klassensieg at Le Mans

While the 2017 generation 911 won the 2018-2019 FIA WEC GTE-Pro championship title after winning its class at Le Mans, the successor was already waiting in the wings: the RSR-19 powered by a 4.2 engine. liters. six-cylinder engine – the biggest boxer Porsche has ever planted in a factory 911 racer at this point. Its debut in La Sarthe in 2019 had it all: in a class with 17 cars from six different manufacturers, the n°91 and 93 cars secured podiums with second and third places in the hotly contested GTE-Pro class. Another podium followed in 2021, 2022 giving the long-awaited success in the Sarthe. Richard Lietz, Gianmaria Bruni and local hero Frederic Makowiecki added another highlight to the factory 911’s final year by winning their class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The intention last season with the factory cars in the GTE-Pro class was to win the world championship titles, but the team narrowly missed out on this ambitious feat in the final in Bahrain.

“We joined the FIA ​​​​WEC with a works team on the occasion of the 911’s 50th anniversary and quickly won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the biggest endurance race of this year, the loop was wrapped up with our third class win,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “Le Mans is the pinnacle of endurance racing. We are particularly proud of our successes there. hard for the other 15 FIA WEC class wins and they are the culmination of the tremendous work of our team and all the employees who worked on this project at the development center in Weissach.We have written another chapter of the illustrious history of Porsche Motorsport.

We would have preferred to add one more title to our total of five in the final release. Although it unfortunately didn’t work out, we can be very pleased with our great achievements after a decade of factory racing. At the same time, we are looking to the future: in 2023, we are aiming for overall victories with the Porsche 963 in the biggest endurance races in the world. We are very excited about this!

The FIA ​​WEC factory mission in numbers

Races contested: 62 in twelve countries
The GTE-Pro class wins: 18
Pole positions (GTE-Pro): 20
Podiums (GTE-Pro): 67
Race kilometers traveled: 155,830
World Championship Points Earned: 2,240
Work drivers deployed: 18
Biggest company release: Le Mans 2018 and 2019 with four cars each
Highest top speed: 312.7 km/h (Le Mans 2022)

2023: The 911 RSR continues to race, the new 963 arrives

Although the factory commitment is coming to an end, the 911 RSR will continue to be raced in the FIA ​​​​WEC: Porsche customer teams will field the popular GT race car in the amateur GTE-Am class next year . With the new Porsche 963, the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory team is determined to fight for overall victory in the world’s two greatest endurance series. Two hybrid prototypes are entered to compete in both the FIA ​​WEC World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar North American Championship.

World quest for Porsche Penske Motorsport with the new 963

The Porsche Penske Motorsport team sends the new Porsche 963 on the hunt for overall victories in the world’s greatest endurance races.


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