Two Porsche 911 RSR will line up to contest round six of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC at the Fuji International Speedway on 20 October. Both are fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey in the fiercely-contested GTE-Pro class. One 911 is manned by the Porsche works drivers and Le Mans winners, Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), who also won last year’s six-hour race at the foot of Mount Fuji.
The Porsche drivers
Taking up the race in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France). Sharing driving duties in the number 92 car are Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, who currently sit second in the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers, just three points shy of the leaders. In the GTE-Am class, two customer teams tackle the race with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from last year: At the wheel of the IMSA Performance Matmut entry are the French Le Mans winners Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl Vernay and Christophe Bourret. Driving for Proton Competition is team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda.
The Porsche 911 RSR
The 470 hp Porsche 911 RSR is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. As the successor to the winning 911 GT3 RSR, with which Porsche customers scored many victories and titles since 2004, it is characterised by its consequent lightweight design and sophisticated aerodynamics. The look is dominated by the flared fenders and the deep cooling air intake at the front. The exceptional vehicle livery honours the anniversary “50 years of the 911”.
The six-hour race on the Fuji International Speedway starts on 20 October at 11.00 hours local time (04.00 CEST). Eurosport International broadcasts from 08.30 to 10.00 hours live followed by a 30-minute highlight programme on 22 October at 22.30 hours. Viewers can follow the race live on the internet under www.fiawec.com.
Comments before the race
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The fight for the WEC title is still open. Weather will play a decisive role at Fuji. It can throw a few surprises at this time of the year. And of course we are hoping that our vehicles are spared the disruptions that hampered our efforts at the last two races. We are heading to Japan feeling cautiously optimistic.”
Joerg Bergmeister (# 91): “I’m looking forward to Japan. In the past, Porsche has pretty much always done well on the Fuji International Speedway.”
Patrick Pilet (# 91): “I know this track well from my Formula 3 days and from a Super GT test there. It’s an interesting circuit, but it’s not easy to drive. Over the last few races we’ve made steady progress with our 911 RSR. So I’m heading to Fuji feeling quite confident.”
Marc Lieb (# 92): “We won the Fuji round last year. The track seems to suit the 911. We’ll be trying everything possible to do better than recently in Austin. If we manage this then I’m sure we’ll be right up there.”
Richard Lietz (# 92): “Last year we were really impressed by the hospitality of the Japanese. And then came our win. So I’m particularly looking forward to Fuji. A podium should definitely be possible.”
The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC
In the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC, 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.