The rumors of a heavy shakeup in the Porsche lineups for its LMP1 effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship were confirmed with the exit of Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb along with the retirement of Mark Webber, and it didn’t take long for the German manufacturer to confirm their replacements, as well the list of GT factory drivers with some new faces.
Confirmed at the Night of Champions event at Weissach, the new LMP1 drivers announced by Porsche were Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, making the step up from the GTE ranks while André Lotterer comes from the recently closed Audi LMP1 program, pretty spot on with the latest rumors.
Lotterer is like a sportscar legend thanks to his seven years of Audi, with three titles of the 24 Hours of Le Mans along with a FIA WEC title. Bamber and Tandy have in their favor their Le Mans win 2015 along with strong LMP2 performances from Tandy, which should boost Porsche’s hopes for a title defense in 2017.
On the GT side, Porsche confirms the speculations by calling Laurens Vanthoor from the Audi GT3 program and Dirk Werner from BMW. Werner is in fact returning to where he once belonged, as his early years with Porsche were quite productive. Vanthoor comes from a bittersweet win in the FIA GT World Cup along with everything he did during his stint with the GT3 class Audis, mostly raced with the WRT squad.
The lineups for the pair of Porsche 919 Hybrid machines in FIA WEC became like this: the No. 1 car will still have Neel Jani, now alongside Lotterer and Tandy, while the No. 2 puts Earl Bamber along with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
Vanthoor will go to America to race along with former rival Kevin Estre in one of the 911 RSR GTE to race in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, while Werner stays there to pair with Patrick Pilet, with Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz being the third drivers for the longer North American Endurance Cup. On Porsche’s return as a factory squad to FIA WEC in the LMGTE-Pro class, Lietz and Makowiecki will welcome Michael Christensen and a fourth driver yet to be named.