Le Mans success lends extra motivation

Stuttgart. After their impressive class win at the Le Mans 24 hour race, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) travel to the 1,000 kilometre race in the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal with great optimism. At round three of the Le Mans Series on 17 July, the title defenders of the GT2 class and winners of the first two races this year are eager to continue their success streak with the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche also ranks first.

At their debut last year on the 4.652 kilometre circuit in Portimao not far from Portugal’s most beautiful beaches, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz claimed pole position. “The handling of our 911 GT3 RSR was fantastic and we anticipate it to be the same this year. Our aim is to win, or at least retain our points’ lead,” says Richard Lietz about the race that runs well into the night. Marc Lieb, as the most successful driver in the Le Mans Series with three GT2 titles to his credit, adds: “The circuit is extremely diverse. Aside from interesting roller-coaster passages there are several crests and blind corners. You have to be particularly cautious at night not to run into a bad surprise. Still, we all look forward to the darkness, because during the day the temperature reaches around 40 degrees Celsius.”

In the second Felbermayr 911 GT3 RSR sit regular drivers Martin Ragginger (Austria) and Christian Ried (Germany) supported this time by Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany), who was also one of the winning Porsche trio in Le Mans. With one second place at the season-opener, at that time with Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA), they now rank third in the GT standings. Lying in fourth are Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet (France) and his compatriot Raymond Narac racing for IMSA Performance Matmut. Both are enthusiastic about the ‘Autodromo’ close to the Atlantic ocean. “Taken in fifth gear, the last, long left-hander in particular is a tough nut to crack. It’s crucial to have good handling,” says Patrick Pilet. Raymond Narac has his sights set on a podium spot: “It should be possible, after all we were highly competitive last year.”

The ProSpeed Competition team contests just its third race in the Le Mans Series. The Belgian squad is keen to continue their upwards trend that yielded the first points at Spa-Francorchamps. At the wheel of the Prospeed 911 GT3 RSR are Porsche Junior Marco Holzer (Germany) and reigning FIA GT Champion Richard Westbrook (Great Britain). For the duo, Le Mans also brought some extra motivation: They finished their premiere at the famous long distance classic with a sensational third place.

The race in Portimao on 17 July will start at 17.00 hours local time (18.00 hours CEST). Television station Eurosport covers the final phase from 23.30 hours. Fans can follow the race via live-timing under www.lemans-series.com.

Points’ standings GT2 class
1. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Porsche, 49 points
2. Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 37
3. Martin Ragginger, Christian Ried, Patrick Long, Porsche, 35
4. Patrick Pilet, Raymond Narac, Porsche, 24
5. Pierre Ehret, Pierre Kaffer, Phil Quaife, Ferrari, 23
6. Luis Perez Companc, Matias Russo, Ferrari, 22

1. Porsche, 87 points
2. Ferrari, 73
3. BMW, 30
4. Spyker, 20

Facts and Figures

This is the Le Mans Series

Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on the rules of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five championship rounds are contested this season on circuits throughout Europe. The races run over a distance of 1,000 kilometres, with the eight hour race in Le Castellet as the only exception.

The starting field consists of two different sports vehicle categories: Sports prototypes and standard sports cars. They are divided into four classes:
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 750 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms (petrol vehicles) or 930 kg (diesel vehicles). Power to weight ratio: approx. 1.2 kg/hp.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with around 440 hp and an 825 kilogram minimum weight. Power to weight ratio: approx 1.8 kg/hp.
GT1 class: Considerably modified standard sports cars with up to 600 hp and a minimum weight of 1,200 – 1,250 kilograms.
GT2 class: Slightly modified standard sports cars with up to 460 hp and a minimum weight of 1,145 kilograms. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competes in this class.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all four classes. Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz won the GT2 driver’s title in 2009. In 2008, Porsche won the LMP2 title for drivers, manufacturers and teams.

[Source:Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG]