Yesterday the Le Mans organizer, the Paris-based Autbile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), announced the list of competitors selected to participate in the 82nd edition of the classic long-distance race on June 14 and 15, 2014. Porsche has registered its new works team for the two 919 Hybrid cars as "Porsche Team" in the top category of Le Mans prototypes (LMP1), and they will carry the numbers 14 and 20 respectively. In addition to this, two 911 RSR entries will run under the banner "Porsche Team Manthey", are returning to La Sarthe to defend their GTE Pro title. Last year's one-two class finishers will start this year with numbers 91 and 92.
Bernhard and Dumas to split forces
Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (car number 14) and Timo Bernhard (car number 20) are each assigned to a different 919 Hybrid. The WEC comprises eight races, with the jewel in the crown being the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As a result, each of the 919 Hybrids will have a Le Mans overall winner: the Frenchman (Dumas) and the German (Bernhard) achieved this success teamed together driving an Audi R15 TDI Plus in 2010. The other four LMP1 Porsche works drivers; Brendon Hartley, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb, and Mark Webber, will take turns at the wheel. The final car lineups have not yet been determined.
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal -
"It was an obvious choice to split these two pilots to the two cars because of their special long-distance and Le Mans experience. The confirmation of our entry is another milestone on our road to Le Mans. We are all excited to meet our competitors for the first time at the official test at Paul Ricard at the end of March and of course at the WEC season kick-off at Silverstone in April.”
The 919 Hybrid was developed to meet the new efficiency regulations for the top category of Le Mans prototypes. Porsche's LMP challenger utilizes a highly complex hybrid drive system comprising a small-capacity supercharged V4 combustion engine, an electric motor driving the front wheels and two energy recovery systems.
For the entirety of the 2014 World Endurance Championship, Porsche will compete for overall honors against a pair of new-rules Audi R18 e-tron quattro, and a pair of Toyota TS040. A third Audi will be joining the battle for the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Porsche aims for GTE Pro 1-2 finish repeat
In the GTE Pro category, Porsche is again putting forward the entry of Porsche Team Manthey with two 911 RSR cars against the works teams of Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and SRT Viper. Many details of the GT sports car from Weissach were revamped for the last race in the 2013 season. The modified aerodynamics of the front end, a wider rear wing and adapted chassis kinematics ensure enhanced balance and improved control at its handling limits.
"In the 2013 season, the 911 RSR gave impressive proof of its long-distance capabilities by its one-two finish at Le Mans," said Head of Porsche Motorsport Hartmut Kristen. "At the 24 hour race in Daytona, we celebrated another win in a classic long-distance race with the revised version of the 911 RSR – this is certainly a good omen for Le Mans 2014."
Porsche has high hopes for GTE Am
In addition to the four Factory backed cars, the ACO also announced the privateer Porsche teams that have been invited to compete at the Le Mans 24 in 2014 in the GTE Am category.
Like 2013, there will be some highly competitive Porsche entries in the GTE Amateur category, including those from Imsa Performance Matmut, Prospeed Competition, Proton Competition, and Dempsey Racing-Proton. Imsa Performance will be running with the number 67 on an older 997 GT3 RSR, Prospeed are also using a 997 generation car with the number 75. The #77 Dempsey-Proton car is a brand new 991 911 RSR, and a sister car to that one, numbered 88, will be run under the Proton banner alone.
In addition to these four cars, another two 997 generation RSRs are on the reserve list, with the #76 Imsa Performance Matmut car, and the #79 Prospeed Competition car represented.
At the core of Porsche's success is a proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.
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