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New GTE Porsche Demanded ‘Lots of Pressure and Focus’

Porsche GTE drivers Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz on the new 911 RSR-19…

Photo: Porsche

Porsche factory GT driver Michael Christensen says the development of the new 911 RSR-19 demanded “a lot of pressure and focus” from the manufacturer’s engineering team.

The defending GT world champion believes that this came down to a hectic development window which ran alongside Porsche’s active race program in the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’.

Porsche unveiled the successor to its two-time Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, featuring side-mounted exhausts and a naturally aspirated flat-six engine, earlier this month.

“For sure there was a lot of pressure but there was also a lot of focus,” Christensen told Sportscar365.

“There was a lot of focus and we tested parallel [to the Super Season] for most of the time over the winter. It was great but there were a lot of people, and the engineers were not having any kind of break. Kudos to them, they did very well.

“I think it was more about time management, and they did a great job. We are pretty happy with where we are with such a schedule.”

Christensen said that while he didn’t carry out the majority of the car’s testing, he managed to sense the key differences between the previous-gen 911 RSR and the new version.

“We can use the grip easier through the corner,” he explained.

“If you have a balance change through the corner, you have to correct, and you lose grip at a certain point in the corner. That’s what has been optimized a lot.

“We can predict the car better and set it up better as well. If it’s more consistent, you have an easier direction in terms of setup.

“From corner to corner, you can be more in a balanced situation. In that way, it helped a lot for us to be calmer and stay at the limit.

“I did four or five days [testing]. Most of the work was done by Fred [Makowiecki] and Gimmi [Bruni], and some of us in between.

“They mainly did the start, and then further down the line we all did a few test days in line with the 2017 [previous-gen] RSR to compare them.”

New Car Requires New Learning Process

Richard Lietz, who shares the No. 91 Porsche with Gianmaria Bruni, believes that the new 911 RSR brings in a completely new learning process in terms of car setup.

When asked by Sportscar365 if it was a challenge to improve on Porsche’s successful predecessor, Lietz said, “I think so because the balance of the old car was good.

“Every time at Le Mans we learned a lot about the setup, and even people thought after one year that we knew everything about it.

“But there are a lot of systems checks and run-time checks that you have to do even before you look into the setup.

“We have to learn and understand the setup of the new car perfectly, but for sure the goal is to be competitive from the beginning.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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