Le Mans Series, round 1 in Barcelona, Spain
With the 1,000 kilometre race on the Circuit de Catalunya, the 2009 season of the Le Mans Series (LMS) takes off on Sunday. On the demanding Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of Barcelona, three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR line up in the hotly-contested GT2 class. With the 450 hp sports car from Weissach – which received many improvements over the winter months – two Porsche customer teams, Felbermayr-Proton (Germany) and IMSA Performance Matmut (France), fight for the title.
Like last year, Porsche supports its teams again this year with works drivers. Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) share the cockpit of a 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Felbermayr-Proton. Patrick Pilet (France) drives for the IMSA Performance Matmut team.
‘Our aim is to win the races and secure the title. We have a new car and we run tyres developed for us by Michelin. Thanks to this we are even better prepared this year,’ says Marc Lieb, vice-champion of 2008. ‘The new GT3 RSR works excellently. We already saw this at the Sebring race. Our overall package is very good.’
His team mate Richard Lietz shares his optimism. And this is not changed by the new technical regulations, which include a smaller restrictor and five-millimetres more ride-height as well as an air-conditioning unit. ‘Of course you certainly notice these changes. The new vehicle height affects the aerodynamics and the smaller restrictor costs power. We saw this at our tests in Paul Ricard. But that applies to all teams and their cars,’ he says. ‘The car’s balance is substantially better and we have much more grip than last year. Those are certainly good prerequisites to win races.’
‘The Le Mans Series has a strong line up again this year and that means gripping racing for spectators,’ says Porsche’s head of motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. ‘We’re confident that our customer teams and the 911 GT3 RSR will be strong contenders in the fight for the title.’
The race in Barcelona, with a total of 46 vehicles entered, takes off on Sunday 5th April at 11.30 hours.