NEW PORSCHE 911 RSR FINISHES FOURTH ON ITS RACE DEBUT
- First round of 2013 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone
- Porsche 911 RSR narrowly misses out on a podium spot on its debut
- New Porsche factory team runs the cars – Porsche AG Team Manthey
After six hours of high speed racing at Silverstone this weekend (14 April) in the season-opener of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) for sports cars, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Romain Dumas (France) finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class in their new 470 hp 911 RSR entered by the factory team, Porsche AG Team Manthey.
At the wheel of the second factory 911 RSR, their factory driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) took the flag in sixth place.
The 911 RSR is powered by a 4.0-litre, 470 hp flat six engine, and is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports coupe. The car had a good qualifying result on the fast Northamptonshire circuit and started from the second row of the GTE-Pro grid. From the start of Sunday’s race, it could match the pace of its strongest opponents for some time.
Patrick Pilet was running third with the #91 car, before an unscheduled pit stop cost him more than two laps and pushed him down the field. Halfway through the race, Romain Dumas was also on track for a podium place in third with the #92 sister car. Later, his team-mate Richard Lietz even moved into second place – but at the end of the day it was not enough for a top three placing.
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, Porsche AG, commented afterwards: “That was the first race for the new car and the new team. The organisation of the squad worked well. Of course, there are areas where we have room for improvement, but it’s like a football team, we first have to get everything running smoothly.
Technically, everything worked on the 911 RSR apart from a one small thing which we will have fixed by the next race. As far as the performance is concerned, we still have room for improvement. Naturally, we also have to work on the car; it has a little too much oversteer. But all in all, I regard it as a positive weekend. It wouldn’t have been good if the car had experienced lots of problems, but that was not the case. We saw that the 911 RSR can turn consistently quick lap times over the race distance. Now if we do our homework, I think we’ll finish further up the field at the next races.”
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, said: “Both new 911 RSR cars reached the flag on their race debut, and there were no major technical problems. With a new team, of course, there is still some fine-tuning to be done, that’s normal. We are looking forward to the next race and hope that the car will make another step forward there.”
Quotes from the Porsche factory drivers Marc Lieb (#92): “We gained many important insights in the race. The car underlined its potential. Now we just need to work a little more on that.”
Richard Lietz (#92): “We were looking good in the fast corners, but we need to sort out the oversteer exiting the slow corners. But our engineers should be able to correct this by the next race. If so, the podium is within reach.”
Romain Dumas (#92): “An interesting race. We learned a lot. On the straights we are a little slower than our opponents which makes overtaking very difficult. Still, there are many positive things we can take from this race.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “That wasn’t our dream result. But we’ve learned a lot this weekend. The conditions were not the easiest, because we had no time to practice on the dry track for setting up the car.”
Patrick Pilet (#91): “It’s bad luck that we lost more than two laps, but the mechanics did a good job. In any case, we’ve found a good basis to work on and we are optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Timo Bernhard (#91): “Heading towards Le Mans, that was a very valuable race for us. Our performance wasn’t too bad. Without the front axle problem a podium place would have been within reach.”
In the GTE-Am class, Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian team-mates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti scored fifth place in last year’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (‘Type 997’) fielded by the customer team Felbermayr-Proton. Round two of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) takes place on 4 May in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
Race result GTE-Pro class
Turner/Mücke/Senna (GB/D/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 171 laps
Kobayashi/Vilander (J/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 170
Dalla Lana/Macowiecki/Lamy (CAN/F/P), Aston Martin Vantage, 170
Lieb/Lietz/Dumas (D/A/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 170
Bruni/Fisichella (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 170
Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard (D/F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 168
Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen (DEN/DEN/DEN), Aston Martin Vantage, 169 laps
Bornhauser/Canal/Rees (FRA/FRA/BRA), Chevrolet Corvette, 166
Potolicchio/Aguas/Peter (I/VEN/A), Ferrari F458 Italia, 165
Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter (D/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 165
Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 165
Narac/Bourret/Tandy (F/F/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 163
The World Endurance Championship
In the World Endurance Championship, sports prototypes and GT vehicles start in four classes: LMGTE-Pro, LMGTE-Am, LMP1 and LMP2. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately.