At the season-opening round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on 12 May in Barcelona, motorsports fans have two highlights to look forward to – the race debut of the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and the guest appearance of nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb. The Frenchman drives the Porsche AG-run VIP car in the legendary Martini Racing livery. Martini is the new partner for Porsche Motorsport’s VIP appearances. With the revival of this legendary partnership, the two brands write the next chapter of their successful motorsport history together.
“Competing in the world’s best makes cup is a very special challenge for me,” says Sébastien Loeb, who with 78 World Rally Championship victories is arguably the most successful motor racing sportsman of today. “It certainly won’t be easy to compete against such fast and experienced Supercup pilots, but I love such challenges.”
Indeed, the competition on the Circuit de Catalunya, where the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads into its 21st season, has rarely been tougher. 26 drivers from 13 countries make up the strong field in the flagship series of the 20 Porsche one-make championships. Amongst them are seasoned specialists like Britain’s Sean Edwards and Alain Menu from Switzerland, two-time British Touring Car champion and last year’s runner-up in the World Touring Car Championship. From round two of the season in Monaco, double Supercup winner Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) is back again. Their challengers are ambitious, young drivers who regard the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as the ideal platform from which to launch a successful career in touring car or GT racing. Three of these pilots receive support from Porsche: Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) take up their second season as Porsche Juniors. After good performances in last season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, they have moved up the ladder. Jean-Karl Vernay (France) secured backing from Porsche Motorsport for a Supercup season after winning the International Cup Scholarship Programme. He has also gained experience at the wheel of a 911 and won the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup France.
For their first Supercup season, the three youngsters have ambitious plans: “The fact that Porsche is giving me this opportunity to contest the Supercup shows a great deal of trust. I will work hard to meet expectations,” says Michael Christensen. As Klaus Bachler says, it is “a dream come true. I learned so much in the Carrera Cup and now I want to use what I’ve learned in the Supercup.” Jean-Karl Vernay is mostly looking forward to experiencing the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the race track. “I can hardly wait to go racing with the new car.”
The 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the motorsport version of the new 911 GT3 (type 991) and is based on the seventh generation of the 911. This season, the near-standard race car is fielded by eleven teams from eight countries exclusively in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which has been a regular fixture on the worldwide motorsport calendar as support to the Formula 1 races since 1993. Eight events with a total of nine races make up the 2013 calendar.
“Once again we have a packed grid and we are thrilled that there are also many rookies lining up against experienced Supercup regulars,” says Jonas Krauss, Head of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. “We are expecting a very tight competition and that means some exciting and tough races. It speaks volumes for the attractiveness of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup when world stars like Sébastien Loeb choose to make a guest appearance.”
The race in Barcelona will be televised live by TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.45 hours) and Sky (11.40 hrs) on 12 May. Moreover, Eurosport broadcasts highlights of the race on Sunday at 18.15 hrs in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin” programme.
12.05. Grand Prix of Spain, Barcelona
26.05. Grand Prix of Monaco, Monte Carlo
30.06. Grand Prix of Great Britain, Silverstone
07.07. Grand Prix of Germany, Nürburgring
28.07. Grand Prix of Hungary, Budapest
25.08. Grand Prix of Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps
08.09. Grand Prix of Italy, Monza
03.11. Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi