New exclusive deal with WEC
Porsche 911 Turbo to be Safety Car
The Porsche name is synonymous with endurance racing as one of the most successful and enduring marques, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans a record 19 times to become the most victorious with its iconic and instantly recognisable models through the years.
Now, for the first time, Porsche AG has supplied the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA World Endurance Championship with a fleet of official course cars including the official Safety Car(s). These were revealed just before the start of the WEC’s official pre-season test session, the Prologue, at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France (Friday 6th April 2018).
The Safety Cars, which will be specially-prepared Porsche 911 Turbos, are ready at any time to head out on track in case of on-track accidents, incidents or severe weather conditions. Also, in the fleet will be a Leading Car, Medical Cars and other high-performance vehicles which might be deployed by officials during a race weekend.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest commented: “To have a Porsche 911 as the Safety Car and for our official cars at Le Mans is more than symbolic. It’s perfectly in line with the very long and successful history that Porsche has with the Circuit des 24 Heures.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship said: “The Safety Car is part of the ‘show’ and, at this moment we couldn’t have a better sportscar than the Porsche 911 as the fast intervention vehicle on track. This is also a perfect illustration of the very close relationship between the WEC and Porsche.”
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport, explained: “We’re delighted to have the chance to supply the safety cars and intervention vehicles for the FIA World Endurance Championship until 2020. As a sports car manufacturer, it was rather easy for us to find a suitable car. Basically, many of our production models fit the bill for this special task on the race circuit. Ultimately, however, we chose the Porsche 911 as the safety car. In total, 16 vehicles from different model lines will fulfil different functions in the WEC.”
In order to keep the speedy prototypes at the front of the field running at an adequate speed to keep heat in their tyres and brakes, and drive cooling air through the radiators, the Safety car must be part of a special breed of high performance vehicles suitable for circuit driving. With that in mind, Porsche AG has specially prepared the 911 Turbo for the WEC races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The matte-black design with glossy red stripes is modelled on the Porsche emblem design of the factory race cars. With 540 bhp from a 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder turbo engine, 750 Nm of torque and a top speed of 320 k/ph, the all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Turbo is the perfect car for the task. The chassis stability, acceleration (0-100 k/ph in 3 seconds) and superior handling in all conditions make this the ideal car for its intended purpose. The Safety Car also features the ex-works Sport Chrono package ensuring the best possible intermediate acceleration, and the standard specification is such that the official drivers will be able to keep the cornering speeds high, but always in safety.
The Porsche 911 Turbo is a standard production model with steel brakes plus racing seats and full 6-point racing harnesses. An obvious major difference is the addition of the FIA-homologated light bar, that alerts drivers of the current track status, plus some highly sophisticated electronics which include the WEC in-car marshalling system which gives flag messages and brief information messages on a dashboard direct from Race Control, transponders to track the car’s position on a track, and a radio system allowing direct communication with Race Control.
WEC Safety Car Driver, Pedro Couceiro: “I’m really looking forward to the start of WEC Super Season. The beautiful 911 Turbo will be a fantastic fit for duty, just as a Porsche always is. It will be such a pleasure to be driving again officially with a brand that I know so well.”
In addition to the main Safety Car, Porsche AG will also be supplying a reserve Safety Car which is used as the Leading Car and is driven by FIA Driver Adviser and former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas. This car leads the race away for a formation lap before the official start is given (all WEC races have rolling starts) and can be also deployed by the Race Director at any time for official purposes.
Yannick Dalmas, FIA Driver Adviser: “Having seen these new cars, and checked the standard of preparation and installation of equipment, I can’t wait to drive the car. You get a real feeling of safety when you are in the driver’s seat, and we really appreciate how Porsche has listened to our feedback for the cars’ preparation and reacted so positively.”