Porsche aims to contest the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hour race with four works cars in the GTE Pro class, as the manufacturer commits to focus on GT sport this season. In addition to the four works cars, there will be a further six 911s running in the GTE Am class, making a total of ten GT Porsches on the starting grid.
Announced at the ‘Night of Champions’ motorsport gala in Weissach on 10 December 2017, and in the wake of the company’s withdrawal from the LMP1 class, Porsche committed to bolster its participation in the GT ranks in 2018. Several of the drivers in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race who will be behind the wheel of a 911 RSR, are ex-LMP1 drivers, whose experience in this great race will have been significantly enriched by driving prototypes. These drivers include Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Nick Tandy, all four of whom are outright Le Mans winners in the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
The four 911 RSR cars for the Le Mans 24 Hours will be numbered 91-92-93-94, and will be driven in the GTE Pro class by the following drivers:
|#91||Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki|
|#92||Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor|
|#93||Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber|
|#94||Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Sven Müller|
Through the remainder of the 2018/2019 WEC Superseason, just the #91 and #92 cars will compete where the #91 car will be driven by Bruni/Lietz and the #92 car by Christensen/Estre.
In the GTE Am class, there will be the following six cars entered:
Racing under the Dempsey-Proton Racing banner will be the #77 Porsche 911 RSR with Matteo Cairoli. In the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR, Matt Campbell is the only named driver in this car to date. A third car is to be fielded by Proton Competition, the #99 Porsche 911 RSR, which is to be driven by stalwart Patrick Long. It goes without saying that lead driver for the Dempsey-Proton team, Christian Ried, will be in one of the cars (probably #77) especially as he was awarded the Porsche Cup in December 2017, by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche.
As more news comes to light about those teams who have yet to announce their full line up of drivers, and as we see images of the new liveries, we will bring these to you on Porsche Road & Race.
TEAM PROJECT 1
Be cool. Be fast. Be first – the catchy slogan of the German Project 1 team from Lohne in Lower Saxony. The #56 TEAM PROJECT 1 Porsche 911 RSR, will be driven by Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti. These three drivers between them have an impressive 38 years behind the wheel of a 911.
The Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister has been active in motorsport since 1987 and knows the Porsche 911 RSR better than most, and in the USA, he has numerous podiums in the RSR. “I look forward to working with the team who are highly motivated, and I am pleased to be able to contribute my knowledge to the project,” said Bergmeister.
Californian Patrick Lindsey has been driving for Park Place Motorsports, and has been competing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship since 2013. In addition to the 911 GT3 Cup and a 911 GT America, he has also driven the 911 GT3 R. “2018 is a dream come true for me to drive the RSR for the first time. I already know my team-mate Jörg Bergmeister very well as we have been racing together in the USA since 2016. Jörg will help me with my new challenge,” said Lindsey.
Perfetti is also a Porsche specialist and has been competing in European racing since 2010. He was also successful in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup. Starting in the Porsche 911 RSR poses a new challenge for Perfetti, as he explains, “Long-distance racing has its own laws. We have to work hard to get to know the car and assert ourselves.”
In the coming weeks, the Test 1 team will be testing extensively in preparation for the WEC Prologue on 6 April. The first race of the 2018/2019 Superseason takes place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on 5 May.
EBimotors the first official Porsche Motorsport company in Italy, was founded in 1998 by the energetic Enrico Borghi. Participation in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 1998/99, in the FIA GT Championship from 2005 to 2007, and in the Carrera Cup Italia since 2007, which culminated in five consecutive victories from 2008 to 2012, makes up the 20-year heritage of this company located in Cermenate, just to the north of Milan.
“2018 could have not started better,” stated Enrico Borghi. “The opportunity for me and my team to be part of the most important race in the world is a great honour. I have represented Porsche since the beginning of my career and being in Le Mans as the only Italian team, is a dream come true.”
The #80 Porsche RSR will be driven by Fabio Babini, the team’s only named driver thus far. “I am very happy to be back at Le Mans for the eighth time,” said Fabio Babini. “Being able to represent Porsche at Le Mans is a privilege, and it would be amazing to repeat the victory of 2001 with the same brand. The team is a strong reality and is looking to obtain even more successes in the upcoming season.”
Gulf Racing will once again run their familiar blue/orange #86 Porsche 911 RSR. The team principle Mike Wainwright will be the team’s bronze driver, but the other drivers have not as yet been named.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale & John Mountney, Porsche, TEAM PROJECT 1