Porsche travels to round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC in Monza leading the series. The factory squad is determined to repeat last year’s victory in Italy. The clear goal this year is to claim the world championship title for the Porsche 911 RSR’s swan-song season in the GTE-Pro class.
The Porsche works team is well prepared as it heads to round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC in Monza. This marks the second time that the Italian high-speed circuit hosts the WEC. For the six-hour race, the squad from the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer has set itself a clear goal: After winning its class at Le Mans and last year’s Monza win, the team is keen to extend its lead in the world championship on 10 July. The Porsche GT Team fields two ca. 515 PS Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class. In the GTE-Am class, the customer squads Project 1, Dempsey-Proton Racing and GR Racing campaign five other nine-elevens.
“Last year in Monza, we achieved an unexpected win at our main rival’s home race – we’d like to do that again next weekend,” exclaims Alexander Stehlig, Director Factory Motorsport FIA WEC. “We’re currently leading all world championship rankings. We want to build on that and focus on clinching the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles. We’ve already achieved our first major goal of securing the class win at Le Mans with the latest Porsche 911 RSR. Now we’ve set our sights on taking home the really big trophies at the end of the year.”
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza can look back on a long and illustrious history. The first races in the Royal Park were contested as early as 1922, at that time on an oval circuit. The remnants of this are still admired today. The now 5.793-kilometre variant of the circuit with its long straights is geared towards high speeds. Since 1950, a total of 71 Formula 1 Grands Prix have been held on the circuit near the northern Italian metropolis of Milan. The FIA WEC conducted its official tests – the so-called prologue – at the Monza “Temple of Speed” before the 2017 season. In 2021, a six-hour race was held for the first time – at which the Porsche 911 RSR promptly won the battle in the GTE-Pro class after a close duel. At the midway mark of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, Porsche leads the manufacturers’ classification. The two driver pairings currently rank first and second in the drivers’ category.
The Porsche GT Team drivers
The two Le Mans class winners, Richard Lietz from Austria and Italy’s Gianmaria Bruni, join forces in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. These two currently lead the drivers’ championship. Their brand colleagues Kévin Estre from France and Michael Christensen from Denmark rank second in the standings. The two drivers in the No. 92 cockpit won the season-opening round in Sebring (USA).
The customer teams
Dempsey-Proton Racing fields two Porsche 911 RSR racers at the third WEC round of this year’s WEC. Team owner Christian Ried (Germany) shares driving duties in the No. 77 car with the two British racing drivers Harry Tincknell and Sebastian Priaulx. The No. 88 sister car is shared by Americans Fred Poordad and Patrick Lindsey with support from Belgium’s Jan Heylen. The No. 46 entry of Project 1 is driven by Switzerland’s Nicolas Leutwiler, Mikkel Pedersen from Denmark and Italy’s very own Matteo Cairoli. Ben Barnicoat and Oliver Millroy from the UK join forces in the No. 56 car fielded by the German customer team with the American businessman Brendan Iribe. GR Racing’s No. 86 car is helmed by the British drivers Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker as well as Riccardo Pera from Italy.
The schedule (all times CEST)
Friday, 8 July
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Free practice 1
Saturday, 9 July
9:00 am – 10:30 am: Free practice 2
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Free practice 3
5:30 pm – 5:40 pm: Qualifying GTE
Sunday, 10 July
Midday – 6:00 pm: Race
Drivers’ comments before the race
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “Monza is a track where I suspect our competitors will be slightly stronger. Last year we had a chance, now I think the others may have a slight edge due to their higher top speed. Nonetheless, we’re obviously trying to achieve a good result. As is the case on every race weekend, we have to work on finding a good setup in the practice sessions. Perhaps we can propel ourselves to the front of the field with an alternative or more aggressive strategy.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “Monza is the ultimate high-speed racetrack – every driver looks forward to it. This is the last time the GTE-Pro class will be contested there. That’s a real pity, of course, but it also gives us extra motivation to bring home another victory with the Porsche 911 RSR. My fellow Italians love motorsport. I’m certain that countless Tifosi will be at the track next weekend cheering us on: all the ingredients are there for a great weekend on an extraordinary circuit.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “Racing in Monza is always a highlight. We had a difficult race at Le Mans with our number 92 car, so we’re hoping to make amends. Our car should be competitive again this year. Last year, we prevailed in the face of tough competition. We want to repeat that performance next weekend. If we manage this, then maybe we can replace our colleagues in the sister car at the top of the championship standings and extend Porsche’s lead in the manufacturers’ championship. That’s our big goal.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “After our disappointing run at Le Mans, it’s good that the next round of the season will continue after a brief break. We want to win the world championship. To do that, we have to bring home maximum points again this year in Monza. I’m particularly looking forward to it because I wasn’t in the squad last year, so this is my first WEC race in Monza. I’m super excited to see all the avid Italian fans.”