Porsche officially revealed their LMP1 challenger and its complete driver lineup Saturday at its annual “Night of Champions” party held in Weissach, Germany.
The all-new 919 Hybrid will compete in the top ranks of the World Endurance Championship beginning in 2014. Porsche adds Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb to an already impressive lineup consisting of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber.
“We are very proud of our strong international driver lineup,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG. ”Three of the six drivers come from our own Porsche driver squad, two were even Porsche juniors. This is something we are particularly proud of.
“The vehicle name 919 hybrid follows on from the tradition of the Le Mans-winning 917, but it is also with a view to the 918 Spyder, and acknowledges the company’s embarkation into the hybrid future.”
Porsche’s Head of LMP1 Fritz Enzinger admits the team wanted experienced drivers with outright speed, however, above all, they wanted “team players” because of the importance of communication and teamwork at the top level of endurance racing.
Both Lieb and Hartley have proven themselves behind the wheel at some of the world’s toughest tracks.
Lieb, a longtime Porsche GT factory driver, rocketed into stardom with his Porsche Junior driver selection win in 2000. He went on to win countless races, including five overall victories at 24 hour races – four times on the Nurburgring and once at Spa.
“I have been fortunate enough to celebrate victories with Porsche all over the world,” said Lieb, “even in the GT class at Le Mans. People there always asked when we would return to the LMP1 class. Since the project was given the go-ahead, I only wanted one thing: to be involved.
“Le Mans and Porsche, I can’t even begin to describe how excited this makes me feel.”
Hartley, who gave up his role as a Formula One test driver to pursue a sports car ride, said he was “incredibly proud that Porsche has chosen me.”
“I was deeply impressed at my first outing in Le Mans. But to compete there in the LMP1 for an iconic company like Porsche is another dimension completely.”
In addition to its new LMP1 project, Porsche Motorsport sends two GT works teams to compete on race tracks around the world. Porsche AG Team Manthey again fields two Porsche 911 RSR in the World Endurance Championship, as well as at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Also, Porsche North America will contest the new Tudor United Sportscar Championship with CORE autosport, making Porsche’s 2014 season the most extensive motorsport program ever.