With the penultimate round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship approaching, Porsche Motorsport are hoping for an elusive WEC victory for the ‘new’ Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class.
Whilst between the two Porsche GT Team entries they have secured podium finishes eight times out of a possible fourteen, the top step has been just out of their reach.
Despite not having a victory to their name this season, Austrian Richard Lietz and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki are second place in the drivers championship in the #91 car, just five points behind the AF Corse duo of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi who have taken three victories so far and an extra two second place finishes.
“This will definitely be an interesting race.” said Lietz. “The racetrack puts tyres under extreme stress. A key to success here will be to take good care of the rubber without compromising on speed. I’m positive we have a good car for Shanghai. We’ll fight for our chance in the world championship.”
“We have to find a perfect setup for our 911 RSR and we hope that the weather doesn’t throw a spanner in the works. Every championship point is important for us.” added Makowiecki.
In the sister #92 car, Denmark’s Michael Christensen and Frenchman Kévin Estre share the driving duties as they look to do their best in assisting their team-mate’s to the title.
“I’m looking forward to Shanghai” said Christensen. “The races on this circuit were always interesting and fiercely contested. In Fuji recently things didn’t go so well for us. I hope we’re able to match the pace of the front-runners with our new 911 RSR at the second race in Asia this season.”
Team-mate Estre heads to Shanghai having never driven the circuit, he will be looking to get up to pace as quickly as he can, “A new country and a new racetrack for me – it’ll definitely be an interesting experience. I hope I can get to grips quickly with the Shanghai International Circuit during free practice and we manage to find the best possible setup for our new 911 RSR on this tricky circuit with its long straights.”
Porsche Customer battle
Elsewhere, there is a Porsche customer team leading the GTE-Am battle, with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing 2015-spec Porsche 911 RSR having only finished off of the podium once this season when they finished fourth at Circuit of The Americas.
German duo Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst will be joined once again by Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli from Italy who is looking forward to getting some race action this weekend.
“The race in Fuji was red-flagged before I got a chance to drive.” said Cairoli. “So I’m really looking forward to Shanghai, where my teammates and I want to extend our lead in the FIA Endurance Trophy.”
Brit Ben Barker, Australian Nick Foster and Khaled Al Qubaisi from Abu Dhabi will also be driving a 2015-spec 911 RSR for the Gulf Racing team
“The title race for the world championship remains gripping.” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars, “After their strong performance recently at Fuji, our drivers Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki still have the best chances to secure the crown of GT sport.
“The main thing for them in Shanghai is to secure another top result to be in the best possible for the season finale in Bahrain. As a team, we’ll support them to the very best of our ability.”
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports added, “Shanghai will probably be the second high-temperature race of the season after Austin, Texas. It looks like we’ll have to run the hardest tyre compound there to make it over the laps. Only those who get it right with the tyres will have a chance to win on this challenging circuit.”