Gianmaria Bruni’s future has formally been settled, with Porsche confirming Sunday the Italian will join the manufacturer after his past run at Ferrari starting in June.
The move settles months of speculation about the end of his time with Ferrari, where he’s achieved a wealth of success in the last decade in GT racing with Risi Competizione and AF Corse.
He’ll test in June and begin racing in July for the Porsche GT Team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and both the timing and placement of his new role is intriguing.
There was no official comment from Bruni in the release, only one from Head of Porsche Motorsport, Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser.
“We’re delighted to welcome Gianmaria Bruni, one of the world’s top GT pilots, into our squad,” Walliser said. “He fits perfectly into our strong circle of works drivers and will join us for the second half of the season.”
So about the placement. Here’s where Porsche factory drivers have already been assigned this year:
LMP1 – 919 Hybrid #1
Neel Jani (32), Switzerland
André Lotterer (35), Germany
Nick Tandy (32), Great Britain
LMP1 – 919 Hybrid #2
Earl Bamber (26), New Zealand
Timo Bernhard (35), Germany
Brendon Hartley (27), New Zealand
GT works drivers
Jörg Bergmeister (40), Germany
Michael Christensen (26), Denmark
Romain Dumas (38), France
Kévin Estre (28), France
Wolf Henzler (41), Germany
Richard Lietz (32), Austria
Frédéric Makowiecki (36), France
Sven Müller (24), Germany
Patrick Pilet (35), France
Patrick Long (35), USA
Laurens Vanthoor (25), Belgium
Dirk Werner (35), Germany
Of the GT drivers, Pilet and Werner (No. 911) and Estre and Vanthoor (No. 912) had been assigned to the season-long GT Le Mans class Porsche 911 RSR entries. As Bruni is set to replace one of the four, it’s worth noting Pilet is the only holdover from last year with the other three having raced either in different series (Estre) or for different manufacturers (Werner with BMW, Vanthoor with Audi) last year. Makowiecki (No. 911) and Lietz (No. 912) were announced as the respective third drivers at endurance races.
In the FIA World Endurance Championship, Makowiecki, Lietz and Christensen are three of the four full-season drivers for those pair of 911s in GTE-Pro. With Bergmeister and Henzler having full-time GT Daytona seats in IMSA and with Long being full-time in Pirelli World Challenge, it would seem to leave at least one of the other as-yet-unassigned works drivers – Dumas or Müller – in the catbird’s seat for the fourth WEC seat. However, Bruni’s IMSA arrival could see one of the IMSA drivers move to the WEC. Time will tell.
Bruni, as it is, won’t be able to race for Porsche until after Le Mans.