ATLANTA, July 21, 2005 – Porsche has just completed initial track tests of its newly named LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) racecar. Called RS Spyder after the legendary 550/1500RS Spyder that first brought Porsche international motorsport recognition in the 1950s, the new racecar finished three days of intense high-speed driving over the demanding former Formula One grand prix circuit in Estoril, Portugal. When the tests were concluded, Porsche race engineers and factory race drivers expressed satisfaction with the performance of the car’s completely new 3.4-liter V8 engine, sequential six-speed transmission, and carbon fiber chassis.
On hand for these tests was Peter Schwarzenbauer, president of Porsche Cars North America, who commissioned Porsche to build the car for Porsche customer race teams in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
“It was a very exciting time for me to be a part of these first tests,” said an emotional Schwarzenbauer. “The RS Spyder is definitely state-of-the-art, incorporating the latest in Porsche’s technology. It looks great and sounds terrific. I can’t wait to watch it race.”
Sharing the driving duties during the tests were veteran German Porsche factory drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. The pair of two-time ALMS GT Champions will co-drive the new Porsche RS Spyder entered by Penske Motorsports in the final two races of the ALMS season, the Oct. 1st Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the Oct. 16th season finale at Laguna Seca. Over the past five years, Maassen and Luhr have driven Porsches to class victories in virtually every major sports car race in the world including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Most recently they were victorious in the N/GT Class of the 2004 FIA GT Championship.
Joining Maassen and Luhr for the 1000 mile, or 10 hour, Petit Le Mans event will be Emmanuel Collard. The talented Frenchman lists among his many international sports car racing victories a class win in the 2001 12 Hours of Sebring co-driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Maassen and Luhr. This first track test session of the Porsche RS Spyder saw a truly international motorsport gathering of participants from Germany, the United States, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, France, and England. They included engine, transmission, suspension, aerodynamic, and race engineers and technicians from Porsche AG, as well as race engineers and technicians from Penske Motorsports.
The Estoril test was the first event in a testing program in 2005 for the new Porsche RS Spyder that includes sessions at other major racetracks in Europe and America and concludes with the two races at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca. This program serves as a prelude to a two-car Penske Motorsports Porsche LMP2 effort that will contest the entire 2006 ALMS season.
Porsche is proud that its current associate sponsors - Michelin, ZF Sachs, Mobil 1, Hyatt, and mail2web - will provide products, and in some instances technical assistance, throughout the duration of this new LMP2 program.
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., and its subsidiary, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd., are the exclusive importers of Porsche sports cars and Cayenne® sport utility vehicles for the United States and Canada. A wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG, PCNA employs approximately 300 people who provide Porsche vehicles, parts, service, marketing and training for its 207 U.S. and Canadian dealers. They, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service.