With Porsche’s return to the top level of racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship two-years ago, they are still considered relative newcomers. Despite the disadvantages one might expect a team to cope with as they restart their quest for glory, Porsche’s ne-two victory at Le Mans in June, and then 5 victories in-a-row, guarantees them the Constructors’ Championship despite the fact there remains one more race in the season. Here’s how we got to this point:
End of 2011
Recruiting begins (status those days: Fritz Enzinger plus five more employees).
An office building and the workshop are built. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas are announced as the first drivers.
June 12, 2013
Roll-out of the first 919 Hybrid at the test ground in Weissach with Timo Bernhard at the wheel.
Testing on various race tracks in different countries, team preparation in Weissach going on with, for example, 1053 pit stops practiced. Drivers Neel Jani, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb are announced. The team of Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, grows to 230 people. Alexander Hitzinger is Technical Director, Andreas Seidl becomes Team Principal.
The driver combinations are confirmed: Bernhard/Hartley/Webber and Dumas/Jani/Lieb.
March 4, 2014
Presentation of the Porsche 919 Hybrid alongside the 911 RSR at the International Auto Salon in Geneva.
April 20, 2014
Podium finish at the race debut: Bernhard/Hartley/Webber come third at the six-hour race at Silverstone.
May 2, 2014
First pole position in the second race: Jani/Lieb are fastest in qualifying in Spa-Francorchamps.
June 15, 2014
Le Mans: Marc Lieb crosses the line in 11th place overall. Less than two hours before, the car was fourth when it had to pit for a long repair because of a gearbox issue. Almost at the same time Mark Webber, second in the race, had to give up due to an engine failure. Both 919 Hybrids had problems earlier in the race as well (fuel system No 14, suspension No 20), but caught up brilliantly. Towards the end of the race car number 20 was leading for a long time.
October 12, 2014
In Fuji a 919 sets the fastest race lap for the first time (Webber).
November 15, 2014
For the first time both car crews make it onto the podium: In Bahrain Dumas/Jani/Lieb finish second in front of Bernhard/Hartley/Webber.
November 25, 2014
Announcement of a third Porsche 919 Hybrid entry in Spa and Le Mans in 2015.
Porsche signs Nico Hülkenberg to drive a third 919 Hybrid in Spa and Le Mans in 2015.
November 29, 2014
For the first time the two 919s lock out the front row: In São Paulo Bernhard/Webber manage to achieve the fourth pole position for the 919 Hybrid.
November 30, 2014
In São Paulo Dumas/Jani/Lieb achieve the maiden win for the 919. It is the sixth podium finish in the debut season and a success under dramatic circumstances, because Mark Webber suffers a heavy accident with less than 30 minutes race time left. Luckily he escapes without any severe injuries.
December 15, 2014
First roll-out of the 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid at the test ground in Weissach with Marc Lieb at the wheel.
February 5, 2015
In Paris Porsche announces Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy will complete the crew for the third 919 Hybrid.
March 26, 2015
Presentation of the second generation Porsche 919 Hybrid in Paul Ricard.
April 12, 2015
At Silverstone the two 919 lock out front row for the first time. Pole position goes to Bernhard/Hartley/Webber who retire in the race. Dumas/Jani/Lieb finish second.
May 2, 2015
In Spa for the first time three 919s are entered – dress rehearsal for Le Mans. The trio takes the top three positions on the grid with Bernhard/Hartley/Webber being the pole sitters again. In the race they come third behind Dumas/Jani/Lieb. The LMP1 rookies Bamber/Hülkenberg/Tandy finish sixth.
June 10, 2015
As early as the first Le Mans qualifying two 919s break the seven year old qualifying record. Jani is fastest (3:16.887 min) ahead of Bernhard.
June 11, 2015
In the second qualifying at night Tandy gets the third 919 on P3.
June 14, 2015
Bamber/Hülkenberg/Tandy take the 17th overall Le Mans victory for Porsche. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber make it a one-two. Dumas/Jani/Lieb finish the thrilling race in fifth. After three championship rounds and with the double points for Le Mans, Porsche now leads the constructors’ standings.
August 30, 2015
The first appearance of the WEC in Germany brings another one-two: Bernhard/Hartley/Webber win at the Nürburgring ahead of Dumas/Jani/Lieb, who come second despite several stop-and-go penalties. In qualifying the order was vice versa. The 919’s new aero package brings a lot more downforce.
September 19, 2015
In Austin, again, the winners are Bernhard/Hartley/Webber. In qualifying they had come second with Dumas/Jani/Lieb taking pole but finishing the race only in P5 after an electronic problem.
October 11, 2015
Despite difficult weather conditions, in Fuji the third one-two is due: Bernhard/Hartley/Webber ahead of Dumas/Jani/Lieb. This had also been their grid positions, but at the end of the race it was a strategic swap of positions which allowed Bernhard/Hartley/Webber to take the lead in the drivers’ championship by one point.
November 1, 2015
With one race still to go, Porsche wins the Constructors’ World Championship. In Shanghai Bernhard/Hartley/Webber took their fourth win of the season with Dumas/Jani/Lieb once again crossing the line right behind them. No car other than a 919 had it made to front row in qualifying this year. In China the race winners had taken pole.
The tally after 15 races in total for the Porsche 919 Hybrid since its debut in 2014 is: eleven pole positions, six wins, four one-two wins, four fastest race laps, one World Championship title.
At the season’s finale in Bahrain on November 21st the drivers’ world championship will be decided. Currently Bernhard/Hartley/Webber are in the lead with 155 points ahead of the Audi drivers Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (143).