• Holiday Gift. Porsche Cars North America Offers Present for Motorsport Fans. • We’re Back. Porsche Returns to Prototype-Level North American Motorsport. • The Wright Stuff. Wright Motorsports Reveals 2021 IMSA Program.
Holiday Gift. Porsche Cars North America Offers Present for Motorsport Fans.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. As it comes to a close and thoughts turn to holiday celebrations and quiet moments of reflection, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) wishes to show our gratitude to motorsport fans the world-over. As a special holiday gift, the popular “Porsche GT Team Poster Series” is now available for immediate download with images of each rendering produced since the concept’s 2018 introduction. Digital copies are available for download at:
PCNA first commissioned a poster for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Petit Le Mans finale at the at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The popularity proved so high that unique event posters were created for every race thereafter beginning with the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona. PCNA graphic designer Dustin Gilleland produced each piece in-house until the special “Thank You” livery poster crafted by noted artist Paul Borchers for the 2020 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in November.
As these posters’ primary purpose was for driver autograph sessions at the track as well as dealer events, the production of physical copies was stopped after the Covid-19 lockdown. However, a poster for each race was created to continue the fan-focused initiative through the remainder of the Porsche GT Team’s final year in the GTLM class with the Porsche 911 RSR race car. Digital copies of each 2020 poster were made available for download and debuted each week on the Porsche Newsroom but past posters could not be viewed or downloaded. That has been remedied, offering motorsport fans, collectors as well as automotive and Porsche brand enthusiasts a complete archive of the Porsche tradition.
Scott Bartlett, Manager, Motorsports & Driving Events, Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
“We first created a poster to accompany the Mobil 1 retro livery at Petit Le Mans in 2018 not realizing just how much the fans would enjoy it. We decided to continue with a unique poster for every race beginning in 2019. By the end of the year, we were seeing pictures of fans’ offices, workshops, basements covered in the race posters. Fans were trying to track down or trade for a race poster they missed. With the lockdown, we weren’t able to hand them out in person, but we were able to reach more fans by sharing them digitally with the help from our PR team through the Porsche Newsroom. It has been exciting to see just how passionate people are and, with a very grateful heart, this is an opportunity to present every poster as a holiday gift from Porsche.”
We’re Back. Porsche Returns to Prototype-Level North American Motorsport.
The Executive Board at Porsche AG has approved the development of a Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) racing prototype. After careful evaluation, Porsche Motorsport received the direction to build a vehicle based on future regulations.
Beginning in 2023, the LMDh cars will form a new top class in the North American IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Both championships are significant for the German sports car manufacturer and its importer in the United States, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA). Porsche enthusiastically welcomed the introduction of the new class for hybrid prototypes when it was jointly announced by the series organizers at Daytona International Speedway in January 2020. The racing cars, which tip the scales at approximately 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kilograms), are powered by a hybrid powertrain with an anticipated output of 680 hp (500 kW).
For the first time in more than 20 years, Porsche will be fighting for overall victories with identical vehicles at endurance races around the world. Moreover, the new LMDh category focuses on high cost-efficiency. The cars are based on an upgraded LMP2 class chassis, with the specifications for the hybrid system, including the electronic controls, standardized across all marques. Chassis from four different race car manufacturers are available. Each brand is free to select the concept for the combustion engine and the body design within the framework of the regulations.
High-performance hybrid powertrains have enjoyed a long and successful tradition at Porsche Motorsport. In 2010 and 2011, the innovative Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid set new benchmarks at races held on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. At that time, there was no other comparable vehicle with a hybrid system.
Between 2014 and 2017, Porsche underlined its expertise in the field of highly efficient, high-performance hybrid powertrains with the 919 Hybrid. In the FIA WEC, the LMP1 class prototype won three times in a row at the Le Mans 24-hour classic. Porsche also clinched the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship titles three times straight. The return to IMSA competition marks the first time since 2010 that Porsche has competed in the top ranks of North America prototype racing when the last Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 class thoroughbred ran in the IMSA-sanctioned American Le Mans Series.
Oliver Blume, CEO at Porsche AG.
“The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics – without breaking the bank. The project
is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand’s DNA.”
Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG.
“In the medium term, Porsche focuses on three different drive concepts: fully electric vehicles, efficient plug-in hybrids and emotional combustion engines. We want to represent this trilogy in both the development of our cutting-edge road cars and in motorsport. We use the all-electric drive to contest the FIA Formula E as part of our works commitment, and the highly efficient and emotional combustion unit in GT racing. Now, the LMDh class closes the gap for us. There, powerful hybrid drives – like the ones that are mounted in many of our brand’s models – go up against each other. If the regulations eventually allowed the use of synthetic fuels, then that would be an even greater incentive for me in terms of sustainability.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“I’d like to thank our board of directors for the immense confidence they have in the motorsport strategy we’ve developed. We hold a record with our 19 outright wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and we’ve climbed to the top podium step many times at major races in the USA. We can continue this tradition with an LMDh vehicle while at the same time keeping costs reasonable. There has been huge interest from other manufacturers. I hope we can pick up where we left off with the famous clashes against many other marques in the eighties and nineties. That would give the entire motor racing scene a huge boost.”
Images available in the Media Gallery drop down under Motorsports at:
The Wright Stuff. Wright Motorsports Reveals 2021 IMSA Program.
Following a successful season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Wright Motorsports will return to the professional sports car racing series in 2021 with an almost identical program. Led by John Wright, the operation will see full-season drivers Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) return to pilot the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Jan Heylen (a Belgian living in Florida), will again stand in as the endurance addition while Klaus Bachler (Germany) will join the team for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Consistency was indeed the name of the game for Wright Motorsports in 2020. The team finished just two points behind the class champions, with four podiums and eight top-five finishes. Their steady season-long progression culminated with victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, clinching the team’s first endurance win in its 20-year history. Although the victory itself was an impressive feat, it was not until after the race that the drivers revealed that the No. 16 Porsche suffered a broken left-rear shock for much of the race, likely failing in one of the first two stints. The race-winning result was not only a testament to the team for pressing on, racing on the bumpiest circuit on the calendar, but also showcased the reliability and competitive performance of the Porsche 911 GT3 R, out-performing a class filled with other manufacturers.
The momentum from the season-finale victory will carry over to the new year, beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 30 – 31.
John Wright, Principal, Wright Motorsports.
“We’re thrilled to be back for another year with the same group we had for 2020. Consistency was a big part of our success last year, and we’re starting off 2021 on the right foot by continuing with our proven formula. From the drivers, to the crew and sponsors, we really created a great organization, and I’m proud to have Wright Motorsports back for another year with all these people and partners.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I revel in the aspect of continuity. Having the band back together helps a lot with a view of keeping the momentum of where we left off in 2020. I expect the competition to only ramp up, so the work starts now and through the green dropping for the Rolex 24 in just over a month from now. I am grateful to have our partners back on board. I am looking forward to this!”
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m really excited to be back with the same program that had a lot of success in the first year, and I’m looking to building on that success. For me personally, I’m really focused on continuing to improve as a driver and as a teammate. We expect to continue our 2020 success. The 2021 season will be even more competitive, with even more cars, great drivers, and strong teams to compete against. We feel we’re the best prepared team going into the new season, and we’re going to capitalize on our momentum from our Sebring victory to battle for that top step at Daytona.
Jan Heylen, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It’s exciting to start the new season with the good momentum from last year! A strong second half of the season, ending with a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, puts us in a good place to kick off 2021 at Daytona. It’s really special to go into another season with a team I call family, with Patrick, my best friend of 20 years, and Ryan who has welcomed me and has given me a home in his organization. I believe we have all the components to have a successful year and fight for the championship like we did last year. Porsche and PMNA played a key role in all the success we had in 2020 and I’m excited to be working with them again and their continued support going into the new season.”
Klaus Bachler, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“In 2021 I will again have the honor of competing with John Wright and his amazing team for the Rolex 24. Racing in Daytona is always a very special experience. I can‘t wait to push the car to its limits on this awesome track. I am looking forward to work together with Ryan, Pat and Jan.”
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- Image courtesy of Porsche Cars North America