After Porsche’s success at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC now heads to Sao Paulo for this season’s first overseas race on 1st September. The main point of interest in the fiercely-contested GTE-Pro class are the two Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche AG Team Manthey squad. At the six-hour race at the Autodromo José Carlos Pace contested on the outskirts of the Brazilian metropolis, Porsche aims to defend its championship lead in all GT categories, which it commandeered after claiming class victories number 99 and 100 at the world’s most famous long distance race.
The Porsche drivers
Sharing driving duties at the wheel of the number 92 Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche works drivers and Le Mans winners Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria). Campaigning for victory in the number 91 vehicle are their factory pilot colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France). In the GTE-Am class, two customer teams compete with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from last season: IMSA Performance Matmut puts their faith in the Le Mans winners from France, Raymond Narac and Jean-Karl Vernay. Driving for Proton Competition are 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 title wins 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 styling honours the anniversary “50 years of the 911”.
The six-hour race at the Autodromo José Carlos Pace of Interlagos takes off on 1 September at midday local time (17.00 CEST). Eurosport broadcasts a 30-minute highlight programme on 3 September at 9.45 hrs CEST. The race can be viewed live on the internet website www.fiawec.com.
Comments before the race
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “Due to the long break following Le Mans, Sao Paulo is almost like a second start into the season. Drivers and teams get themselves optimally prepared again. The magnificent success in Le Mans has certainly boosted our team – the motivation to fight the LMGTE World Cup is now even greater. We’ll carry this momentum with us to Sao Paulo as well as to the remaining races of the season.”
Joerg Bergmeister (# 91): “I only know this circuit from what I’ve seen on TV. From the TV coverage of Formula 1 races it seems very interesting and demanding. I look forward to new challenges. In the break after Le Mans we went testing with the 911 RSR and uncovered several new things that we can hopefully implement successfully in Sao Paulo.”
Patrick Pilet (# 91): “Coming from an ultra-quick track like Le Mans to a somewhat slower one with lots of corners – that is a very interesting challenge. I’ve never driven at Sao Paulo, but I’ve heard a great deal of positive things about the circuit. I’m pleased that the season is finally taking off again after the summer break.”
Marc Lieb (# 92): “After the rigours of the 24 hour races in Le Mans and Spa, I recharged my batteries on holiday with my family. Now I’m ready to tackle Sao Paulo. I like the track. It flows beautifully and is great fun. Our goal is obviously to come back after the long break and continue from where we left off in Le Mans.”
Richard Lietz (# 92): “This will be an interesting race on a very beautiful circuit. It’s not summer time in Brazil, so it could be a little cooler there. That will undoubtedly help us with the 911 RSR. After our victory in Le Mans we’re all feeling motivated and pleased that the season is continuing at last. A podium result should 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.