Mark Webber is to leave Formula 1 at the end of the season, having signed a multi-year deal to join Porsche‘s FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans campaign.
The Australian, who currently races for Red Bull Racing, has already competed at Le Mans and finished second in the 1998 FIA GT Championship racing for Mercedes-AMG alongside Bernd Schneider. The following season came to an early end when an aerodynamic fault caused Webber to flip his car twice on the Mulsanne Straight during practice sessions for the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Joining Porsche’s new LMP1 campaign marks the 36-year-old’s return to sportscar racing, having achieved 9 victories, 36 podiums and 11 pole positions (at the time of writing) in his twelve years in Formula 1.
“It’s an honour for me to join Porsche on its return to the top category at Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship,” said Webber. “Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level. I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to drive one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”
Webber will be driving the new LMP1 car, designed by the Porsche Motorsport factory in Weissach, Germany. Joining Webber at Porsche in 2014 will be two long-time Porsche factory drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, along with ex-Formula 1 test driver and A1GP champion, Neel Jani.
“I’m very pleased to have secured Mark Webber for our LMP1 project as one of the best and most successful Formula 1 drivers of our time,” said Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, Wolfgang Hatz. “Mark is without doubt one of the world’s best race drivers, he has experience at the Le Mans 24 hours race, and on top of that he’s been a Porsche enthusiast for many years.”