While Marc Lieb scored a dominant victory in Friday’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX round at Lime Rock Park, the reigning FIA World Endurance Champion will be back to the office on Monday, in his new role with the German manufacturer that sees his driving career take a back seat.
Lieb has hung up his helmet as a full-time driver to take on a newly created position within Porsche Motorsport as its Head of Customer Racing.
The job, which Lieb says is a “mix between being an engineer and a salesman” sees the 36-year-old German act as the point-of-contact for customer teams running Porsche 911 RSRs, 911 GT3 Rs and Cayman GT4 Clubsports in championships around the world.
“It’s a new challenge,” Lieb told Sportscar365. “It’s a big shuffle of the customer racing department.
“I think we’re going in the right direction with all of the developments of new cars, the developing process of new customer cars coming out. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work.”
Working under former Porsche Motorsport North America President Uwe Brettel, who is now Head of Motorsport Sales, Lieb began his new job in mid-March, following his overall podium finish in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
It was Lieb’s Bathurst co-driver, and longtime friend Patrick Long who asked him to fill in for his SprintX teammate Joerg Bergmeister this weekend at Lime Rock, due to Bergmeister’s factory commitments at the Nürburgring 24.
He said it didn’t take too much convincing to do the one-off weekend, although Lieb did have to juggle around some of his other commitments.
“I always enjoy being back with Patrick in a racing car,” he said. “Of course, I could have done a different job over the weekend at the Nürburgring. A lot of customers are racing there.
“I asked my boss, and I asked Uwe Brettel and Frank [Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport] and they said, ‘Yes, go for it.’
“It’s a good opportunity to be back in a racing car, to do a sprint race, less than six-hours. I haven’t done that for quite some time!”
Despite his new focus, Lieb has still shown his strength behind the wheel, in only his second race with the new-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R and first time back at Lime Rock since 2004.
Lieb, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering, also sees his PWC debut as an opportunity to gain more experience with Porsche’s line of customer racing machinery, which is at the c0re of his new job.
“It’s quite important to understand what the customers really need from the outside, that’s why it’s good that I’m still driving a little bit,” he said. “The good thing is that I’m still involved in the technical stuff as well.
“It’s a different lifestyle, with more free time on the weekends, normally. It’s different [for me] driving to the office every morning.”
While his office is a Porsche 911 GT3 R this weekend, Lieb is focused on the long-term expansion of Porsche’s customer programs, which could be taking a new direction in the years to come.
“At the moment, the sales is really quiet because we sold out all the cars, basically,” he said. “We don’t have any [911 GT3] Rs left or GT4 Clubsports.
“For us, it’s a good time to reshuffle stuff in the company and be there for the following years. There will be some great stuff coming out.
“There’s definitely a lot of work to do, so that’s good.”
Lieb said he sees some of the biggest growth coming in the GT4 platform, which has expanded to North America and Asia, along with increased car counts across Europe with the arrival of new manufacturers.
“Because GT4 is a growing market, we were completely surprised by the number of cars we sold,” he said. “We are still getting requests but we can’t deliver them.
“I think it’s a big market and is very interesting. We just have to be careful that we don’t have the same game as GT3 with Balance of Performance.
“You look at the competition, what they bring as GT4 cars, it’s nothing [like] what we have.
“We’ve had really strong discussions with SRO and they’ve said the Cayman is the baseline for GT4, which is great for us.
“We think that’s the right direction but we will see how it ends up.”
While hinting that a new Porsche GT4 model may be under consideration, Lieb also stressed the importance of expanding Porsche’s GT3 customer base to new markets as well.
“Expansion is definitely in the GT4 category but also in GT3,” he said. “I think we lost some ground in the last three or four years [with GT3].
“Asia is a big market, it’s really growing there. I also think in the U.S., we have a great market.
“We haven’t touched other markets like South America. So it’s really interesting to be involved in this project.”
Despite his new roles, Lieb said he isn’t ready to completely give up racing just yet, with plans in the works for at least one more outing later this year.
“For sure there will be one more race coming up for me but I haven’t decided yet what it is,” he said.