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Walliser: Bruni Would “Fit In” to Porsche’s GTE Lineup
- Updated: December 12, 2016
Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser has admitted that Gianmaria Bruni would “fit in” to its factory GT lineup, amid continued reports that the German manufacturer is courting the Ferrari star for its GTE-Pro return in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year.
Porsche has yet to confirm the fourth full-season WEC driver, alongside Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki for its two-car Manthey-run effort next year, with Walliser stating he has “several options.”
When asked about the potential of an additional driver being hired for the seat, Walliser said “we’ll see.”
“Looking at [Bruni], he’s definitely one of the top-three drivers and I think we have a really strong driver lineup,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “So he would fit in this driver lineup of Porsche for sure. But we have to see.”
Walliser said the final seat hasn’t yet been confirmed due to a number of variables, including Porsche’s LMP1 driver shakeup, that has placed newly crowned World Champions Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb back to the GT program in different roles.
“With also the impact of Marc and Romain, that’s why we kept it open,” he said.
“We did a lot in our driver lineups in both LMP1 and GTE, that’s why just kept it open so we have all the options. So we wouldn’t announce something and then [have] to change.”
Bruni, a two-time WEC GT class champion, however, is understood to still be under a multi-year contract with Ferrari, which was renewed in 2015 after reportedly first been pursued by Porsche.
The 35-year-old Italian was the only currently employed Ferrari factory driver that was not present at its World Final event in Daytona last weekend.
Walliser said the remainder of the Porsche GTE-Pro lineup should be finalized by next month, with the two drivers for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to come from its previously announced IMSA lineup.
The pair of Porsche Motorsport entries will run with two-driver lineups for all rounds except Le Mans, Walliser said. He ruled out additional works cars for the French endurance classic.
He said the plan will be to place each GT factory driver within a full-season program, including Dumas, Wolf Henzler and new works pilot Sven Mueller, who all have yet to be assigned.
Porsche’s new “Young Professional” drivers, Matteo Cairoli and Mathieu Jaminet, meanwhile, will likely be assigned to GT3 or European Le Mans Series GTE/WEC GTE-Am customer teams.
“My driver table is a big puzzle,” Walliser said. “We have to see all the possibilities and the things we do. Then we’ll announce it.”