Porsche confirms 2018-19 WEC line-up, four-car Le Mans GTE-Pro entry

Photo: Porsche AG
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Porsche has confirmed its factory GTE line-up for the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship “super season,” including a four-car entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Following the closure of its LMP1 program at the end of the 2017 season, Porsche’s GT interests will become the priority for the new season, starting with the 6 Hours of Spa in May.

Porsche confirmed at its Night of Champions event on Saturday in Germany it would be tweaking its GTE-Pro line-up for the new season, with Frederic Makowiecki being moved over to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the North American Endurance Cup events.

His seat will be taken by WEC veteran Gianmaria Bruni, who will return to the series after serving his gardening leave since leaving Ferrari.

Bruni will partner Richard Lietz in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR, while Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre will once again share the No. 92 Porsche entry.

For the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Porsche will field four factory entries in the GTE-Pro class as its pair of IMSA cars hops across the Atlantic for the race.

Makowiecki will return to the No. 91 Porsche for Le Mans alongside Bruni and Lietz, while Laurens Vanthoor will join Christensen and Estre at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Patrick Pilet will be joined by recently-exited LMP1 drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber in the No. 93 Porsche entry, with Le Mans winners Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas joining Sven Muller in the No. 94 car.

Porsche also confirmed interest from customer teams in fielding a 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Am class of the WEC next year, with seven cars being sold for the WEC, Le Mans and European Le Mans Series.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.