Although the factory squad was crowned the World Manufacturers champions for the first 2018/2019 Super Season, their success in the forthcoming 24-hour race is by no means a foregone conclusion. With the Test Day just a few days away, Porsche will begin preparations to defend its Le Mans title.
Porsche enthusiasts will remember well the stunning 1-2 victory at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours, when the #92 RSR ‘Sau’ (Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor) took GTE Pro class honours from its #91 sibling (Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki), just one lap further back. Of the other two works 911s, the #94 car finished in eleventh place in class while the #94 car retired around midnight with drive/suspension problems. Those with long memories will perhaps say that the two 911s with the retro-style liveries succeeded because they looked so good.
2019 RSR liveries
The retro-themed liveries seem to have caught on in the pit lane, as Ford will style all four of their entries at Le Mans in retro liveries this year. Porsche too will once again celebrate their recent WEC championship title where all red surfaces on the #91 and #92 RSRs will be finished in gold for the season finale at Le Mans, and the roof of both cars will feature the world champion logo. The pits of the Porsche GT Team will also reflect these colours.
This year the #93 and #94 cars will take on the white, red and blue colours of the famous Brumos 911s that won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1973, 1975, 1978 and 2009. US Porsche enthusiasts will be familiar with the Brumos Porsches that currently run in the IMSA series, and it is this livery that we will see on the #93 and #94 cars next month. Brumos Racing is indelibly linked to the name of Porsche’s current brand ambassador, Hurley Haywood. After scoring three overall victories at Le Mans, Haywood is considered one of the most successful drivers at the 24-hour marathon. In recognition of this remarkable achievement, Hurley Haywood will act as Grand Marshal at Le Mans on 15/16 June.
“The gold paintwork on the two 911 RSR racers from the WEC symbolises the early win of the world title for manufacturers, which is something we’re very proud of,” said Porsche’s vice president of motorsport Fritz Enzinger. “The Brumos design is one of the most famous and popular vehicle liveries in motor racing. This year this finish celebrates its Le Mans debut. In 2018, our cars sported a special design and yielded us a brilliant double victory at Le Mans. We hope to achieve a similar result this year.”
Just as it did last year, Porsche will tackle the 87th running of the world’s toughest endurance race with four works cars. The 2018 winners Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor take on the competition in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR. The #91 sister car will be driven by Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki. In the cockpit of the #93 car are Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, while Sven Müller will share driving duties in the #94 car with Mathieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen.
The FIA/WEC released the latest BoP for the GTE Pro and Am classes ahead of the Le Mans 2019 Test Day this coming weekend. While the GTE Pro Aston Martins (-7 kg), Corvettes (-7 kg) and Ferraris (-7 kg) all shed weight, the Porsche (+2 kg), BMW (+9 kg) and Ford (+12 kg) are all given additional ballast weight to carry. In the GTE Am class, the Aston Martins (-4 kg) and Ferraris (-9 kg) lose weight while the Ford (+20 kg) and Porsches (+10 kg) both gain significant weight. This, according to the FIA/WEC directive, is ‘until further notice’ which means that the BoP will be further tweaked to increase or decrease performance depending on who is showing too much pace, or perhaps not enough.
Although the LMP1 and GTE Pro classes are already settled as we approach the final round of the year, the LMP2 and GTE Am classes are still up for grabs. With the Le Mans 24 Hour race being what it is, two classes will be fighting it out for the honours, but there is so much more to play for in this world-class event. Victory at Le Mans carries with it such honour and prestige that no driver or team will be resting on their laurels. Be prepared for some hot action this summer – Porsche Road & Race will be there as from scrutineering on Sunday 9 June, right through until the close of play on Sunday 16 June.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Werkfoto & Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale