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Porsche Claims GTE-Pro and GTE-Am Victories in WEC 1000 miles of Sebring

Michael Christensen (DK), Kevin Estre (F) leading the field at Sebring

Sebring is signaling great things for Porsche, with victories at both the WEC and IMSA events. In Friday’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring, the weekend’s WEC event, Porsche managed first place finishes in both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. The winning Pro car, #91 driven by Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, finished a lap ahead of their teammates Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen in the #92 car. The winning GTE-Am Dempesy-Proton 911 RSR was piloted by Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell, Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer, and Christian Ried.

Gianmaria Bruni (I), Richard Lietz (A) in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR


Porsche’s qualifying results were surprisingly mixed for the GTE-Pro cars, with one pole and an eighth place result. Michaelson and Estre ran a near-perfect qualifying session in the #92 car, achieving pole position with a blistering 1:57.500 lap. During qualifying the Porsche GT Team kept both cars in the pits during the early phases of qualifying. This allowed the team to avoid the heavy traffic evident early in the session, and emerge into a more open track on fresh tires.

This performance gained an additional championship point for the Michaelson and Estre. Lietz and Bruni qualified in eighth place, 0.613 seconds down from the leaders. According to eventual race-winner Gianmaria Bruni;

 “We’re probably the only team who opted out of using another set of fresh tyres. That was the right decision, because early on in my qualifying stint the track was so dirty that the first lap was only good for cleaning up the rubber. In the second lap I caught up to an Aston Martin. Otherwise I would have definitely done better than position eight.”

The lead GTE-Am cars of Dempsey Proton and Project 1 locked out the first row on the grid. Australian Matt Campbell proved to be the fastest in GTE-Am, with a qualifying time of 1:59.790. The Project 1 911 RSR of Bergmeister, Lindsey, and Perfetti qualified second, 0.145 seconds behind the leaders.

The Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (91), Gianmaria Bruni (I), Richard Lietz (A)


The 1,000 Miles of Sebring was subject to numerous changes prior to the beginning of the season, being shortened from 1,500 miles to 1,000, and ultimately capped at just 8 hours. These quirks made the Sebring event the only event of its length in the 2018-2019 WEC calendar.

Unfortunately Lietz and Estre were unable to continue their qualifying success through the 8-hour event. Early race collisions, first involving a pair of AF Corse Ferraris, and then the Aston Martin of Darren Turner resulted in a drive-through penalty for the #92 car, costing Lietz and Estre their lead. Due to limited overtaking opportunities at Sebring, the #92 car was unable to regain their lead.

A remarkably rapid pit stop for tires evaporated the leading BMW’s lead with less than 25 minutes left in the race. The #91 car of Bruni and Lietz were able to move into the lead, which they would retain through the end of the race. From Gianmaria Bruni:

“It’s a fantastic result for us drivers and for Porsche. The way the team managed to catapult us to the front at the last pit stop was simply sensational. This shows just how special our crew is. The fact that we were able to win the 1,000-mile race at the return of the WEC to Sebring is incredible. For me personally it’s even more special: it’s the first time I’ve won a race for Porsche. That means so much to me.”

And Estre:

The rain at the end was a blessing. Gimmi managed to keep the car steady on the wet track, and the team worked at lightning speed. That was the decisive factor in the race. Everything ran perfectly for us. I’m totally over the moon with my first win of this season.

Dempsey Proton Racing 911 RSR (77), Julien Andlauer (F), Matt Campbell (AUS), Christian Ried (D)


In the GTE-Am category, Dempsey Proton Racing brought the marque a second victory. Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell, Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer, and Christian Ried performed consistently, moving from pole position to ultimate victory. Project 1, with drivers works drivers Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti secured a third place finish, with the Gulf Racing car of Thomas Preining, Ben Barker and Michael Wainwright finished Fourth. Porsche’s appearance at Sebring was rounded out by a seventh place finish by the #88 Dempsey Proton car of Mattero Cairoli, Giorgio Roda, and Gianluca Roda.

Results and Gallery

Following this race the #92 car of Christiansen and Estre retain their points lead in the championship, with the #91 car still in second position. In the manufacturer’s standings Porsche has a lead of 100 points over Ferrari, and 102 over Ford.

GTE-Pro class
1. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 226 laps
2. Tomczyk/Catsburg/Sims (D/NL/GB), BMW M8 GTE, 226 laps
3. Priaulx/Tincknell/Bomarito (GB/GB/USA), Ford GT, 225 laps
5. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 225 laps

GTE-Am class
1. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 221 laps
2. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 221 laps
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 221 laps
4. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 221 laps
7. Roda/Roda/Cairoli (I/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 219 laps


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New Generation Batteries Inbound by 2020 and Taycan Interest Swells

The future is electric, and Porsche is embracing the change. Per CEO Oliver Blume; « Electromobility means a high level of efficiency and outstanding performance, making it a fantastic fit for Porsche. » The models Porsche currently produces reflect this. With hybrid models in three segments, the brand is leading the market in hybrid systems integration. Indeed, Porsche is unique in positioning plug-in hybrid models at numerous points in the model range. In the case of the Panamera, hybrids are available at both extremes of the spectrum, including the top-performing Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

Hybridization is not the end of Porsche’s commitment to an environmentally-conscious future. Per Mr. Blume; « we are unconditionally committed to the Paris climate protection objectives. Ultimately, as car manufacturers it’s very clear that we have a responsibility to reduce CO2 emissions from transport. » The next phase, heralded by the upcoming Taycan, signals several pieces of new technology.

The next generation of batteries is reportedly coming next year. The new technology will increase the ampere-hours of Porsche’s battery cells from 37 to 47. The update will facilitate longer ranges, which will benefit Porsche products.

Understanding the Shift to Electrification

EU CO2 limits are due to decrease by 35% by 2030. In the scope of an automotive product cycle, this is an extremely short amount of time. Like higher-volume manufacturers, including those also under the Volkswagen corporate umbrella, Porsche is obligated to comply with the new regulations. Rather than allowing other brands to take up the brunt of the change, Porsche is opting to lead from the front.

According to Mr. Blume, though Porsche’s market share is comparatively small, he and the executive board have decided it is out of the question to do anything other than set a positive example for the rest of the market. Though the projected carbon dioxide figures are « extremely ambitious, » Mr. Blume believes that Porsche will be able to meet or exceed the new limits in the time allotted.

In addition to the eagerly-awaited Taycan and Taycan Cross-Turismo, the next generation Macan is due to be all-electric. Though no plans are currently in place to make the 911 all electric, Mr. Blume, even indicating that the 911 will be offered with an internal combustion engine as long as is legally permissible, does note that the 992 is being developed to be hybrid-capable.

Demand for Taycan Swells

We, among others, are extremely eager to see the new Taycan when it debuts in September. In the interim, Porsche is registering interest in the model to help scale initial production. So far, the brand has confirmed interest from more than 20,000 prospective buyers worldwide. Registration of interest is accompanied by a €2,500 downpayment on the as-yet unreleased model.

Per Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG; “The overwhelming interest in the Taycan shows us that our customers and fans are just as excited about the first Porsche electric athlete as we are – and we’ve therefore increased our production capacities, (t)he Taycan will be the most sporty and most technically advanced vehicle in its segment – a true Porsche.”

The Taycan will debut in September, and is due to launch before the end of the year. Quoted performance figures include a 0-62 mph sprint of « considerably less » than 3.5 seconds, and a range of more than 500 kilometers when measured by NEDC standards.


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Cars to buy in 2019

The winter road salt is beginning to recede, and the days are getting longer and warmer. Summer is on its way, and with it, the promise of another season of driving excellence at the wheel of your favourite Porsche 911. But which 911? If you’re thinking of a change to your stable or have your eye on something new for 2019, then look no further than Total 911’s annual and ever-popular ‘cars to buy’ guide to help steer you in the right direction.

There remain bargains to be had when comparing 911s with other models in the same price point, while many other models still represent guaranteed investment-grade quality, providing you’re prepared to play the long game. There’s also a host of 911s ready and willing to provide you with oodles of fun – more fun than any amount of cash in the bank can offer. So wether you’re looking for road or track-based frolics, a great value 911 or a decent investment proposition, we’ve got the answers readily compiled for you over the next 12 pages.

And don’t just take our word for it. Once again we’ve sought the opinions of experts from around the industry, those who work within the Porsche marketplace on a daily basis, and whom in the ensuing years have seen values of cars peak and dive, and trends come and go, building a healthy resistance against market naivety as a result – and their knowledge and insight is hereby being passed exclusively to you. We’ve asked more specialists than ever, our panel this year offering wisdom from a combined 101-years of experience selling fine Porsche. As a result, no other resource will offer such a compelling insight as to what 911 models you should be focussing on for 2019.

This year, to reflect the breadth of 911s on offer, we’ve split the experts’ choices into three categories: best value, long term investment, and outright fun, all of which provide compelling options for a variety of budgets. It makes for a tantalising read: have your wallets at the ready as we present the 911s to buy for 2019…


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Herbert Ampferer: tales from Weissach

Herbert Ampferer is Austrian, and as soon as he finished his engineering studies at Steyr, his only thought was to get away to avoid military service which, 25 years after the war, had become extraordinarily unpopular. “I went to Sweden – thought I might find engineering work there. One evening I met a fellow Austrian in a bar in Stockholm, and over a beer I said to him I had two priorities: a girlfriend and a job.

“He thought he could help with the second and suggested that a sports car company in Stuttgart where he worked could probably find a place for me. It was called Porsche. I had never heard of it, but within a few weeks I had swapped Stockholm for Stuttgart and found myself employed at Zuffenhausen. I went straight into the engine department. I liked it immediately because of its ‘Austrian’ atmosphere.”

This was just as well because his first task was Entwicklungsauftrag EA 266, the project to build a small VW with an air-cooled engine beneath the rear seat: “It was horribly complicated,” recalls Ampferer. “Bent drives, drives running round corners… unbelievably complex.” It was a relief to move to the 924 project, intended as a joint venture with Audi which Porsche ended up taking over. In doing so it inherited the VW water-cooled four-cylinder engine: “It was a high-compression OHC unit with a long stroke that gave good mpg. But the cast-iron block was heavy. It was the beginning of Porsche’s learning curve with in-line water-cooled engines.”

It was the beginning of Ampferer’s learning curve too; the Audi unit would be reworked: “We put in a forged-steel crankshaft and extra-large main bearings, and we used screws for valve adjustment rather than Audi’s shims; we cut recesses into the pistons to avoid damage if the cam belt broke. We also had to redesign the manifold to fit the 924’s limited space. A deep sump kept the engine height low, and I finned it, which saved fitting an oil cooler.”

As well as working on all versions of the 924, including the GT, he would go on to develop the 2.5 for the 944: “A very interesting project that was much more than just half a 928 engine. We had to design the 2.5 to fit the front suspension. The inspiration for the balancer shafts came from Mitsubishi; they added 12kg, but there was negligible additional friction. We built a prototype 924 engine with balancer shafts – you’ll find my signature on the first drawings of them!”

Chief of the engine department was Robert Binder; he recognised the young Ampferer’s raw talent early and put him to work on turbocharging. At that stage in early 1973 Porsche was studying the use of turbochargers – proving so successful in the Can-Am 917 racers – in road cars. “Valentin Schäffer had already done most of the development on the racing turbo. My job was to draw the concept for the road cars. The main difference is packaging: racing cars are open everywhere, so heat dissipation isn’t difficult, but acceptable styling for road cars meant we had to find ways of defusing this heat. There was also the problem of drivability – a racing car has the throttle either wide open or closed, but for road use you need part throttle openings. The turbochargers we had then were basically made for diesel engines, and they were not readily mappable to the requirements of petrol. When we had gone as far as we could with that, we then had to design the wastegate to retain exhaust pressure within the system so that when the throttle was released, the turbo did not stop turning.”

For the full interview with engineer Herbert Ampferer on Weissach’s secrets, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 176 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.


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Porsche index: 993 Carrera buying guide


As the last 911 to feature air-cooling, the 993 cemented its place among the pantheon of Neunelfer greats, but its talents run deeper than just acting as a historical milestone. For one thing it built on the modernity that had been introduced with the 964, not least by featuring the clever multi-link LSA (lightweight, stability, agility) rear suspension that finally banished the tricky handling reputation for good. It further improved the quality of the 911’s construction in all areas that mattered, from an impressively stiff body – it was claimed to be 20 per cent stiffer in Coupe form compared to the 964 – to a richly appointed and hewn-from-solid cabin.

A major advancement, much of the credit for its appeal should go to Tony Hatter, who styled a body that was both notably redolent of earlier models and aerodynamically effective. Claimed to be 80 per cent new, the shell shared just the roof and bonnet with its predecessor. Under the rear decklid sat the M64 3.6-litre motor, although notable changes included lighter and stiffer internals, improved lubrication and freer-flowing inlet and exhaust systems.

The result was an increase in power to 272bhp, a figure that would swell further in 1996 when the VarioRam induction system was fitted to provide 285bhp and a slight increase in torque. Also improved was the manual transmission, now a stronger and slicker-shifting six-speed unit, or buyers could opt for the revised Tiptronic automatic, which now featured shift buttons on the steering wheel. Much of the interest, however, was reserved for that new rear suspension, it proving mightily effective in finally taming the 911’s less desirable handling traits. Mounted on a cast-alloy subframe, the set-up both reduced squat and dive and provided closer control of the geometry for greater confidence near the limit.

Launched in Coupe form initially, the 993 range would grow to encompass a Cabriolet in 1994, followed a year later by the Targa, although this latter model was rather ingenious. Doing away with the slightly cumbersome lift-out panel, Porsche provided fresh-air thrills by using what amounted to a large glass sunroof that slid away beneath the rear window. Not everyone’s cup of tea, admittedly, but an interesting option all the same. Production ended in 1996, though the 993 has always been held in high esteem by enthusiasts since.

For your full, in-depth buyer’s guide to the 993 Carrera, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 176 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.


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