Mark Webber surprised the motorsport world when he announced his retirement from Formula 1 in 2014, and he caught everybody in surprise by announcing that he will step back from his Porsche factory driver role, and consequently from competitive racing.
Webber announced his retirement plans during the press conference for the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan, meaning that he will compete only until the end of the current season in Bahrain. Although he will leave the competitions behind, his relationship with Porsche will continue as strong as it is now, as Webber will be a Porsche ambassador in events around the globe and will do some consulting in order to find young talents and amateur drivers for the sportscar programs of the Stuttgart manufacturer. Worth to remind that this is isn’t the first time we will see Webber’s name related with talent prospection as he was involved with Arden International in the past as an owner, which was the team that revealed fellow Porsche drivers Michael Christensen and Neel Jani.
Mark Webber’s history at Le Mans and sportscars dates back to before his F1 career, winning races in the FIA GT Championship in the GT1 class with Mercedes and their legend Bernd Schneider, but he was also part and victim of the failed Mercedes CLR project in 1999 at Le Mans as his car flipped in the air during practice and warm-up.
In his sportscar return with Porsche, he was always alongside Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, and his big name raised the profile of the FIA World Endurance Championship attracting even those who aren’t that much interested into endurance racing. 2015 was his magical year, having his debut win at Nürburgring and achieving the FIA WEC title after other three victories and two podiums. It was also in 2015 that Webber and his team mates came close to Le Mans glory, only losing it to the wildcard Porsche that counted with current F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, meaning that this will be a milestone that will be left open.
With Webber’s exit, lots of rumors rose about his replacement, most likely to be Nick Tandy or Earl Bamber, as both proved their worth driving in LMP1 and LMP2.
PHOTO: FIA WEC