Porsche hints on 2018 plans


Porsche is bullish on 2018 after coming off a 2017 race season that saw the marque achieve milestones in the centerpiece International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) race.

For 2018, Porsche announced the line-up for the two-car Porsche GT Team that competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Patrick Pilet, the 2015 GT Le Mans champion in the centerpiece WeatherTech Championship, returns in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR and will be rejoined by British racer Nick Tandy, with whom he co-drove for most of the 2015 season.

The No2 Porsche team – Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhaard – celebrates after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday, June 19. AFP PHOTO

The team’s No. 912 RSR will be shared by the returning Laurens Vanthoor, who drove the car last year as well, alongside Earl Bamber, who, like Tandy, is returning to GT competition after racing the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. Bamber is a two-time overall 24 Hours of Le Mans champion.

For the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup rounds also under IMSA, Frederic Makowiecki will join Pilet and Tandy in the No. 911 line-up. In the No. 912 car, Gianmaria Bruni will co-drive with Bamber and Vanthoor.

Porsche is also offering an upgrade package for its Porsche 911 GT3 R that includes, among other things, a new front lid/hood aimed at optimizing “thermal management” and side flicks for the front bumper to improve the car’s aerodynamic balance.

One team that will put these upgrades to the test in the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona will be Wright Motorsports, which announced its plans to contest the full 2018 season. The car will be co-driven by Christina Nielsen – going for her third consecutive GTD championship – and long-time Porsche factory driver Patrick Long, who won the 2017 World Challenge championship with Wright Motorsports.

“I am thrilled to continue my journey with Wright Motorsports for the 2018 season,” Long said. “We will have our work cut out for us starting the season with two of the biggest international endurance races in sports car racing, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring, but I am confident in the group’s ability.”

“Christina has been on an amazing run with her two titles over the last two years, and I want to blend that momentum with our 2017 title and aim for victories right out of the box. I’m very excited to get things started at Daytona,” he added.



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