Hartley, Lieb named to Porsche’s WEC program

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Porsche has announced that former GRAND-AM Rolex Series driver Brendon Hartley (pictured) and German competitor Marc Lieb will complete the manufacturer’s driver stable for the 2014 World Endurance Championship – a stable that also includes ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Neel Jani.

Hartley competed for Starworks Motorsport this past season in the Rolex Series and earned an overall win at Road America for the team with co-driver Scott Mayer. In addition, Hartley has had stints as a F1 test driver for both Red Bull and Mercedes.

“I’m incredibly proud that Porsche has chosen me,” said Hartley about his appointment with Porsche. “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.”

Lieb, on the other hand, has been a longtime factory driver for Porsche and is a three-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; his most recent Le Mans win came this year driving a Team Manthey Porsche in the GTE-Pro class alongside Dumas and Richard Lietz.

“I have been fortunate enough to celebrate victories with Porsche all over the world, even in the GT class at Le Mans,” said Lieb. “People there always asked when we would return to the LMP1 class.

“Since the [LMP1] 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.”

Now, both of them will be suiting up for Porsche’s two-car program with their new LMP1 entry, the 919 Hybrid.

“We had a substantial number of applicants from all classes for the two 919 hybrids,” Porsche LMP1 head Fritz Enzinger said. “We were looking for experience, sheer speed, technical understanding, and we wanted team players because this is more important in endurance racing than in any discipline.”

The 919 Hybrid recently wound down its 2013 testing in Portugal, a session that was noteworthy for having Webber take his first laps in the car after getting permission from his former F1 team, Red Bull; the team still has him under contract until the start of 2014.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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