Gianmaria Bruni will replace Kevin Estre in Porsche’s full-season IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship lineup beginning with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in July, the German manufacturer has confirmed.
Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser revealed to Sportscar365 that Bruni is set to complete the season in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR alongside Laurens Vanthoor, with testing to begin in June.
“After putting all the effort in [to secure Gimmi], I am excited,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “It will be really tricky because he starts testing on June 1 and is allowed to take part in a race starting on July 1.
“He has one month and needs a quick learning curve and get familiar with the team, the drivers and everything around.”
Walliser said the 35-year-old Italian will take part in tests with both the CORE autosport-run IMSA squad as well as a Porsche in Europe, to help get him up to speed in the mid-engined GTE contender, which made its competition debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Porsche GT boss admitted it wasn’t his original idea to pair Bruni up with Vanthoor, as a WEC program was the intended destination for the two-time GTE World Champion.
“The original plan was different,” Walliser said. “But for sure we respect if there was an agreement between Ferrari and its drivers. We would not violate anything out of this. This is part of the sport. We take it like it is.
“We’re excited. I would say our driver lineup is now perfect.”
With Estre taking part in both series until Bruni’s debut in July, Walliser said no decision has been made on a replacement driver for the WeatherTech Championship round at Circuit of The Americas in May, which falls on the same weekend as the Six Hours of Spa.