• Closing 2019. Porsche Ready to Run Final Race of 2019 with WEC in Bahrain. • Committed. Porsche Firm with GT Sport and Formula E. • North American Debut. New Porsche 911 RSR Racer to Celebrate IMSA Premiere at Daytona. • Quartet Returns to 24. Four Works Porsche 911 RSR to Challenge at Le Mans. • Porsche Legends. Bergmeister, Bernhard and Hartley Honored. • Driver Team. Porsche Relies On Both Tested and Up and Coming Drivers in 2020. • Developing Electric. GT Programs Announced for Formula E Development Drivers. • Customer Support. Porsche Maintains Heavy Involvement In Customer Racing. • Virtual Titlist. Prize for Porsche Esports Supercup Winner. • American Porsche Cup Winner. Brynjolfsson Earns Prestigious Customer Porsche Award. • Wright Back in IMSA. Longtime Porsche Customer Team Announces 2020 IMSA Plans with Patrick Long. • 2020 Vision. Porsche Motorsport Driver Team. • Where We Race. Overview of 2020 Porsche Racing Series and Drivers.
Event Story Lines.
Closing 2019. Porsche Ready to Run Final Race of 2019 with WEC in Bahrain.
Porsche will conclude its extremely successful 2019 motorsport season with an eight-hour race of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain on December 14. The German sports car manufacturer already holds a convincing lead in the world championship after the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed a one-two LMGTE-Pro class finish at Silverstone (Great Britain) and Shanghai (China) as well as podium finishes at Fuji (Japan). Both Porsche pilot duos are also at the top of the drivers’ standings. In the LMGTE-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.
The Bahrain International Circuit first hosted the WEC world sports car championship on the 3.36-mile (5.412-kilometer) circuit close to the capital city of Manama in its 2012 inaugural season. It returns this weekend after a one-year hiatus during the 2018/2019 “Super Season”. This year, the FIA WEC will race for eight hours for the first time. High daytime temperatures, falling temperatures at dusk and sand blowing onto the track make the race a unique challenge for teams, engineers and drivers. Tire wear on the Grand Prix circuit with its 15 turns is regarded as a critical factor for success. In 2015, the French works drivers Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki won the GTE-Pro class in the Porsche 911 RSR.
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 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 Team Project 1. The No. 57 vehicle is shared by the two Dutchmen Larry ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen and Texan 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 vehicle from Weissach, Germany – 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 drivability, efficiency, ergonomics and serviceability. Approximately 95 percent of the car is new. The 911 RSR is powered by a 4.2-liter, six-cylinder boxer engine.
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 tire 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 one-two 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.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“After the four-hour race in China, we’re now facing double the distance in Bahrain. That poses a new challenge. Such a long-distance race offers completely different strategic options. For us drivers, it’ll be exhausting, as the track characteristics offer very few chances to catch your breath in the cockpit. Moreover, the asphalt puts enormous stresses on the tires. We’re well prepared for Bahrain with the new 911 RSR and we want to retain Porsche’s championship lead as we head into the second half of the season.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Personally, I have very positive memories of Bahrain. In the past, the race in Sakhir was often the final round of the WEC season. In 2013 and 2014, I claimed the championship title there. The circuit seems to bring me luck. Now I’m contesting the race for the first time with the Porsche 911 RSR. I’m feeling confident that we will continue this season’s strong performance with another top result. To catch a few rays of sun before the Christmas break and collect as many points as possible – that’s the goal.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Apart from the high tire wear, the changes in temperature during the race make it difficult to find the ideal setup. We head off into the race in sunshine and high temperatures, later it cools down considerably. It’s important to be strong under all conditions. So far, things have gone well for us with two podium finishes at Silverstone and Fuji as well as our Shanghai victory. We hope to further extend our lead in the overall rankings at the end of the year.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“After our win in Shanghai, we’re travelling to Bahrain as the championship leaders. The mood could hardly be better. We’ll again go all-out at the last race of the year, because we would like to carry this good mood into the Christmas break and the second half of the season. Another success would make the holiday season with friends and family so much better. Regardless of the Bahrain result, my 2019 year was simply fantastic.”
Committed. Porsche Firm with GT Sport and Formula E.
At its annual Night of Champions, Porsche reflected on a triumphant 2019 season of international motorsports and looked ahead to 2020. The past season was one of the most successful in the history of the German company, with titles in three of the world’s most important GT racing series, many other victories in championships and individual events as well as a successful start into the FIA ABB Formula E Championship. On Saturday, December 7, Members of the Executive Board at Porsche as well as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, honored the achievements of drivers and racing teams from all over the world at Porsche Motorsport headquarters in Weissach, Germany. Additionally, Porsche used the gala event to announce the continuation of the extensive worldwide motorsport programs in undertakes each year as well as a number of new developments.
North American Debut. New Porsche 911 RSR Racer to Celebrate IMSA Premiere at Daytona.
The new Porsche 911 RSR race car (Model Year 2019) will celebrate its North American race debut January 24 - 25 during the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The new model, an evolution of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class Manufacturer, Driver and Team title-winning machine, has already had an impressive start in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season with two, one-two finishes and two pole positions in the first three races. The North American arm of the Porsche GT Team will enter its seventh season of factory involvement in IMSA with a two-car program headed by CORE autosport of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
For the 2020 IMSA season, the ca. 515 hp No. 911 GT racer will be driven by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). The full-season drivers will be supported at the longest races of the season at Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 10-hour Petit Le Mans by Matt Campbell (Australia). Sharing driving duties in the No. 912 car are 2019 IMSA champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). Mathieu Jaminet (France) again joins the team at the endurance events.
While testing of the new car has been underway for sometime in North America, the first public display will take place at Daytona International Speedway during the annual official pre-season testing known as the ROAR Before the 24, January 3 – 5.
Quartet Returns to 24. Four Works Porsche 911 RSR to Challenge at Le Mans.
Porsche will continue its full factory team GT effort again in 2020 at the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche will campaign four “works” cars in the grandfather of all sports car races. The two championship-winning teams from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship again join forces with each fielding two of the ca. 515 hp 911 RSR (2019 model year) race cars in the classic race. A one-two finish at Le Mans in 2018 – the first year the North American team joined the Germany-based operation at Le Mans – laid the foundation for Porsche’s WEC title wins in the 2018/2019 “Super Season”. At the final round of the season, also at the famous French race circuit in June 2019, a double podium finish sealed the manufacturer’s title as well as positions one and two in the team and drivers’ classification for Porsche.
Final details for the four-car entry at the June 13 – 14 race will be announced in the future.
Porsche Legends. Bergmeister, Bernhard and Hartley Honored.
At the annual Night of Champions, Porsche Motorsport Vice President Fritz Enzinger honored three particularly successful and beloved factory drivers for their contributions to the historic success of the brand in motorsports. Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winners and two-time world champions Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) as well as “Mister 911” Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) were celebrated for their storied careers and commitment to Porsche.
The longest-serving Porsche works drivers, Bergmeister and Bernhard, who are among the most successful sports car drivers of all time in North America and around the world will move from their roles as Porsche factory race car drivers to Porsche Ambassadors. In their new roles they will work with Porsche AG in varying capacities including car development, representing the brand and in behind the wheel of Porsche race cars. Bernhard will increase his day-to-day involvement of his successful race program Team 75 Bernhard. Bergmeister first joined the Porsche factory squad in 2002. Bernhard also received factory status in 2002 having been a Porsche Junior since 1999.
Brendon Hartley, who was on loan to Formula 1 and various prototype teams for the last three years, now dedicates himself totally to commitments independent of Porsche. Until recently, Hartley was involved in the development of the Porsche 99X Electric and in the preparation for Porsche’s maiden Formula E season.
2019 Porsche Young Professionals Matteo Cairoli (Italy) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) have successfully concluded their training from juniors to professional racers and will contest selected championships for Porsche customer teams next season.
Driver Team. Porsche Relies On Both Tested and Up and Coming Drivers in 2020.
For the 2020 season, the Porsche Motorsport squad for GT racing and the FIA ABB Formula E Championship is made up of 18 factory drivers, two Young Professionals and two Porsche Juniors. All 18 “works” drivers return for at least their second season of official factory driver status while one Junior moves to Young Professional status and two new pilots have been selected to represent the German brand as Porsche Juniors.
Among those drivers returning for full factory driver status is Patrick Long. The Manhattan Beach, California-resident first became a Porsche works driver in 2004 following two seasons as a Porsche Junior. Representing North America as the lone Porsche pilot from the continent throughout his ongoing position, Long joins Romain Dumas (France) as the most veteran of Porsche factory drivers. Each earned works status in the same year. Long is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and 27-time IMSA race winner. He has been announced to head the driver lineup of the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class in 2020.
Australian Matt Campbell (24) and Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet (25) from Porsche’s own youth development program have been signed on as full works drivers. Both have received extensive training initially as Porsche Juniors and then as Young Professionals in the Porsche one-make cups and in international GT racing. Both were heavily involved in IMSA and SRO competition in North America in 2019.
Frenchman Julien Andlauer (20), who claimed the 2019 Carrera Cup Deutschland title, advances into the next phase of his racing career as a Young Professional. Two Porsche Juniors tackle the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: Jaxon Evans from New Zealand (23) contests his second season as a Junior. In November 2019, Ayhancan Güven beat the most talented drivers from the worldwide one-make cups at a comprehensive shootout and joins the junior program of Porsche Motorsport for the coming season.
A full list of drivers and a partial list of planned 2020 activities are provided at the end of this week’s Porsche Motorsport Notes Package.
Developing Electric. GT Programs Announced for Formula E Development Drivers.
Parallel to their job as test and development drivers for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, Porsche factory driver Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland) and Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining (Austria) will also compete in GT racing with Porsche.
De Silvestro joins forces with the former Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler to contest the ADAC GT Masters with Team 75 Bernhard – operated by racing legend and Porsche Ambassador Timo Bernhard. Preining receives a regular seat in the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) and the SRO Blancpain Endurance Series for 2020. Additionally, the young Austrian will support customer team Dempsey Proton Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Customer Support. Porsche Maintains Heavy Involvement In Customer Racing.
Porsche continues its customer sport strategy in international GT racing. Instead of fielding factory squads in the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), SRO Blancpain GT Series, the GTD category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as regional GT championships, Porsche will support various customer teams by supplying drivers, engineers and consulting services at the race track.
Specific plans for North American customer programs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class (Porsche 911 GT3 R), IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class (Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport), SRO GT World Challenge America GT classes (Porsche 911 GT3 R), SRO GT4 America classes (Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport) and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as well as IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama will be announced at a later date.
Virtual Titlist. Prize for Porsche Esports Supercup Winner.
For the first time, Porsche has honored the winner of the Porsche Esports Supercup as part of the Night of Champions. After ten races, Joshua Rogers from Australia became the first champion of the virtual racing series. Run for the first time this year, the contest was conducted in collaboration with iRacing, a leading provider of realistic online racing simulations. After its successful launch, the Porsche Esports Supercup will be continued in 2020.
American Porsche Cup Winner. Brynjolfsson Earns Prestigious Customer Porsche Award.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche, presented the prestigious Porsche Cup to Alan Brynjolfsson (Tampa, Florida) at the annual Porsche Night of Champions on December 7. The Porsche Cup trophy and a Porsche valued at over 140,000 Euros (est. $155,000 USD) went to Brynjolfsson as a result of his performance in multiple North American race series driving a Park Place Motorsports-prepared Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The Floridian is the first American to win the Porsche Cup since 2007 when California’s Johannes van Overbeek received the honor.
Brynjolfsson accumulated points in the GT4 classes of the SRO Pirelli GT4 America and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in the United States and Canada over the course of the 2019 race season. This is the first time a 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport driver has claimed the trophy. Last year’s winner Christian Ried (Germany) received 30,000 Euros (est. $33,000 USD) in prize money for second-place, with Trent Hindman (New Jersey) earning 25,000 Euros (est. $27,600 USD) for third-place. Hindman, a Porsche North America Young Driver Academy graduate, was Brynjolfsson’s teammate in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and SRO GT4 America SprintX multi-driver-format race series throughout 2019.
The Porsche Cup, a trophy presented to the most successful Porsche private driver in the world, was awarded for the 50th time this year. The Porsche Cup is based on an idea of Ferry Porsche and has been presented annually since 1970. All national and international drivers who yielded race results in a vehicle manufactured or recognized by Porsche are eligible.
Wright Back in IMSA. Longtime Porsche Customer Team Announces 2020 IMSA Plans with Patrick Long.
As 2019 draws to a close, Wright Motorsports announced its two-car return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on December 7. Wright Motorsports newcomer Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) joins with Porsche Factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) in a full season GTD class program behind the wheel of the No. 16 1st Phorm Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will begin January 3 – 5 with the ROAR Before the 24 official pre-season test and the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 25 – 26 at Daytona Intentional Speedway.
Fresh off his rookie season in the WeatherTech Championship, the 2020 season will see Hardwick return to the pro-am style class for his first year in a Porsche. Announced in October, the 2018 IMSA Super Trofeo and SRO America GT Cup champion will bring 1st Phorm and Mountain Motorsports to the Wright program and the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Returning to Wright Motorsports for another year of competition, Long will continue to race with the fan favorite Porsche team. The three-time ALMS GT champion also holds three Pirelli World Challenge titles – now known as the SRO GT World Challenge America – and enters the new year with an impressive 27 IMSA wins, placing him in the top 25 of over 1,000 drivers to earn at least one victory in the series. Long’s impressive resume, combined with his longstanding relationship with team owner John Wright will give the Ohio-based team a strong upper hand against the competition in the GT3-specificiation class.
The No. 16 Porsche will feature a predominately black, blue and grey livery, with the traditional Wright Motorsports chevron showcasing the flowing design of the 510 horsepower rear-engine machine. The distinctive 1st Phorm blue will set the car apart from the field through the duration of the twelve-race season.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 1st Phorm Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We know the model of consistency gets you in championship contention, but sheer performance and victories are likely going to have the final say. I revel in the chance to mount a challenge for a title, but I have no doubt we are in the most competitive era of GT racing this country has ever seen. I really like where we ended up in 2018 with Wright Motorsports in our IMSA GTD effort. It’s great to get back into the groove and the plan is to pick up where we left off. Ryan is a refreshing personality and he seems as driven and focused as any driver on the grid, pro or not. That’s a great combination and I like where we have been able to get as teammates in a very short span of time. I am grateful to our partners in believing in our combination of a driving pair.”
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 1st Phorm Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I am literally counting down the days until the green flag waves at the Rolex 24 in Daytona. I couldn’t be more excited about how things came together during the off season with Wright Motorsports and Porsche Motorsport North America. This team is truly where I belong. I immediately felt comfortable and right at home with these guys. I’m also super stoked to have the opportunity to share the driver seat this season with Patrick Long. As a longtime Porsche enthusiast, I’ve been a fan and watched Pat compete for years. Getting the chance to actually race alongside and learn directly from him is a real honor. Daytona can’t come soon enough. I’m ready to get after it!”
2020 Vision. Porsche Motorsport Driver Team.
Porsche Factory Drivers.
Earl Bamber (29/New Zealand)
Gianmaria Bruni (38/Italy)
Matt Campbell (24/Australia)
Michael Christensen (29/Denmark)
Romain Dumas (41/France)
Kévin Estre (31/France)
Mathieu Jaminet (25/France)
Neel Jani (35/Switzerland)
Richard Lietz (35/Austria)
Patrick Long (38/USA)
André Lotterer (38/Germany)
Frédéric Makowiecki (39/France)
Sven Müller (27/Germany)
Patrick Pilet (38/France)
Simona de Silvestro (31/Switzerland)
Nick Tandy (35/Great Britain)
Laurens Vanthoor (28/Belgium)
Dirk Werner (38/Germany)
Porsche Young Professionals
Thomas Preining (21/Austria)
Julien Andlauer (20/France)
Jaxon Evans (23/New Zealand)
Ayhancan Güven (21/Turkey)
Where We Race. Overview of 2020 Porsche Racing Series and Drivers.
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Porsche 99X Electric - Neel Jani / André Lotterer
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) – 2019/20
911 RSR No. 91 - Gianmaria Bruni / Richard Lietz
911 RSR No. 92 - Michael Christensen / Kévin Estre
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship - 2020
911 RSR No. 911 - Frédéric Makowiecki / Nick Tandy / Matt Campbell (only North American Endurance Cup)
911 RSR No. 912 - Earl Bamber / Laurens Vanthoor / Mathieu Jaminet (only North American Endurance Cup)
SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC)
Porsche 911 GT3 R
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing. @PorscheTeam
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
WEC – Eight Hours of Bahrain. #8hBahrain
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Pirelli Trophy West USA. @PirelliTrophy (Twitter)
@PirelliTrophyWestUSA (Instagram) IMSA @IMSA
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE