FIA World Endurance Championship, round 1 at Silverstone/Great Britain, Race report
Perfect debut: One-two for the new Porsche 911 RSR at Silverstone
Stuttgart. The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) has secured a double victory at its race debut. At the season-opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone (Great Britain), the Italian Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz from Austria crossed the finish line first in the No. 91 car in front of 49,600 spectators. The reigning world champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) claimed second place in the ca. 515 hp No. 92 sister car. A perfect tactic from the world champion team, strong driving performances, swift pit stops, and a reliable and fast car in both dry and the wet conditions were the key factors for this double win.
After a mediocre qualifying performance, the two Porsche 911 RSR run by the factory squad took up the four-hour race from positions four and six on the grid. In sunny conditions in the early phase, the two new GTE racers from Weissach initially made up very little ground. A heavy shower after around 90 minutes of racing changed the situation significantly. In contrast to the rivals, the Porsche GT Team opted for rain tyres – an ideal choice. The drivers made perfect use of the improved tyre grip on the wet track and managed to pull well clear of the field in the new 911 RSR, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS*. This impressive margin, however, disappeared when the safety car was deployed after two hours of racing. In the remaining 120 minutes, the drivers staved off attacks from the competition on a drying track and crossed the finish line in first and second place, separated by 3.802 seconds.
In the GTE-Am class, the best-placed Porsche 911 RSR (last year’s model) achieved fourth place. Right up until the final pit stop, the all-British driver line-up of Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Andrew Watson were on course for a podium result in the No. 86 vehicle fielded by Gulf Racing. Fifth place went to the No. 77 car run by Dempsey-Proton Racing with Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia), Christian Ried (Germany) and Riccardo Pera (Italy). The sister car with the starting number 88, in which Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining (Austria) had his first outing, finished on eleventh. The two Porsche 911 RSR campaigned by Project 1 yielded positions six (No. 56) and ten (No. 57).
After the double victory at the opening round of the 2019/2020 season, Porsche leads all categories of the GTE-Pro class. Next up on the calendar is the race in Fuji (Japan) on 6 October.
Comments on the race
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “At its race premiere, the new Porsche 911 RSR clearly exceeded our expectations. Congratulations to the drivers and the team for a perfect performance at Silverstone. This great success was only possible because the entire Porsche Motorsport team did such excellent work. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this project and made the new car into a winner.”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “What a fantastic weekend. Our customer team Proton Racing won the ELMS on Saturday, and a day later we achieve a one-two with the new Porsche 911 RSR in the world championship – it doesn’t get better than that. A huge thank you to our team at the racetrack and to everyone at the Weissach Motorsport Centre. The hard work of the last few months has paid off.”
Jeromy Moore (Technical Project Manager Porsche 911 RSR): “A double victory at the first race – the debut of a racing car can’t get better than that. I think our new Porsche 911 RSR has clearly underlined its qualities right off the bat. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, especially the final result. I’m sure that all the development engineers in my team who followed the race from Germany felt the same way.”
Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “It’s incredible. We travelled to Silverstone with the goal of achieving a solid result at the maiden race of the new Porsche 911 RSR. And we picked up exactly where we left off last season. Perfect teamwork, strong performances in the cockpit and a fast racing car – these factors enabled us to bring home this double victory. A dream has come true for us.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “Our team opted for the ideal tactic. I was in first place after our pit stop and had a clear run. This enabled me to build a decisive lead, which we maintained to the flag. A debut of a new racing car can’t be better. I’m proud to be part of this incredible team.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “We spent a year developing the new car and couldn’t wait for the first race outing. To promptly win the race is perfect. We made this achievement possible through perfect tactics. There is still a lot to learn with our new Porsche 911 RSR. At the next round we want to perform even stronger in the qualifying.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “It was a great race with many duels and plenty of action on the track. That was great fun. It’s a pity for us that we narrowly missed out on winning, but for Porsche it was a perfect start to the new season.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “Our car was fast over the entire race. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to win. Perhaps we lost crucial time at the last pit stop. We’ll now have to take a close look at that.”
1. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 115 laps
2. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 3.802 seconds
3. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage, + 6.286 seconds
4. Calado/Pier Guidi (GB/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 16.054 seconds
5. Thiim/Sörensen (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 114 laps
1. Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen (F/F/DK), Ferrari 488 GTE, 114 laps
2. Dalla Lana/Turner/Gunn (CDN/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 113 laps
3. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cozzolino (J/I/J), Ferrari 488 GTE, 113 laps
4. Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
5. Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
6. Perfetti/Kolkmann/Cairoli (N/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
10. Keating/Frage/Bleekemolen (USA/BR/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
11. Preining/Giraudi/Sanchez (A/I/MEX), Porsche 911 RSR, 111 laps