Porsche drivers head to Mount Fuji hoping to take the lead in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, with Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz sitting just three points off the leading Ferrari.
Lieb and Lietz, drivers of the #92 911 RSR, have one victory to their name already this season, coming at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and will hope they can make the jump on Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni in the remaining three races at Japan, China and Bahrain.
“We won the Fuji round last year,” said Lieb. “The track seems to suit the 911. We’ll be trying everything possible to do better than recently in Austin. If we manage this then I’m sure we’ll be right up there.”
Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet will be behind the wheel of the sister #91 car, both run by Porsche AG Team Manthey, while two customer teams will look to take the spoils in the GTE-Am class, including the Le Mans-winning IMSA Performance Mahut.
“The fight for the WEC title is still open,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. “Weather will play a decisive role at Fuji. It can throw a few surprises at this time of the year. And of course we are hoping that our vehicles are spared the disruptions that hampered our efforts at the last two races. We are heading to Japan feeling cautiously optimistic.”
Elsewhere this week, Porsche announced its plans for its 2014 LMP1 World Endurance Championship challenge, confirming that the German marque will compete with two cars with three drivers per car. Currently signed up for 2014 are Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mark Webber, while Marc Lieb and Brendon Hartley scheduled to participate in the remaining 2013 test drives, with a decision on their future involvement to be made at the end of the year.
“Both the development of the LMP1 racing car as well as the creation of the racing team are progressing, but they also show that we are still faced with enormous challenges,” said member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, Wolfgang Hatz. “In 2014, our first year in the Championship, our common target is to operate on a similar level as our highly experienced competitors.”