WEC: Porsche tackles last race of the year as world championship leaders

WEC: Porsche tackles last race of the year as world championship leaders

Porsche intends to conclude its extremely successful 2019 motorsport season with another highlight at the eight-hour race of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain on 14 December.

The preview

The sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart holds a convincing lead in the world championship after the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed a one-two at Silverstone (Great Britain) and Shanghai (China) as well as podium finishes at Fuji (Japan). Both Porsche duos are also at the top of the drivers’ standings. In the GTE-Am classification, three customer teams field a total of five Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec at the long-distance race in the Gulf region.

Comments before the race

Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “An almost unparalleled year for Porsche Motorsport comes to an end with the eight-hour race in Bahrain. We intend to underscore our outstanding form with another success. We have won all world championship titles as well as the North American championship with the predecessor model of the Porsche 911 RSR. The new car has continued this success streak from the previous WEC season seamlessly. At the end of the year, we want to once again demonstrate the potential of the new 911 RSR and head into the 2020 season as the leaders of the world championship.”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “The last works outing of this year will be a big challenge. The Bahrain circuit is physically demanding and tyre wear is extremely high. As always, we will prepare meticulously and systematically. Porsche has always been particularly strong over long distances – in terms of the car and driver performance as well as strategy. We want to underline this once again with the new Porsche 911 RSR at the eight-hour race in Bahrain.”

Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “We had a dream start into the season with our new Porsche 911 RSR. Two double victories, two pole positions, podium results at every round and we’re leading all championship classifications – what more could you ask for? Of course, to build on this at the next race and continue the success streak. Bahrain is a challenging circuit and it’s the first race of the 2019/2020 season over a really long distance. The team is preparing intensively for this challenge in order to conclude the year successfully for Porsche.”

The race

The Bahrain International Circuit has hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix regularly since 2004. The WEC world sports car championship was first contested on the 5.412-kilometre circuit close to the capital Manama in its 2012 inaugural season – the only exception was in the 2018/2019 Super Season. At this year’s return to the challenging racetrack, the FIA WEC will race over eight hours for the first time. High daytime temperatures, falling temperatures at dusk and sand at times covering the asphalt make the race a big challenge for teams, engineers and drivers. Tyre wear on the Grand Prix circuit with its 15 turns is regarded as a critical factor for potential success. In 2015, the French works drivers Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki won the GTE-Pro class in the Porsche 911 RSR.

The Porsche GT Team drivers

The world sports car champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) share driving duties in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR. The successful duo leads the overall standings after winning the previous race in Shanghai as well as achieving second place at both Silverstone and Fuji. The winners of the season-opening round in Great Britain, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), helm the No. 91 sister car. The new Porsche 911 RSR also underlined its enormous potential at the previous races of the 2019/2020 season with pole positions in Japan and China.

The customer teams

The German customer team Dempsey-Proton Racing fields two Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec. At the wheel of the No. 77 car are Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia), team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and the Italian Riccardo Pera. Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining from Austria shares the cockpit of the No. 88 sister car.

Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) joins forces with Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and David Heinemeier Hansson (Denmark) in the No. 56 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the German customer squad Project 1. The No. 57 vehicle is shared by the two Dutchmen Larry ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen and the American Ben Keating. Gulf Racing’s No. 86 car is manned by the all-British line-up of Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Andrew Watson.

The Porsche 911 RSR

The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) contests its maiden race in the world sports car championship. The vehicle from Weissach, which produces around 515 hp depending on the air restrictor, is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS* road-going sports car. Compared to its extremely successful predecessor model, the car for the GTE-Pro class of the FIA WEC received improvements to areas such as driveability, efficiency, ergonomics and serviceability. About 95 percent of the car is new. The 911 RSR is powered by a 4.2-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine.

The schedule

The eight-hour FIA WEC race in Bahrain gets underway on Saturday, 14 December at 3 pm local time (1 pm CET).

The race on TV and the Internet

Round four of the FIA WEC season will be shown in full length on www.sport1.de. The pay-TV station Sport 1+ broadcasts the entire race live from 12:30am to 9:30pm. Eurosport televises the final phase four round four live from 6.00pm on its Eurosport 2 channel. Motorsport.tv televises the race in full length. For a fee, the FIA WECapp offers live streaming and live timing.

The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC

In the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC), which was first contested in 2012, sports prototypes and GT vehicles compete in four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately. The Porsche factory squad contests the GTE-Pro class as the reigning world manufacturers’ champions, while the customer teams Dempsey Proton Racing, Project 1 and Gulf Racing fight for honours in the GTE-Am class.

Reference: https://newsroom.porsche.com/en.html

Source: René Staud