Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: 214 vehicles ready to race
It is the most popular racing vehicle in the world: No other thoroughbred race car is built in such numbers as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Since September 2008, 214 units of the 420 hp racer for Porsche brand trophy series worldwide and the GT3 Cup S for long distance racing following the FIA GT3 regulations were built in the production plant at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Absolutely unique: Three race cars per day are assembled alongside the road-homologated Porsche 911 vehicles by the same employees on the production line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. In the Porsche Motorsport Centre at Weissach, all vehicles are aligned prior to customer delivery, receive a basic set-up for the race circuit and are given a shake-down by professional pilots on the test track next to the Motorsport Centre.
International GT Open: Top customer teams return
Even stronger Porsche representation in the International GT Open: Factory driver Richard Lietz and Italy’s Gianluca Roda return as reigning vice-champions to go for the title in 2009 at the wheel of a GT3 RSR of Autorlando Sport. The successful French team, IMSA Performance Matmut, winners, amongst other titles, of the 2008 French GT Championship, debuts with at least three GT3 RSR. Works pilot Patrick Pilet joins forces with the French squad. Season-opener: 18-19 April in Imola, Italy.
Le Mans Series: Three works drivers in 911 GT3 RSR
Three factory pilots lend their support to customer teams in the race for the LMGT2 title of the Le Mans Series. Reigning LMGT2 vice-champion Marc Lieb and his colleague Richard Lietz pilot one of two GT3 RSR fielded by Felbermayr Proton. Patrick Pilet shares the wheel of an IMSA Performance Matmut GT3 RSR with his compatriot Raymond Narac.
Included on the entry list are 17 LMGT2 race vehicles. Five races, each over 1,000 kilometres, make up the calendar. New to the series is the night race on the Portimao circuit on the Algarve. Round one: 3 to 5 April, Barcelona.
SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT: Porsche title defender – eight manufacturers start
With 24 race cars from eight manufacturers, the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship in the USA enjoys a full grid. To date, four Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are entered. Porsche is back as the reigning champion of the manufacturers, and in the last two seasons, the drivers’ champions sat in sports cars from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. The first of ten rounds takes off as part of the ALMS Sebring weekend from 18 to 20 March.
Farewell to top race engineer: Pit stop for Roland Kussmaul
Engineer, race driver, technician, team leader and test pilot: Roland Kussmaul contributed to Porsche history over four decades. Now the Stuttgart-based man has turned 65 and was given an official farewell at the Motorsports Night in Weissach. The farewell, however, is only a pit stop and not a chequered flag. In the future, the former head of the Performance Department at Porsche will be available as a consultant.
Kussmaul is not only regarded as a top engineer and race strategist, but also as an excellent test pilot, at home in all types of motorsport. In 1984 and 1986 he led the Porsche works team – himself in a 911 as ‘swift service man’ – to overall victory at the Dakar Rally. As driver and co-driver, Kussmaul successfully started the WRC as well as in circuit racing. On the other side of the pit wall, he was responsible, as team leader, for many Porsche successes at all major long distance events.
With a 0.167-second advantage, David Donohue claimed the narrowest overall victory in the 47-year history of the Daytona 24 hour race on 25 January at the wheel of a Brumos Racing Porsche-Riley. On the way to the 21st overall win for Porsche, the American shared the cockpit with his compatriots Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia from Spain. Another triumph for Porsche in the GT class, where two 911 GT3 Cup of the TRG team drove to double victory. Already on 9-10 January, the German Land Motorsport squad had secured victory with a 911 GT3 Cup at the Dubai 24 hour event. Of the 81 vehicles in the field, eight Porsche finished amongst the top ten in the overall classification.
At the ALMS test days in Sebring/Florida at the end of January, Porsche customer teams sampled the quality of the new 911 GT3 RSR, which races in 2009 with an engine capacity enlarged to four-litres (ca. 450 hp/430 Nm) and with modified aerodynamics. Worldwide, Porsche delivers around 20 units of the 911 GT3 RSR to customers. The price of this high-performance racer is 380,000 Euro plus VAT specific to each country.
Porsche sends ten works pilots to race in 2009. Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) pilot a Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am. Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Emmanuel Collard (France), Wolf Henzler (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria), Patrick Long (USA), Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) join forces with top customer teams in major Grand Touring Championships and Sports Prototype racing.
Races in February: Start in Australia, final spurt in New Zealand
With two championship rounds, the GT3 Cup Challenge Australia takes off into a new season on 20-21 February on the Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. In New Zealand, heading into the fifth of six race weekends, Craig Baird is on track to successfully defend his title. The next race is on 27 February to 1 March at Manfeild.