14 February 2014
Porsche splits Bernhard, Dumas for Le Mans and WEC
Porsche has decided to put a Le Mans 24 Hours winner in each of its two LMP entries for both this year's race and the full World Endurance Championship.
International sports prototype returnee Porsche has decided to separate its two stalwart drivers for this year's World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours campaigns.
Confirming a four-car entry – equally divided between its new 919 LMP1 machine and the evergreen 911 RSR model – the German marque revealed that Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas would not be sharing a cockpit in 2014
The French works drivers will now lead car #14, while his German counterpart does likewise in the #20, giving each of the two 919 Hybrid cars a Le Mans winner: on its strength. Dumas and Bernhard shared the top step of the podium at La Sarthe in 2010, and will now look to go one better than the other as they team up with new recruits Brendon Hartley, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Mark Webber. Beyond Dumas and Bernhard, however, the final line-up has yet to be determined.
"It was an obvious choice to split these two pilots to the two cars because of their special long-distance and Le Mans experience,” team principal Andreas Seidl explained in Paris, “The confirmation of our entry is another milestone on our road to Le Mans. We are all excited to meet our competitors for the first time at the official test at Paul Ricard at the end of March and, of course, at the WEC season kick-off at Silverstone in April.”
As well as the LMP entries, Porsche will be represented in the GTE Pro class as Porsche Team Manthey runs a brace of cars in pursuit of back-to-back class titles. Ranged against works entries from Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and SRT Viper, the 911 has been revamped since the last race of the 2013 season, with modified aerodynamics of the front end, a wider rear wing and adapted chassis kinematics to ensure enhanced balance and improved control at its handling limits.
"In the 2013 season, the 911 RSR gave impressive proof of its long-distance capabilities by its one-two finish at Le Mans," said head of Porsche Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, "At the 24 hour race in Daytona, we celebrated another win in a classic long-distance race with the revised version of the 911 RSR – this is certainly a good omen for Le Mans 2014."
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