Barcelona

First race outing for the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

Media release: 10th May 2013

Source: Porsche AG

At the season-opening round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on 12 May in Barcelona, motorsports fans have two highlights to look forward to – the race debut of the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and the guest appearance of nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb. The Frenchman drives the Porsche AG-run VIP car in the legendary Martini Racing livery. Martini is the new partner for Porsche Motorsport’s VIP appearances. With the revival of this legendary partnership, the two brands write the next chapter of their successful motorsport history together.

“Competing in the world’s best makes cup is a very special challenge for me,” says Sébastien Loeb, who with 78 World Rally Championship victories is arguably the most successful motor racing sportsman of today. “It certainly won’t be easy to compete against such fast and experienced Supercup pilots, but I love such challenges.”

Indeed, the competition on the Circuit de Catalunya, where the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads into its 21st season, has rarely been tougher. 26 drivers from 13 countries make up the strong field in the flagship series of the 20 Porsche one-make championships. Amongst them are seasoned specialists like Britain’s Sean Edwards and Alain Menu from Switzerland, two-time British Touring Car champion and last year’s runner-up in the World Touring Car Championship. From round two of the season in Monaco, double Supercup winner Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) is back again. Their challengers are ambitious, young drivers who regard the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as the ideal platform from which to launch a successful career in touring car or GT racing. Three of these pilots receive support from Porsche: Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) take up their second season as Porsche Juniors. After good performances in last season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, they have moved up the ladder. Jean-Karl Vernay (France) secured backing from Porsche Motorsport for a Supercup season after winning the International Cup Scholarship Programme. He has also gained experience at the wheel of a 911 and won the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup France.

For their first Supercup season, the three youngsters have ambitious plans: “The fact that Porsche is giving me this opportunity to contest the Supercup shows a great deal of trust. I will work hard to meet expectations,” says Michael Christensen. As Klaus Bachler says, it is “a dream come true. I learned so much in the Carrera Cup and now I want to use what I’ve learned in the Supercup.” Jean-Karl Vernay is mostly looking forward to experiencing the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the race track. “I can hardly wait to go racing with the new car.”

The 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the motorsport version of the new 911 GT3 (type 991) and is based on the seventh generation of the 911. This season, the near-standard race car is fielded by eleven teams from eight countries exclusively in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which has been a regular fixture on the worldwide motorsport calendar as support to the Formula 1 races since 1993. Eight events with a total of nine races make up the 2013 calendar.

“Once again we have a packed grid and we are thrilled that there are also many rookies lining up against experienced Supercup regulars,” says Jonas Krauss, Head of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. “We are expecting a very tight competition and that means some exciting and tough races. It speaks volumes for the attractiveness of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup when world stars like Sébastien Loeb choose to make a guest appearance.”

The race in Barcelona will be televised live by TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.45 hours) and Sky (11.40 hrs) on 12 May. Moreover, Eurosport broadcasts highlights of the race on Sunday at 18.15 hrs in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin” programme.

Timetable

Session                     Day                 Local Time     UK Time      Duration       
Free Practice
Friday 16:45 15:45 45 minutes
Qualifying Saturday 12:25 11:25 30 minutes
Race Sunday 11:45 10:45 14 Laps

Map

 

Sean Edwards takes the first pole position of the season

Media release: 11th May 2013

Source: Porsche AG

­The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup kicked off its 21st season with a gripping qualifying on the Circuit de Catalunya. Pole position for the season-opening race in Barcelona went to Sean Edwards. At the wheel of the Allyouneed by Project 1-run new 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911, he was by far the fastest driver on the Grand Prix circuit in Barcelona. Unexpectedly lining up next to the Briton on the first row for Sunday’s race is Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team). Demonstrating once again the tight competition in this attractive brand trophy series, 21 of the 25 vehicles qualified within just one and a half seconds.

Porsche Junior Michael Christensen also made a good start into his first Supercup season. The Dane, who put in a strong performance last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and was promoted to the flagship championship of Porsche’s 20 makes cup series worldwide, posted the fourth quickest time for his DAMS team behind Michael Ammermuller (Germany) from the Lechner Racing Team. Thanks to his fastest lap in the final phase of the qualifying, Poland’s Robert Lukas (FÖRCH Racing) scored the fifth grid spot ahead of Richie Stanaway (DAMS), the Supercup newcomer from New Zealand. Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing), last year’s vice champion, had to settle for the seventh quickest time in the strong field. Taking up the race alongside him on the fourth grid row is another Porsche Junior, Austrian Klaus Bachler (FÖRCH Racing).

At his first guest appearance in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, rally star Sébastien Loeb (France) performed well against the Supercup specialists. Driving the Porsche AG VIP car decked out in the legendary Martini Racing Design, the nine-time World Rally Champion improved from free practice to qualify in 13th place just one second behind the pole-sitter.

Sean Edwards (pole-sitter): “Posting pole position with half a second advantage is surely extraordinary. Normally we are much closer together. But today everything flowed perfectly. Tomorrow’s race will undoubtedly be tough. I hope I get away cleanly at the start and still be in the lead after the first corner. Then I certainly have a good chance of winning.”

Kuba Giermaziak (second qualifier): “I like the track and everything went well at the beginning. When I came into the pits and saw the gap to Sean it gave me something to think about. We thought long and hard whether we should go out again on new tyres, but finally decided to save them for the race. I think we have the necessary speed and that’s a great feeling to have at the beginning of the season.”

Michael Ammermuller (third qualifier): “I’m very happy. After the tests I hadn’t expected it. Now I have to try and turn it into a good race result. In any case, the prospects look good.”

Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, fourth qualifier): “I’m very pleased with the performance of the team, but not so much with my own. I could have done better in this qualifying. I hope I can pull more out of the hat during tomorrow’s race.”

Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, eighth qualifier): “I was sitting in sixth for quite some time until two opponents on new tyres trumped my time in the final phase. Still, it’s a good position from which to head into the race, especially since I’ve saved a fresh set of slicks.” 

Sébastien Loeb (13th qualifier): “I was more familiar with the car today and felt much more comfortable compared to free practice. I set my fastest time in lap three. For the race tomorrow I have an almost new set of tyres. I’m very much looking forward to my first race in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.”

Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, 17th qualifier): “That is certainly not what I had expected here in Barcelona. We will definitely have to improve. I’m hoping for a good start in the race, perhaps then I can finish in the top ten. But that won’t be easy in such a strong field.”

The race on Sunday is broadcast live on TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs). In addition, Eurosport televises highlights on Sunday at 18.15 hrs in the programme “Motorsport Weekend Magazin”.

Clear victory for Sean Edwards at the race debut of the new 911 GT3 Cup

Media release: 12th May 2013

Source: Porsche AG

Britain’s Sean Edwards has won the season-opener of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. At the wheel of the Allyouneed by Project 1-run 460 hp new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911, he took the flag 7.346 seconds ahead of Denmark’s Nicki Thiim (Attempto Racing), who crowned his remarkable chase through the field with second place. Lechner Racing Team pilot Michael Ammermüller (Germany) was flagged off in third. The best rookie on the Circuit de Catalunya was Porsche Junior Michael Christensen (DAMS) from Denmark with fifth.

Taking up the race from pole position, Sean Edwards immediately set the pace ahead of the 25 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers. On the track on which he had already won back in 2011, he again clinched a commanding lights-to-flag victory. The group of pursuers behind him included Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team), Michael Christensen and Michael Ammermüller, who had overtaken the Porsche Junior with a good start. Christensen had been able to hold this position only until halfway through the 14-lap distance, when he braked too late and had to let Michael Ammermuller and the increasingly persistent Nicki Thiim overtake.

In the meantime, Sean Edwards had pulled well clear of the field, while the fight for the remainder of the podium spots continued unabated. For some time it seemed that Kuba Giermaziak would secure second place, but his pursuers did not relent and put the Pole under immense pressure in the final laps. When he veered from the race line during an overtaking attempt by Michael Ammermuller in the final lap, Nicki Thiim grabbed his chance and swept past the pilots in front to snatch second. With this, the rookie winner of 2012 crowned his strong performance which had seen him go from tenth on the grid almost to the front of the field. Scoring fourth place, Kuba Giermaziak, however, missed out on the last podium spot.

At his first guest appearance in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, rally star Sébastien Loeb (France) was locked in a gripping duel with the Supercup specialists. The nine-time World Rally Champion, who in his career has won 78 WRC rallies and 899 special stages, became more and more accustomed to the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup over the course of the race weekend in Barcelona. In the race, he was just shy of the top ten scoring eleventh. Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler also performed strongly: Driving for FÖRCH Racing, the Austrian earned valuable championship points for seventh place at his first Supercup race.

Sean Edwards (winner): “Today was the perfect day. Thank you to my team who made this success possible for me. I knew that I had to make a clean getaway if I wanted to pull clear and it worked. In the second half of the race I was able to take things a little easier. Now I’m looking forward to my home race in Monaco.” 

Nicki Thiim (second): “That was without doubt one of the best races I’ve ever driven. My tactic worked perfectly. For us all, this was the first race with the new car and that was my chance. I came from tenth on the grid to second and that’s just incredible.”

Michael Ammermuller (third): “In the beginning I struggled a little, but then I gained more and more momentum. The car set-up was really good. I very much enjoyed the fight for the podium.”

Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, fifth): “My start was very good and I was able to make up one place. My first lap also ran quite well but then I made a mistake. Michael’s car took up a lot of space beside me and I ended up on the dirty part of the track. This also gave Nicki the chance to overtake me. I couldn’t catch him and had to settle for fifth at the flag.”

Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, seventh): “The race started really well. I was able to overtake two rivals. Afterwards I held back slightly so that I could attack again in the second half of the race. Considering it’s my first race I’m satisfied with my result, but next time I have to make sure everything goes 100 percent in qualifying and I can start further up the grid.”

Sébastien Loeb (Guest driver Porsche AG, eleventh): “In the first laps I was somewhat cautious. I know how easy it is to get tangled up in a skirmish with such a close field. I wasn’t able to get much further ahead. When you have so many strong drivers ahead of you who are all going the same speed there is not much chance to overtake. Still, it was huge fun. As each day went by I felt increasingly better in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and now I’m looking forward to the race in Monaco. There, the qualifying is more important of course and hopefully I can start from a little further up the grid.”

Jean-Karl-Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, twelfth): “When you take off from 17th you really can’t expect too much in the race. I tried to do what I could and managed to make up five positions. In Monaco we definitely have to be better in qualifying.”

Barker enjoys 'highs and Loeb's' on Supercup debut

Media release: 12th May 2013

Source: Porsche AG

Ben Barker recorded a top ten finish on his debut in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, scoring points first time out at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Having had his pre-season testing programme curtailed by a series-wide recall of parts by Porsche, the practice sessions in Spain represented only Barker’s second outing in the Team Bleekemolen car, but he defied his similar inexperience of the Barcelona circuit to post times in the top six, and reported improvements to the handling of the new 991-based 911 GT3 Cup machine as he and the team made a raft of changes throughout the session. 

With confidence high before qualifying, Barker believed that he could compete for a place in the front few rows, but a couple of small mistakes on his first run left him towards the tail of the top ten, dropping to 13th as some of his rivals used new tyres to go quicker on their next attempt. Bolting on his own set of fresh rubber, the Briton climbed a couple of spots in the order, but was left to rue another small error on his best lap.

“I locked up in the middle sector, and that probably cost me three-tenths of a second,” Barker confirmed, “I was among the fastest of all through sectors one and three, so would definitely have been higher up the order. However, I wasn’t far off the pace, and we knew that there was time in the car.”

Barker’s time still put him ahead of some illustrious company, with nine-time World Rally Championship winner Sebastian Loeb and former British Touring Car champion and World Touring Car racewinner Alain Menu both behind him on the grid. At the start of the 14-lap race, however, the Briton lingered a little too long on the clutch, allowing Loeb to get the better of him on the run to turn one, but wasted little time in returning the compliment, taking the place back from the Frenchman into the hairpin on the opening lap.

With Supercup regular Kevin Estre sidelined before the start, the battle with Loeb would become one for a top ten finish, as well as being a highlight for both the spectator at the circuit and watching live on Eurosport, where both drivers received a good deal of airtime. Loeb’s on board camera caught the Frenchman’s attempt to wrest the spot back at the hairpin – only to also show Barker cutting back under the ‘guest driver’ to reclaim the advantage!

Once back ahead of his rival, Barker was able to establish a cushion that ensured he was able to cross the line in tenth place, securing six points towards his championship campaign, but was unable to bridge the gap that he opened out in front whilst he was battling.

“The scrap with Sebastian was great!” Barker enthused, “It may not have been for the podium, but it was good to come out on top and make sure I finished in the top ten on my Supercup debut.

“Running on old tyres, however, meant that it was difficult to close the gap to the cars ahead of me once I had built a gap back to Loeb, so tenth was as good as it got on the day. I was beginning to edge closer towards the end of the race, but wasn’t entirely happy with the brake balance,  and pressing on meant that there were a couple of leery moments as well.

“Tenth place is a good return for my first race in the series though, and it was good to come home with no damage to the car. I think I showed good pace across the weekend and can now realistically hope for better results as the season goes on. I want to be aiming for the top five from now on, beginning in Monaco next time out. I enjoy street circuits – and have already won around Monaco – so I can’t wait to get there!”

The second round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup takes place in Monaco over the weekend of 24-26 May.