Silverstone, the beginning of the 2014 season – the team principal has the start of the very first race with the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of him: “A small step for mankind, but a big step for Porsche – we have two LMP1s on the grid.” There’s a lot resting on Andreas Seidl’s shoulders and his dry sense of humour acts as a refreshing release valve. As team principal, Seidl, who was born on January 6, 1976 in Passau, Germany, is a decathlete of sorts. As an engineer with a perfectionist streak he is responsible for the technical performance of the cars; as race manager he’s responsible for the organisational aspects of a world championship race. To the squad of LMP1 drivers he is akin to a national coach; he heads up Business Relations as a manager and ambassador; and as chief of strategy he makes crucial decisions together with the race engineers. He loves the interdisciplinary challenge, the ultimate endurance test and the relentless feedback. Performance is laid bare for all to see, and this is particularly true when taking part in Le Mans. To battle for overall victory with a racing team that he has shaped from the very beginning is one of his life-long dreams.
Strategic planning on the basis of if-then scenarios is part of Seidl’s belief system. He does not believe in chance or bad luck. From schedules to pit stops – everything is planned to the finest detail. There is no area that escapes him; no detail is too small to be ignored if it could be relevant to Porsche’s performance.
Until 2009 Seidl was responsible for Formula One testing and racing at BMW Sauber. After BMW’s withdrawal from Formula One, he managed the company’s DTM comeback. He fully committed himself to this, which helped the company to win the title at its first attempt in 2012. After that, the Porsche LMP1 programme came as a huge but welcome new challenge for the father of two. Progress was slow-going at the beginning, but the world championship title and the Le Mans victory in 2015 and 2016 were spectacular successes. He would never claim these victories for himself. It’s always the team that counts.