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Reaction to Mark Webber’s Porsche move

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Jenson Button

The reaction to Mark Webber’s decision to quit Formula 1 and switch to endurance racing with Porsche has captured the attention of the media across the world.

To be honest we’ve been a little surprised by how much coverage there has been, especially in the F1 paddock. Perhaps that says a lot about the high regard in which Mark is held, where his no nonsense and honest approach is greatly appreciated.

So here’s a grab of some of the comments that have been made since Mark’s move to Porsche was announced, starting with the FIA’s Thursday press conference ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

It’s interesting to note that Mark said his mind has been made up for some time, which adds more weight to the early rumours which first emerged in June last year and again in April this year.

Q: A momentous announcement from you today. Tell us the thinking behind the announcement of your retirement from Formula One. And how significant is the year, 2013 to 2014?

Mark WEBBER: Well, the timing is perfect for me. Very, very excited about my new chapter and the new challenge ahead. One of the most famous and most well-respected brands in automotive and motor racing in Porsche, so that’s something which personally I’m very satisfied about taking on. The decision has been there for quite a long time for me actually. So, I’ve known for quite a while, I’ve had a plan and I’ve stuck to it. But still, in the meantime, respecting the profession that I have now at this level and focusing on achieving very, very strong results in my last season in Formula One.


VIDEO: Autocar gets a turn in the new 911 GT3

991 Porsche 911 GT3

Autocar is the latest mag to get its hands on the all-new 991 911 GT3. And we’re going to spoil the outcome for you by saying that Steve Sutcliffe concludes his review with the words: “I think this is the best sportscar I’ve ever driven.”

As if telling you that is going to stop you from watching the clip for yourself!

Porsche WEC

Porsche has class

Porsche 911 RSR

Porsche has released a short highlights package from their winning effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They’re a company that has achieved great things at La Sarthe.

There’s the 16 outright wins, of course, but by winning the GTE Pro and Am categories this year they racked up the 99th and 100th wins for Porsche at the famous race.

Not a bad way for the new 991-based 911 RSR to debut in its first Le Mans race. We wonder what their return to LMP1 will bring in 2014?

And, as the closing sequence shows of the highlights video, Porsche is also a company that has a lot of class.

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OFFICIAL: Webber to race for Porsche in 2014

Mark Webber, 2014 factory Porsche driver

Mark Webber: factory Porsche driver. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think.

Sure, it’s not the most surprising news—over a year since it was first mentioned—but it’s now official that Mark Webber has been signed to drive for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from 2014 on a multi-year deal.

Whether multi-year translates to the five-year deal mentioned in April, or a more circumspect two–three year deal is not certain at this stage.

Mark has been a Porsche enthusiast for many years and his expertise and setup skills developed in Formula 1 should be a great boost to Porsche as it prepares for its 2014 LMP1 program.

“It’s an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team,” Mark said. “Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level.

“I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”

Porsche will run a minimum of two cars for the WEC series, with three likely for Le Mans. Other drivers confirmed for Porsche are Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Neel Jani.

Now that Mark’s F1 future is known the race will be on to see who replaces him at Red Bull Racing. Will it be Kimi Raikkonen or one of the Toro Rosso drivers, Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne?

Motorsports Porsche

An early look at the 2014 Porsche LMP1

2014 Porsche LMP1 testing at Weissach

On the day Sebastian Vettel extended his deal with the Red Bull F1 team it is quite fitting that the first official photos of Mark Webber’s new car have been published by Porsche today.

Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard was at the wheel for the first test session in the 2014 Porsche LMP1, which took place at the company’s Weissach test facility. Although the timing of the run, so close to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is coincidental Porsche says.

“We are well on schedule,” says Fritz Enzinger, who heads up the LMP1 program for Porsche. “Our newly formed team has worked with utmost concentration on getting this highly complex vehicle on the track as soon as possible. This allows us a few additional weeks for more testing and further development. From 2014, the regulations are primarily based on efficiency. This makes the competition amongst engineers more interesting and presents us with completely new challenges.”

Highlighting its commitment to the chase for outright success at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship, Porsche says it has assembled a team of 200 employees to help achieve its goals.

“I’m very proud that I was the one to take our baby through its first paces today,” said Bernhard. “Already now the car feels great. I look forward to testing the vehicle in the coming weeks and months with my friend and colleague Romain Dumas.”

BMW MINI Porsche

Isn’t that nice

MINI congratulates Porsche

In a rare show of inter manufacturer love BMW has passed on an official note of congratulations to Porsche for the 50th anniversary of the 911. They’ve done so as stewards of their own 50-year-plus icon the Mini/MINI.

There’s a full statement and more pics from BMW after the break, but this paragraph gets to the heart of the message:

It’s tempting to wonder how different history would have been without the creators of these two successful cars. Neither Sir Alec Issigonis nor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche had any inkling that their designs would come to be considered immortal icons of modern times. Indeed, you would have needed a very clear crystal ball to see that Porsche had just dreamt up the most successful sports car of all time and Issigonis the “world’s only cool small car”.

BMW also makes reference to that questionable MINI v Porsche publicity stunt at Road Atlanta back in 2010.


Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Edition revealed

Porsche 911 50th anniversary edition

Porsche has said happy birthday to its iconic 911 with this special 50th Anniversary Edition. Based on the 911 Carrera S it’s powered by a 294kW 3.8 litre flat six (increased to 320kW for the US market) and adorned with model specific 911 50 badging.

It will be presented to the public for the first time at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, 50 years after the very first 911 debuted at the same event.

Other notable features of the 911 50 are its wide body, taken from the Carrera 4, and retro-inspired treatments to the rear engine cover and Fuchs-like 20″ alloy wheels. The retro theme is carried inside, too, with green lettering on the main dash cluster and a pattern reminiscent of the original Pepita tartan on the electric leather seats.

Available in a flat black and two unique exterior colours—graphite grey and geyser grey metallic—the 911 50 is described as a limited edition, although no detail is given in the press release below as to the number of cars to be made.

The video after the break features a graphite grey 911 50 and an original 911 in the same colouring. The 991 is fantastic, of course, but that old skool 911 makes us go weak at the knees; it just looks so perfect.


Porsche Cayman S Black Edition

Porsche Cayman S Black Edition

The Porsche Cayman S is the latest to get the “Black Edition” treatment, and follows similar versions of the 911 and Boxster S.

Like the Boxster, the Cayman S Black Edition scores a modest 7kW power increase, raising peak power to 243kW. The 19″ wheels are sourced from the Boxster Spyder and offer increased diameter and width over standard Cayman wheels.

The Cayman S Black Edition is limited to 500 cars worldwide and a small number will be making their way to Australia. Local deliveries are scheduled to commence in September and the asking price remains at the regular Cayman S figure of $147,500 (plus on roads etc).

Press releases from Porsche AG and Porsche Australia follow.


OFFICIAL: Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

First filed 28 April.

Porsche has today released official info on the 911 GT3 RS 4.0—it’s been the worst kept secret around—and it will be limited to only 600 cars worldwide. With a 4.0 litre flat six engine sporting a crankshaft from the RSR racecar the GT3 RS 4.0 has 368kW (500PS).

Available only in white or black, performance from the sub 1400kg supercar is brisk, as you’d expect. Indeed, Porsche reckon the RS 4.0 can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 27 seconds.

Plastic windows, carbon fibre reinforced body panels and a lack of interior equipment help keep the weight down. A few suspension components from the GT2 RS have been re-used, as well, with an aim to sharpen this GT3 RS even further than the now old 3.8 litre RS.

Porsche claim this is the ultimate RS model, but the lack of carbon ceramic brakes as standard equipment means there is still room for improvement insofar as the ultimate track components go. With an asking price of €50K more than the RS 3.8 you’d reckon Porsche could have coughed up for the ultimate brakes.

We’d still say yes, of course, but perhaps this RS 4.0 can be described as being a bit of a parts bin run-out model, rather than a pure disciple of RS ideals.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0—basic specs

  • Engine: 4.0 litre flat six
  • Power: 368kW (500hp) @ 8250rpm
  • Torque: 450Nm @ 5750rpm
  • Weight: 1360kg (inc tank of fuel)
  • 0-100km/h: 3.9s
  • 0-200km/h: under 12s

The official press release from Porsche AG and all the pics released to date are available below.

UPDATE 1 May: Porsche Cars Australia tell us that less than 10 911 GT3 RS 4.0 models will be finding their way down under. Those lucky enough to be on the exclusive list will be asked to part with $409,100 plus on road costs.


Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 speculation increases

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 leaked image

First filed 15 April.

The 997 Porsche 911 is nearing the end of its very successful model cycle. For a while now there’s been rumours Stuttgart would see off the 997 with a limited edition 4.0 litre GT3 RS. Thanks to a price list posted to the Teamspeed forums, that speculation has increased.

There are some minor grammar discrepancies on the price list which cloud the authenticity of the information, however, it states the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 will have 368kW (500hp) and will be priced from €149,900 (approx €180,000 with taxes). That represents a €27.5K price premium and 31kW increase over the existing 3.8 litre 911 GT3 RS.

We expect that Porsche will release a GT3 RS 4.0, likely to be limited to 500-600 units. But, we’ll just have to wait and see how accurate this “price list” info really is.

[Source: Teamspeed]

UPDATE 19 April: You’re now looking at a leaked image of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, according to Teamspeed. We’re not so sure it is an official pic; Porsche press images usually feature “S GO” number plates. That aside, we reckon this image is likely to be pretty close to the mark.

Porsche Targa Tasmania

Porsche takes a look at Targa Tasmania 2011

Targa Tasmania 2011

At this year’s Targa Tasmania rally Porsche was celebrating two anniversaries, the first being the 20th running of Tasmania’s ultimate tarmac rally, the second being the 60th anniversary of Porsche in Australia.

The Porsche Musuem shipped over at least four cars to Australia to run in the event, including the iconic 911 SC to be driven by Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer; just as they did at the 1981 San Remo rally. There was even a Carrera GT road car on the Apple Isle during Targa. Clearly then, Porsche was taking this event very seriously.

You get the sense they were hoping Röhrl would write a fairytale story by winning the classic outright category, with Jim Richards to join in the winning fun in modern outright at the wheel of his 911 GT2 RS. In the end a driveshaft problem for Röhrl and a blown hose for Richards put paid to those hopes.

However, Porsche did have cause to celebrate when Rex Broadbent piloted his 911 Carrera RS to a fifth consecutive classic outright Targa Tasmania title.

After the break you can see how the Porsche media team captured the event over the course of the rally, as well as downloading three bonus AUSmotive wallpaper-friendly images. Simply click on any of the pics to view them in 2000px sizing.


Walter Röhrl drives the legendary Porsche 904

Porsche 904

Walter Röhrl, Porsche luminary and Targa Tasmania competitor, has taken to the track in a beautifully restored 904 GTS. The car is part of the excellent rolling Porsche Museum which makes sure its car go as well as they show.

With Röhrl at the wheel, the sleek coupé still has the ability to powerslide through corners, all while looking as stunning today as it did when it made its racing debut back in 1963.

Enjoy the footage after the break. Oh, we’re disappointed the Autoblog footage of Walter spinning the 904 didn’t make the final edit.

[Thanks to Wayne for the tip]