Porsche returning to Le Mans in 2014
Although providing no specific details, Porsche has confirmed that it will return to Le Mans in 2014 with a full factory-backed effort in the LMP1 Prototype category. In making the announcement, Matthias Muller, president of the Executive Board at Porsche AG, noted: "Motorsport was always an essential part of the Porsche brand. So for us it was only a matter of time before we returned as a factory to the top league of racing. Porsche's successes in Le Mans are unrivalled. We want to follow up on this with the 17th outright victory."
Porsche's first overall win in the legendary 24-hour classic came in 1970 when Hans Herrmann and Richard Atwood took the checkers in a 917K model. The last conquest came in 1998 with Laurent Aiello, Stephane Ortelli and Allan McNish behind the wheel of a 911 GT1 model. During the latter part of the last decade, the factory developed and successfully campaigned its Porsche RS Spyder in the LMP2 category worldwide, taking the class win at Le Mans in 2008 and 2009 as well as notching numerous other international victories.
Admitting the creation of this new LMP1 car will be one of the most challenging undertakings in the company's history, Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, also views it as a source of great potential to further showcase the automaker's already legendary performance capabilities. "We're looking forward to the task of developing new technologies and to continue on with the success of the Porsche RS Spyder. After the conclusion of our works-supported sports prototype program in the American Le Mans Series we have kept up with the latest technological advances. Now we will begin with detailed research in order to evaluate the various concept alternatives for our new car. These obviously depend on how the regulations for the year 2014 look in detail. In principle, these regulations are interesting for us because the integration of our hybrid technology in the vehicle concept is one possible option." Porsche's decision is reportedly being welcomed by its potential archrival -- and corporate cousin -- Audi, which claimed its 10th overall Le Mans win two weeks ago in the awesomely quick, turbodiesel powered Audi R18 TDI.