The first two drivers to contest the top class of the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans 24 hour race are confirmed. Le Mans overall winners Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) will take the wheel of the new LMP1 vehicle from Weissach in the 2014 season. Already this year the two Porsche works drivers Bernhard and Dumas will commence testing the new Le Mans racer.
“Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas are regarded as some of the fastest and most experienced sports car pilots in the world. I’m very pleased that we have these two men contesting the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours for us from 2014”, says Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board – Research and Development at Porsche AG. “I particularly appreciate about the two is their competence as test drivers. For this reason the pair is already closely integrated in the development programme of our new car and will embark on an intensive test schedule from the middle of this year”, says Fritz Enzinger, director LMP1-project.
Timo Bernhard comes from Porsche’s own junior development programme. In 1999, Porsche recognised the talent of the then 18-year-old and coached him in the Porsche Junior Team to become a professional race driver. In 2002, Bernhard was signed on as a works driver and since then has notched up victories and championship titles all over the world. In 2010 he was voted “Race Driver of the Year” by Germany’s automobile club ADAC for his outstanding achievements. Bernhard is the only race driver to have clinched overall victory at all four of the most famous sports car classics. He won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2010, in 2003 the Daytona 24 Hours, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2004, and a total of five times at the 24 hour race on the Nürburgring – another record.
Romain Dumas joined the circle of Porsche factory drivers in 2004. Previously he attracted attention in the Formula 3, Formula 3000, at international GT races as well as the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. He is one of the most experienced pilots at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All together, Dumas has contested his favourite race at La Sarthe twelve times. With Timo Bernhard, he scored overall victory there in 2010 at the wheel of an Audi. Together, the pair also celebrated huge successes in the U.S. in the RS Spyder sports prototype. In 2007 and 2008, the two Porsche works drivers convincingly clinched the title in the American Le Mans Series. Bernhard shared the cockpit with Dumas at four of his five wins at the Nürburgring 24 hour race. Moreover, in 2010 Dumas celebrated overall victory in Spa at the wheel of a Porsche 911.