Following our year-end awards for prototype and GT drivers, rookie and race of the year, Sportscar365’s staff has cast its votes on the 2018 manufacturer of the year in the world of sports car racing.
Manufacturer of the Year — Porsche
In its 70th anniversary celebrations, it was almost a storybook year for Porsche in international sports car racing competition.
The German manufacturer captured key victories in the 24-hour classics at Le Mans and the Nürburgring, while nearly completed a clean sweep of North America’s ‘Triple Crown’ of endurance races along the way.
Porsche’s highlight undoubtedly came at Le Mans, with a 1-2 finish in GTE-Pro for its retro-liveried mid-engined 911 RSRs, led home by the ‘Pink Pig’ of Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
Estre and Christensen currently enjoy a hefty lead in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship as a result, with the duo claiming an additional class win at Fuji in October.
A rain-soaked victory in the Nürburgring 24 for Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, meanwhile, delivered Porsche’s first overall win in the famed Eifel enduro in seven years.
Pilet, Tandy and Makowiecki also went on to claim GT Le Mans class honors in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Motul Petit Le Mans with the CORE autosport-run Porsche GT Team.
In addition to the success of its factory operations, Porsche’s customer teams also claimed key victories and championships this year.
Dempsey Proton Racing picked up GTE-Am class honors at Le Mans while Precote Herberth Motorsport’s Robert Renauer and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet claimed the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters title.
While not enjoying the same level of success in other GT3 series, Porsche was still well-represented throughout the Intercontinental GT Challenge season, as well as in Blancpain GT World Challenge America.
Honorable Mentions: Mercedes-AMG (183 wins from 387 races in customer racing worldwide), Lamborghini (Daytona, Sebring victories, IMSA GTD championship), Audi (third consecutive Intercontinental GT Challenge title), ORECA (dominant force in LMP2 competition worldwide).