For the challenges of the 2017 season, Porsche has reinforced and partially reorganised its driver squad. A total of 18 works drivers as well as two Young Professionals and three Juniors tackle the season – that’s more than ever before.
In the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the highlight, the Porsche LMP Team aims to defend the title with six works drivers. After Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Mark Webber stepped down from the LMP1 squad, three newcomers have joined the team. Two of them – Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy – are already members of the current Porsche works driver lineup and have a wealth of experience in the 919 Hybrid. These two joined forces with Formula 1 pilot Nico Hülkenberg in 2015 to tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the third LMP1 Porsche and promptly clinched a convincing victory. The third newcomer, André Lotterer, has climbed to the very top step of the Le Mans podium three times. In 2012 he took home the World Endurance Championship title as a works driver for Audi.
Sharing driving duties in the Porsche 919 Hybrid with the starting number 1 is the reigning WEC champion Neel Jani as well as André Lotterer and Nick Tandy. In the number 2 vehicle are Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
New GT works drivers
With Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy switching to the LMP1 team and the factory’s return with the 911 RSR to the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC, new drivers were needed in the GT squad. With Dirk Werner, an experienced Porsche pilot returns to the wheel of the nine-eleven. Also new on board is Laurens Vanthoor, the 2016 winner of FIA GT World Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Sven Müller has climbed the ladder from Porsche Junior to factory pilot. Porsche spent three years grooming him as a professional race driver and in 2016 he secured the titles in both the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and the international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
For the return of the factory-run Porsche GT Team in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC (GTE-Pro class), works drivers Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki team up in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre compete in the #912 car. Joining the squad as the third drivers for the Le Mans 24-hour campaign are Patrick Pilet (France/91) and Dirk Werner (Germany/92). Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner tackle the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the USA and Canada in the cockpit of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team, with Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor sharing the #912 car. Frédéric Makowiecki (911) and Richard Lietz (912) provide reinforcement as the third driver for the North American Endurance Cup long-distance classics in Daytona and Sebring as well as Petit Le Mans.
Jörg Bergmeister, Wolf Henzler, Patrick Long and Romain Dumas also belong to the circle of GT factory pilots. They drive for various Porsche customer teams in top-level international racing series such as the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC, the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge. At the Le Mans 24 Hours, Patrick Pilet (France/91) and Dirk Werner (Germany/92) will join the team. Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) joined the Porsche works driver squad on July 1, 2017. He contests the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Laurens Vanthoor.
Reorganisation of youth development programme
Porsche has added another module to its successful junior programme for the 2017 season: After their impressive performances in the one-make series, Italian Matteo Cairoli and the Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet will continue to receive support and funding as “Young Professionals” in their racing campaigns for customer teams. Three young pilots are sponsored as Porsche Juniors for 2017: Dennis Olsen from Norway and the Australian Matt Campbell contest the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. GT rookie Thomas Preining from Austria takes on the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.