At the Porsche Motorsport headquarters in Weissach, near Stuttgart, Germany, preparations for the running of the new LMP1 sports prototype in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship are progressing at high revs.
To support this programme, the infrastructure at the Research & Development Centre has been considerably expanded with a new workshop building and an office complex completed. “The first roll-out of our new LMP1 car is planned for mid-2013,” announced Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche AG Board of Management Member for Research and Development, on Saturday on the occasion of the end of season Porsche Motorsport ‘Night of Champions’ celebration. “The car will be run by our own factory ‘works’ team based here at Weissach.”
Following a re-structuring, the LMP1 project is realised by a new department headed by Fritz Enzinger. With his well-established organisational structure, Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, continues to be responsible for all other motorsport programmes worldwide.
The customer racing model 911 GT3 R celebrated 41 wins from 131 starts in a range of GT3 racing series worldwide. For the 2013 season, Porsche offers teams an upgrade package which will position the GT3 R even better in the performance window as defined by the FIA.
In his speech, Hatz underlined the importance of GT racing for Porsche and pleaded for two different GT categories for works-supported professional sport and for customer sport; “In factory sport the regulations must be based on technology, while in customer racing a stronger alignment of the relative strength by Balance of Performance measures is legitimate.”
New edition of 911 GT3 Cup unveiled
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the most successful race car in the world. Since 1998, 2,395 units of the near standard vehicle for customer racing have been produced. Unveiled for the first time on Saturday night at the Porsche Motorsport ‘Night of Champions’ celebration at Weissach, the new ‘Type 991’ edition of the 911 GT3 Cup is the motorsport version of the forthcoming 911 GT3 road car. It is also the first race car based on the seventh generation of the sports car icon from Stuttgart; the 911 GT3 Cup will run exclusively in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2013.
The new car is powered by a 3.8-litre six-cylinder flat-six engine. It develops 460 hp (338 kW) at 7,500 revs, surpassing the predecessor by 10 hp. A six-speed ‘dog-type’ gearbox developed by Porsche Motorsport transmits the power to the rear axle and, for the first time in a Porsche Cup race car, is operated via shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The single-piece race wheels with centre mount are also newly-designed by Porsche Motorsport. The width of the Michelin race slicks has increased by two centimetres to 27 cm at the front, and by one centimetre at the rear axle to now measure 31 cm.
A newly-developed braking system further improves the excellent endurance qualities compared to its successful predecessor. The 380 mm diameter slotted and inner-vented steel brake discs on the front axle are accompanied by aluminium six-piston fixed callipers. The rear axle features a four-piston version.
During the development of the new car a particular emphasis was put on driver safety. A new safety cage protects the driver in case of a roll or a collision, and this is further aided by a newly-developed race seat which is distinctively shaped around the head and shoulders and can be adjusted individually with the help of padding. Furthermore, a rescue hatch in the roof provides easy access for primary medical attention and for the extrication of the driver.
“The new 911 GT3 Cup is much easier to drive at the limit,” said Porsche factory race driver Timo Bernhard, who was closely involved in the development of the new racer. “The car is excellently balanced. The new axle geometry is enormously positive for the handling. Apart from that, the new Cup 911 is great fun to drive!”
Like its predecessor, the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is produced in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen on the same assembly line as the road cars. At the Motorsport Centre in Weissach, it receives a general set-up for the circuit and is tested by a professional race driver before delivery to the customers. The basic price for the vehicle, which is available exclusively in white, is 181,200 Euro plus the country-specific value added tax.
Nick Tandy wins Porsche Cup – the best private driver in 2012
After his first full season in international GT racing, British racing driver Nick Tandy (28) can celebrate winning the Porsche Cup as the best private Porsche driver in the world. On the occasion of the ‘Night of Champions’, Nick Tandy received the Porsche Cup from Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG. Additionally, Tandy was awarded a new Porsche 911 Carrera S.
During the past season, the British driver scored a total of 7,510 points. Second-placed Raymond Narac was awarded 30,000 Euro, and third-placed Paolo Ruberti 25,000 Euro. The Porsche Cup is endowed with a total value of 253,000 Euro. In the competition initiated by Ferry Porsche, drivers earned points in 18 GT and prototype race series worldwide as well as at selected long distance endurance races.
Professional race driver and part-time farmer, Tandy, from Bedford, headed into 2012 as the reigning Champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. He raced a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by the experienced Manthey Racing team in the International GT Open. Sharing the cockpit with Porsche factory ‘works’ driver Marco Holzer, he won five races. And in the ADAC GT Masters, Tandy competed for the Geyer & Weinig EDV – Schütz Motorsport squad at the wheel of a 911 GT3 R. With team-mate Christian Engelhart, he scored four victories. Tandy earned further points towards the Porsche Cup competing for Flying Lizard Motorsports and TRG in the ALMS. In the British GT Championship, he manned the cockpit of a Team Motorbase 911 GT3 R at selected rounds. After John Fitzpatrick (1972, 1974, 1980) and Tim Sugden (2005), Nick Tandy is the third Briton to be honoured with the Porsche Cup, which has been awarded by Porsche since 1970.
New drivers receive Porsche factory backing
With its well-established squad of ‘works’ drivers, Porsche is relying on continuity. All nine drivers still have a valid contract for the 2013 season, or their contract was extended. For six of the nine drivers, the 24-hour race at Daytona on 26 January marks the start of the new season. Joerg Bergmeister drives a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for The Racers Group. With Kevin Buckler’s squad, Bergmeister scored a sensational overall victory at Daytona in 2003 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Marco Holzer competes for Alex Job Racing, Marc Lieb again joins forces with Brumos Racing and Richard Lietz drives for last year’s winner Magnus Racing. Patrick Long goes racing for Park Place Motorsports and Patrick Pilet competes for the NGT team.
For the Porsche Juniors, Michael Christensen (22) from Denmark and Austrian Klaus Bachler (21), the race in Daytona marks the first time in their career that they contest a 24 hour race. Christensen receives support in his campaign from Christian Engelhart and Porsche Cup winner Nick Tandy for the Konrad Motorsport team with whom he contested the Carrera Cup Deutschland in 2012. Bachler is competing for Snow Racing.
As announced previously, new Porsche Junior drivers Alex Riberas Bou (18) and American driver Connor de Phillippi (19) will contest the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland next season, while Christensen and Bachler will race in the Porsche Supercup in 2013.
In addition to the promotion of four Porsche Juniors, one further driver from the international Carrera Cups will enjoy comprehensive support for the 2013 season. Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay (25), who won the Carrera Cup France at his first attempt last season, receives funding to the value of 200,000 Euro towards his 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign. At a test session in Vallelunga, Vernay was selected over eight other top drivers from the Carrera Cups of France, Asia, Japan, Scandinavia, Italy, Australia, Great Britain and from the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada.
Vernay has already made a name for himself in international motor racing. In 2005 he claimed the French Formula Renault Campus Championship. In 2010, Vernay went to the USA and promptly clinched overall victory in the Indy Lights Series’ in his first season. Peugeot contracted the Frenchman as a test and reserve pilot for their LMP1 project in 2011. At the same time, Vernay competed in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and was crowned LMP2 Champion.
“The support from Porsche is a great opportunity for me,” said Vernay. “In the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup all drivers have to adjust to a new vehicle. For me as a newcomer this means I’ll have a good chance to be competitive right from the beginning. The Supercup is the pinnacle of the Porsche Cups and has a great reputation as a launching platform to enter professional GT sport.”