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Timo Bernhard

Timo Bernhard Celebrates 20 Years with Porsche

As of 2019, Timo Bernhard is the longest-serving Porsche works driver. While his highest profile victory came in 2017, with his upset Le Mans victory, Bernhard has been putting rubber to the road for two full decades as of this month. Of the current drivers, he’s also the only one to have won championships at every level of the « Porsche Pyramid. » Bernhard won the German Carrera Cup in 2001, won the GT title in ALMS in 2004, won the ALMS LMP2 class in 2007 and 2008, and won the FIA WEC crown in 2015 and 2017. As much as any Porsche model, the man is a machine built for victory.

Becoming Indispensable

Becoming a Porsche Junior was not a step Mr. Bernhard expected to take, “I went along, but had no expectations at all,” yet after testing at Misano, Mr. Bernhard left a Porsche Junior. Indeed, he still has the letter affirming his newfound status.

« To be honest, I didn’t really know what was in store. At that time I didn’t think beyond the next race, and only gradually came to understand what a big opportunity this was for me and what the Porsche legend really meant, » reflects Bernhard. Back in 1999, he could not have anticipated that by 2013 he would be the first person to test the marque’s triumphant return to top tier endurance racing.

Though he began in the Carrera Cup, Bernhard would become indispensable to Porsche’s motorsports development. He piloted the 919 Hybrid on its first rollout, and notes that  “(I) was involved in the development of the new car from the beginning. Driving the car for the first time in the rollout was a very proud moment.”

Upon entering in to competition in the new car, Bernhard proved formidable. After a slightly rocky 2014, subsequent seasons brought victory after victory. In 34 total entries in the 919 Hybrid Bernhard and his teammates landed on the podium an astonishing 23 times, and racked up no less than a dozen outright victories.

To Bernhard, this level of success was not a given. “When I started at Porsche as a junior in 1999, I wouldn’t have dared dream that some day I might get the opportunity to fight it out for the overall victory in Le Mans, and be good enough to actually pull it off. »

Breaking Records

But his successes don’t end with his competition record. Bernhard, a five-time overall winner of the 24 Hours Nürburgring, was just the man to break the all-time lap record at the Green Hell. Stefan Bellof’s 1983 lap record stood for twenty-five years before Bernhard shattered it by an astounding 51.58 seconds, with a time of 5:19.55. Though Bellof’s time remains the fastest-ever lap by a competition-legal car, a record that is unlikely to ever be broken, breaking the outright record remains an impressive feat.

Looking to the Future

Following Porsche’s exit from top-tier endurance racing, Bernhard has refocused his effort. At present he is splitting his time between driving for Porsche, and driving Porsches for the team he runs with his father; KÜS Team75 Bernhard. Since last year he has been racing a GT3 R in ADAC GT Masters, appearing in Super Sports Car League, and supporting his team’s efforts in karting, Porsche Sports Cup, ADAC GT4, and numerous endurance racing events.

As Porsche fans, we’re proud to have had a driver like Mr. Bernhard around for so long, and we wish him decades of continued success with Porsche, both on and off the track.

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A Gamer’s Dream Realized: Sampling a GT3 Cup in Barcelona

Anto realizing his childhood dream in a GT3 Cup.

While their parents might’ve detested the idea of their child wiling their time away playing endless rounds of Gran Turismo, some of those eager pupils made it pay. Over the last decade, dedicated gamers have managed to sneak their foot into the world of professional motorsports, and some major marques have kept their eyes peeled for talent in this new arena. Porsche, always looking for a new crop of drivers, embarked on their own quest to find the best e-racers, and determine just how well a virtual education pays off in the real world.

With massive partnership with the E Sports League (ESL), Microsoft, and Turn 10 on their Forza Motorsport platform, Porsche’s GT3 RS Challenge set several young drivers on their way. First, the « Virtual Clash » put 12,000 drivers against one another in the virtual world, then they were whittled down to the fastest 8, who battled again at the prestigious href= »http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/flatsixes/~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmBOiRAXibY »>the Gamescom final.

Of those 8, Porsche took the best 4 and strapped them into an actual Carrera S at Leipzig; learning how to fine-tune their inputs to suit the real thing. After making the necessary adjustments to their steering, braking, and throttle application, they graduated to the GT3 RS and a new track: The Hungaroring. The fastest of the 4, Anto, was then flown from Budapest to Barcelona, where he got to try his hand at driving a bonafide racing car at the ragged edge of adhesion.

Anto’s exploits should push any aspiring racer to consider the burgeoning platform that is e-racing. While simulators were once derided, we’ve seen that experience online can translate onto the actual racetrack. With the instruction of Andre Lotterer and Timo Bernhard, Anto was able to exploit a GT3 Cup Car around Circuit de Catalunya, and get a taste of that which he’s dreamt about since he could remember. Since then, Anto’s progressed into the Lamera Cup and continues to chase his dream.

Godspeed, Anto.

The champion clearing his mind before the challenge of a lifetime.

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Three Racing Veterans Reminisce on Their Time with the Porsche Family

Since parting company with the 919 Hybrid, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, and Timo Bernhard have returned to their roots in GT racing, with each of them driving for Porsche’s customer teams at this year’s 24 Hours of Spa.

Recapping on nearly two decades of racing, much of which they shared as teammates, the three drivers have clearly lost none of the motivation which got them to the top step of sportscar racing.

Though battling in GT3 Rs didn’t quite match the sheer speed of the 919 Hybrid which he helped develop, the thrill of the GT cars are just as appealing as the prototypes, as Bernhard elaborates:

« There’s a lot more movement, obviously. But, to run Eau Rouge in a GT car, it’s—it’s less in speed, but it’s not less in excitement compared to an LMP1 car, because the car is moving quite a lot; you’re sliding, drifting a bit. It’s a bit more old-style, I would say. »

Though Dumas and Bernhard have continued racing full-time, Lieb made a major professional change recently. The former driver and engineer recently became Porsche’s newly-appointed Head of Customer Racing. Fifteen years racing for Porsche gave Lieb the intimate understanding of the sport and the business that will help him expand the marque’s already-sizable customer racing base.

(Left to right) Lieb, Dumas, and Jani pose on the podium after their victory at Le Mans in 2016.

It’s a pleasure to witness these three seasoned veterans’ ever-present smiles and hear them wax lyrical about their times with the marque—to see that their enthusiasm for motorsport, in all its forms, still flows out of every pore. Truly, to be become part of the Porsche family is an honor and a privilege, as these drivers demonstrate.

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Vidéo : la Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo à l’attaque lors de son record au Nürburgring

Le 29 juin 2018, Porsche a battu son propre record sur le mythique tracé du Nürburgring, 35 ans après le chrono historique de Stefan Bellof. Après la Porsche 956 C, Timo Bernhard signe le nouveau record absolu à bord de la Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo en 5’19″546. Découvrez en détail la LMP1-H optimisée pour l’occasion en cliquant ici.

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La Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo établit un nouveau record au Nürburgring !

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo

La Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo établit un nouveau record au Nürburgring ! Ça y est, c’est fait ! Il aura fallu 35 ans pour que le record absolu de la célèbre boucle nord du Nürburgring tombe, lui qui avait été établi à l’époque … sur Porsche !

Cet article La Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo établit un nouveau record au Nürburgring ! est apparu en premier sur The Automobilist.

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