Porsche's World Endurance Championship bosses are 'proud' to retain the same driver line-up which led them to the manufacturers' and drivers' title in 2015.
The German manufacturer's vice president of its LMP1 operations Fritz Enzinger says the discussions to decide its trio of drivers for its two prototype cars were straightforward and the team saw no sense in breaking up the successful combination.
Between the two Porsche LMP1 challengers the team secured a clean sweep of pole positions in 2015 and seven wins out of nine races in WEC, with the championship-winning trio of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber claiming four wins, at the Nurburgring, COTA, Fuji and Shanghai on its march to the drivers' title.
The #18 Porsche of Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani grabbed the season finale victory in Bahrain and the surprise win for Porsche's third car at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours for Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber capped a memorable campaign having returned to the series in 2014.
“The advice of 'never change a winning team' is spot on,” Enzinger said. “Both our driver trios didn't only perform brilliantly on track, but have also been with us since the beginning of the programme and have significantly contributed to the Porsche 919 Hybrid's development.
“We are very proud of these six top drivers, and very pleased all of them are on board for the 2016 world championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Both Porsche and Audi has recently confirmed neither team will be running an additional third car at Le Mans in June, citing cost efficiency as the deciding factor so it canconcentrate its efforts on its two WEC LMP1 machines.
Porsche team principal Andreas Seidl also explained the two cars will continue to work as a unit on the testing and development of the 919 Hybrid LMP1 challenger as it aims to defend its WEC titles next season.
“In continual dialogue with the drivers, we have been constantly improving as a team,” Seidl said. “We trust and feel comfortable with each other. Without the extraordinary performances by their drivers, Porsche couldn't have achieved this sensational level of success in 2015.
“The icing on the cake in terms of teamwork was the fact that in the season's finale the trio of Bernhard, Hartley and Webber were only able to become world champions because Dumas, Jani and Lieb fought their way to win the race. This also proves how important it is in this championship to have two equally strong driver crews. We will build on that strength and continuity.”