Porsche Eyeing Third Factory GTE-Pro Entry for 24H Le Mans

Photo: Porsche

Porsche could run a third factory GTE-Pro entry in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, as part of its increased commitment to GT racing, according to motorsport boss Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser.

The German manufacturer is set to re-allocate some of the resources from its soon-to-be-defunct LMP1 program for a beefed-up GT program that could also include a factory-backed effort in GT3 racing.

Walliser revealed a third works 911 RSR for the key GTE endurance races, such as Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, is among the options currently on the table.

“It’s something we’ve discussed but have not yet decided. Maybe [we’ll] do that,” Walliser said.

“To have an additional car, the chance to realize it, is in Le Mans higher than the other races.”

A surplus of drivers from the LMP1 effort could be used to fill the lineup, including former GT factory aces Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, who are expected to remain under contract for next year. 

Walliser, however, wouldn’t confirm any possible additions to the GT roster beyond its already confirmed 14 works drivers.

A number of other areas of expansion are under evaluation, according to the Porsche GT boss, and is awaiting approval by Porsche’s Board, which is due to meet in the coming weeks.

“We have a proposal on the table and some ideas on how we can strengthen our GT activities,” Walliser said.

“For sure we will stay [in WEC] because it’s very important… Also we’re working on a really long-term strategy to plan it properly.

“We’re also looking for sure at all of the GT3 categories, as there are a lot of good races and highlight races. We want to emphasize a little bit more.

“Nothing’s finalized but it’s clear we’re going in that direction. It looks good and promising.”

Increased Factory Backing for IGTC Likely

A boosted presence in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, potentially with factory or works-supported teams, is also a possibility.

“The idea of the Intercontinental is that you take the local teams and they participate,” Walliser said. “We’re working at the moment if it would be with a factory team or factory backed team.

“It [would likely be] more factory backed. We could bring in the key people but you don’t have to ship cars all over the world.”

Porsche is set to complete this year’s IGTC season with Pro-Am efforts from Black Swan Racing and GMG Racing in the California 8 Hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with factory drivers on loan and support from Porsche Motorsport North America.

Walliser said it hasn’t yet been decided which team will represent the manufacturer in the season-ending Motul Sepang 12 Hours, although he indicated Craft-Bamboo Racing will run Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.

It’s understood Romain Dumas and reigning GT World Cup Champion Laurens Vanthoor will be the team’s drivers.

7 Comments

  1. Andrew

    September 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Is there a new GT3 911 in the works, or will it be coming sooner now with the LMP1 team folding up the tent? Hadn’t heard anything but with other new cars coming in and the base car is a bit older than most isn’t it?

    • JMartinni

      September 8, 2017 at 8:46 am

      The 991 GT3 R only raced since 2016. Homologation runs until 2023.

  2. jason

    September 8, 2017 at 8:54 am

    A 3 car effort for Daytona, Sebring, Spa, and Le Mans. Sounds awesome. Would make sense to have the same driver line up combo for all of them through all the races too. There is no conflicts anymore in the spring months so it can be done.

    The Porsche 911 RSR sounds great and I love this year’s Porsche paint livery too, best livery from the factory car ever. I hope they don’t change that.

  3. BSF_LM

    September 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

    The car they are talking about, the 2017-spec GTE contender has gone though a complete transformation.

    As reported on at SC365 http://sportscar365.com/lemans/wec/inside-the-new-mid-engined-porsche-911-rsr/

    “Porsche has rolled out its all-new, mid-engined 911 RSR for international sports car racing competition next year,
    in what could be the most radically designed 911 race car to have ever come out of Weissach.”

    Saw the maiden victory at Lime Rock. It ran very well at Daytona too (2nd) in an amazing GTLM battle near the end of the race. Sounds wonderful.

  4. Kyle

    September 8, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Just take the two car CORE team over to Le Mans, and bring the two car Manthey team over for Daytona and Sebring.

  5. Juninho

    September 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    ALMS Rolex 24 at Daytona 26-27th January 2019
    WEC 24 Hours of Daytona 23-24th February 2019
    ALMS/WEC Twelve Hours of Sebring 16th March 2019

  6. NigelJ

    September 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    With some of the surplus LMP1 staff and drivers, what about a DPi entry?

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