Porsche has confirmed its line-up for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season, welcoming Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber into its LMP1 ranks at its Night of Champions event.
Following Mark Webber’s retirement from racing at the end of the 2016, and the decision to relocate world champions Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, Porsche had three free seats for next year between its two LMP1 cars.
Audi’s decision to end its LMP1 program following the 2016 season left Lotterer without a drive, with the three-time Le Mans winner being picked up by Porsche.
The German marque has also promoted 2015 Le Mans winners Bamber and Tandy up into full-time LMP1 seats, the pair having raced in GTs for Porsche over the past 12 months after no third car was run last year at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
“Lotterer and Tandy will share driving duties in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid with the reigning World Endurance Champion Neel Jani,” a statement from Porsche reads.
“Joining the two New Zealanders Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley in the cockpit of the #2 vehicle is Timo Bernhard from Germany.
“Thanks to continuing development, next year’s 919 represents another step in its technological evolution, featuring a completely new colour design, an optimised aerokit, and the complete overhaul of almost all components.
“The vehicle will be officially unveiled on 23 March at the WEC prologue, which is held for the first time in Monza, Italy.”
Porsche also confirmed its plans for its expanded GT program in 2017, when it will enter a pair of new 911 RSRs to the GTE Pro class of the WEC and aim for the championship.
“In addition to its LMP1 commitments, Porsche will also send a factory squad to the 2017 FIA WEC rounds to tackle the GT world championship titles for the best driver and the most successful manufacturer, which will be awarded for the first time,” the statement adds.
“This is a significant boost for our motorsport involvement and underlines that we have chosen the right platform with the WEC,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG.
“The Porsche Motorsport GT team will campaign a pair of new 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class. The drivers confirmed so far for these seats are Michael Christensen, Frédéric Makowiecki and Richard Lietz.”
Porsche will also continue with its factory entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017, once again fielding the new 911 RSR car.
“For the fourth season, Porsche will take on the competition with a factory entry in America’s most important sports car series, the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship.
“As in the FIA WEC, Porsche Motorsport GT fields two brand-new 911 RSR. Sharing the cockpit of the #911 vehicle are Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner. At the particularly long events such as the Daytona 24 Hours, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, the duo will receive support from Frédéric Makowiecki.
“The regular drivers in the number 912 vehicle are Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, with Richard Lietz joining them for the four long-distance classics. The season-opening race is the 24 Hours of Daytona on 28 January.”