Porsche has revealed that both Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb are in the running for the final two seats in the German manufacturer’s two-car FIA World Endurance Championship program, which was officially confirmed Friday.
Lieb, a longtime Porsche works driver in the GT ranks, and 23-year-old Hartley, will both take part in the team’s testing program alongside the already confirmed drivers Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani. A final decision will be made by the end of the year.
Formula One star Mark Webber has been confirmed as the fourth full-season pilot but is unable to test until next year due to his contract with Red Bull Racing.
Porsche has opted for a three-driver approach for the entire eight-round WEC season, which kicks off at Silverstone in April. A similar approach has been taken by both Audi and Toyota this year.
“Both the development of the LMP1 racing car as well as the creation of the racing team are progressing, but they also show that we are still faced with enormous challenges,” said Wolfgang Hatz, member of the executive board for R&D at Porsche AG. “In 2014, our first year in the championship, our common target is to operate on a similar level as our highly experienced competitors.”
While the yet-to-be-named LMP1 contender has so far tested exclusively within Europe, it’s understood a week-long endurance test has been scheduled for Sebring in early December, followed by additional testing in Bahrain early next year.
Porsche’s LMP1 senior management team has been confirmed, with Alexander Hitzinger being named as technical director and Andreas Seidl heading up race operations. Both ex-F1 recruits will be under Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of the LMP1 program.