From 2014, Porsche AG will be competing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with two LMP1 racing cars. The season highlight of this sportscar world championship will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The WEC 2014 comprises a total of eight races and signifies the start of longer-term involvement in this competition for Porsche. As part of the Porsche Press event “Meet the heroes of Le Mans” held in Hockenheim on October 7 – 8, Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of LMP1 at Porsche, introduced his senior management team: “Above all, long-distance racing is a team effort. The highly complex technical regulations for 2014 also require the use of the latest hybrid technology. When forming the entire team, we therefore draw on an efficient combination of long-standing Porsche employees and specialists from various international motor racing classes.”
As Technical Director LMP1, Alexander Hitzinger (41) has been responsible for the development of the Porsche LMP1 racing car since the end of 2011. The engineer has acquired a huge amount of experience across a range of high-class motor sport categories – including positions such as Head of F1 Development for English race engine manufacturer Cosworth and, most recently, Head of Advanced Technologies at Red Bull.
Andreas Seidl (37), Director of Race Operations LMP1 for the Weissach based works team, is putting together and structuring the newly created racing team in course of the ongoing test drives. The Bavarian Seidl was responsible for test and race operations at the BMW Sauber Formula 1 Team and was Head of Race Operations when BMW returned to the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) series. From 2014, Andreas Seidl will take on the role of team principal of the Porsche LMP1 works team.
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, was able to get an idea of the current status of both areas during a test drive visit: “Both the development of the LMP1 racing car as well as the creation of the racing team are progressing, but they also show that we are still faced with enormous challenges. In 2014, our first year in the Championship, our common target is to operate on a similar level as our highly experienced competitors.”
There is also news in terms of the drivers: Porsche will compete with two LMP1 racing cars and three drivers per car next year. Currently, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Neel Jani (Switzerland) are involved in the test drives. As of 2014, Australian Mark Webber is set to strengthen the LMP1 team. In addition, German Marc Lieb – the Porsche works driver from the GT programme – and young New Zealander Brendon Hartley will be able to demonstrate their ability in the remaining 2013 test drives. A final decision about the further engagement of these two candidates will be made at the end of the year.