Porsche gears up for Le Mans

3d ago

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Porsche returns to Le Mans this June to defend its title in the popular and highly competitive GTE-Pro class. Four works 911 RSR will line up at the Circuit de la Sarthe in mid-June, driven by a dynamic mix of twelve works drivers and Young Professionals.

Heading up the assault on the most important endurance race in the sports car calendar are current WEC world drivers’ champions Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen alongside IMSA champions Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). Other big names in the line-up include Richard Lietz and local heroes Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet. Endurance veterans Nick Tandy and Gianmaria Bruni add further experience to the team, providing a wealth of knowledge and guidance for Porsche’s ambitious rising stars. These include the talented French pairing of Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet as well as Australian former Porsche Junior Matt Campbell.

Porsche is looking to continuity in its bid for another victory at the 88th staging of Le Mans. The two cars currently competing in WEC will field the same crew for the third time in a row. Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki once again share the No. 91 RSR, while Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor drive No. 92. But the crews in the two IMSA cars have been reshuffled. Joining Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy in the No.93 RSR is Matt Campbell, who is enjoying his first season as a fully-fledged Porsche works driver. Meanwhile, the highly experienced Patrick Pilet joins forces with his young compatriots Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet to form a crowd-pleasing all-French trio in the No. 94 car.

The three Frenchmen already have a close working relationship. After winning the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 2007, Patrick Pilet was given the responsibility of looking after the national juniors over the following years. When Jaminet and Andlauer joined the series, Pilet took the promising pair under his wing. By helping his young compatriots learn the tracks and coaching them in racing tactics, the works driver brought the two youngsters on and formed a firm friendship in the process.

“He knew everything about the racetracks, the strategies and the car and instilled in us the special Porsche spirit,” recalls Andlauer. And with his mentoring came success. Jaminet, now a Porsche works driver, won Carrera Cup France in 2016, while Andlauer clinched the championship in 2017. One year later, at the age of just 18, he became the youngest class winner at Le Mans after clinching the GTE-Am category for Project 1.

Porsche heads to the 2020 Le Mans with every reason to be confident. In 2018, Estre, Christensen and Vanthoor won the GTE-Pro class after a flawless performance in the famous ‘Pink Pig’ RSR. The No. 91 sister car finished in second place, with Frédéric Makowiecki fending off his closest rival with some of the most spectacular racing Le Mans has ever seen. A year later, Bruni, Lietz and Makowiecki repeated their podium result, while the sister car came in right behind them in third.

“Fielding the four works cars again in the GTE-Pro category at Le Mans underlines how important this classic is for Porsche,” explained Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport. “With the championship squads from the FIA WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, we have a treasure trove of expertise at the start plus a good balance of experienced and young drivers. We aim to fight for victory, but we know from experience that such long-distance races are full of surprises.”

The race begins at 15:00 local time on Saturday 13 June and will be shown live on Eurosport.

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