The 2014 Porsche 911 racing season review
There isn’t a season that goes by where the Porsche 911 (in its various racing guises) doesn’t see success on the track. However, 2015 has not just been a race-winning year for Weissach’s creations, it has seen a championship crown added to the trophy cabinet too.
After creating a new American factory squad – Porsche North America Racing – to compete in the new-for-2014 United SportsCar Championship, success found came to Weissach at the very first major race of the year.
Porsche is synonymous with success at the 24 Hours of Daytona and, after a works absence of many years, Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet guided their factory Porsche 911 RSR to victory in Florida at the first time of asking.
Two months later, and still in Florida, the Tudor USCC circus headed to Sebring for the fabled 12 Hour race. Once again, it was a Porsche 911 RSR that came out on top in the GTLM class, though this time it was the no. 912 machine of Patrick Long, Michael Christensen and Jörg Bergmeister.
Neither of the two works 911 RSRs could mount a consistent championship charge after those opening salvos however, alongside Team Falken’s victory at Petit Le Mans, Weissach were able to secure the inaugural USCC manufacturers’ championship.
The Porsche 911 RSR’s success wasn’t limited to the USA in 2014 though. Weissach’s other works squad – Porsche Team Manthey – kicked off their second FIA WEC campaign in fine style with a GTE Pro one-two at Silverstone.
Throughout the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, Porsche failed to get a 991 RSR on the GT podium just twice (Fuji and Bahrain). At every other meeting, Porsche Team Manthey took home at least one piece of silverware, with Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet adding a second victory in Shanghai.
Of course, the highlight of any Porsche Motorsport campaign is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, once again part of the FIA WEC calendar. Not only was Porsche looking to repeat its one-two finish of last season though.
For 2014, Weissach was back in the top class with the 919 Hybrid LMP1 car and, on its Le Mans debut it came achingly close to overall victory before mechanical gremlins struck the Mark Webber/Brendon Hartley/Timo Bernhard car with just a few hours left.
In GTE Pro, there was also to be no fairytale repeat of 2013. However, Makowiecki, Lietz and Marco Holzer were able to guide one of the Porsche Team Manthey RSR’s to second after both cars’ charges were stymied by niggling problems.
To celebrate ‘The Return’, Le Mans also hosted an amazing one-off Carrera Cup race around the famous Circuit de la Sarthe. A points paying round of both the Carrera Cup GB and Carrera Cup France a number of Supercup hopefuls also took part.
Among them was Ben Barker, the British 911 ace who, after chasing down long-time leader, Kévin Estre forced the Frenchman to attack the kerbs too hard, causing a tyre blowout on the Mulsanne Straight.
This left Barker to take a memorable victory (to add to his maiden Supercup podium at Barcelona, the season opener). Meanwhile, Josh Webster fought his way passed Carrera Cup GB rival, Michael Meadows.
This set in motion a mid-season charge for the 2014/15 Scholarship winner. Webster, a GT racing rookie, dominated at Croft and made the most of Meadow’s misfortune at Rockingham to leap into a championship lead he would never loose.
Finally, it wouldn’t be far to shine some light on Earl Bamber. After becoming the 2014 Supercup Scholar, the Kiwi ace battled his way to the prestigious Supercup crown after a season-long battle with Barker’s teammate, Kuba Giermaziak.
Coupled with a superb outing at Petit Le Mans, Bamber’s speed and skill has seen him signed up to the Porsche North America Racing factory squad for 2015, meaning it all looks set for next season to bring just as much success as 2014.