Photo: Tony DiZinno

Porsche has another busy sports car year ahead; here’s their lineups

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This weekend in Weissach, Germany, Porsche held its annual Night of Champions event. It was a phenomenal evening with a mix of celebrations, announcements, reflections and 2016 program confirmations.

With 16 works drivers split between Porsche’s LMP1 and GT programs, it might be easy to lose track of who is running where.

Porsche and sister brand Audi have scaled back their 24 Hours of Le Mans programs, with only two LMP1 cars apiece rather than three as both had this year.

Here’s a breakdown of who is set where, and for what events, for 2016 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as it stands following the Night of Champions event:

FIA World Endurance Championship


1 – Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Timo Bernhard/Mark Webber/Brendon Hartley
2 – Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb


Dempsey Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Richard Lietz/Michael Christensen, + Wolf Henzler (LM24 only)

Subject to ACO Approval for 24 Hours of Le Mans only:

Porsche Team Manthey – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy/Kevin Estre
Porsche Team Manthey – Porsche 911 RSR – Fred Makowiecki/Earl Bamber/Joerg Bergmeister

At the moment, Patrick Long is the only Porsche works GT driver not placed with a team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, although Long co-drove with Dempsey Proton Racing in the GTE-Am class in 2015.

Proton is also expected to have at least one and potentially two cars as a GTE-Am component for the 2016 FIA WEC season.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

GT Le Mans

911 – Porsche North America – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy, + Kevin Estre (NAEC)
912 – Porsche North America – Porsche 911 RSR – Fred Makowiecki/Earl Bamber, + Michael Christensen (NAEC)

GT Daytona (Rolex 24 at Daytona extra works drivers)

23 – Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 R – Wolf Henzler
73 – Park Place Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 R – Joerg Bergmeister
TBA – Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 R – Patrick Long

At the moment, Richard Lietz is the only Porsche works GT driver not placed with a team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The six LMP1 drivers are also not listed for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Pirelli World Challenge

Patrick Long will race with EFFORT Racing in its No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R this season, replacing Ryan Dalziel.

Dalziel, meanwhile, won the Porsche Cup on Saturday night, awarded to Porsche’s top privateer driver. For the award, Dalziel also wins a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabrio.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.