After six weeks of rumours, Porsche have finally confirmed the worst kept secret in Endurance racing this year, their driver lineup for the 2017 season at the annual Night of Champions award ceremony.
2015 Le Mans winners Nick Tandy (GB) and Earl Bamber (NZ) will rejoin the LMP1 squad along with ex-AudiSport LMP1 pilot Andre Lotterer (DE) for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. Tandy confirmed to SportsCarGlobal in November that he would be rejoining the LMP1 driver ranks, however, out of respect to Porsche and the other drivers we waited until the official announcement to bring you the news.
Lotterer and Tandy will join World Champion Neel Jani in the #1 car while Bamber will replace Mark Webber as team mate to Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard in what is now the #2 car.
Along with Tandy’s development work on the 2017 mid-engined 911 RSR, he and Bamber have been competing as works drivers for the German team in the IMSA Weathertech Series this year, so their return to the LMP1 program leaves two gaps in the US based program which will be filled by Laurens Vanthoor (BE) and Dirk Werner (DE) from AudiSport and BMW respectively.
The Belgian will join Frenchman Kevin Estre in the #911 CORE Autosport run car for the US-based series, while Werner partners retained factory GT Patrick Pilet (US) in the sister #912 machine.
Porsche Supercup champion Sven Muller has also been named part of the marque’s factory GT set-up, although his exact programme for 2017 is yet to be determined.
Porsche have previously announced a return to GTE-Pro racing in the WEC in 2017 with a pair of all-new mid-engined 911 RSRs with a works team, run by Manthey. This evening, the Weissach marque did not confirm the full line-up for its two-car WEC GTE Pro assault for 2017, but did name three of the programme’s drivers; Michael Christensen and 2015 champion Richard Lietz will remain with the marque, the pair having campaigned the sole #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche in the class in 2016. Joining them is Frederic Makowiecki (FR), who had been a Porsche WEC regular in the past but spent the past two seasons in IMSA.
Departing Champion Marc Lieb will, we believe, remain with the brand although his role is not yet known. However, he is a driver that offers huge engineering feedback to Porsche and has expressed publically that he wishes to become the first person to win Le Mans as both a driver and engineer, so we expect him to move into an engineering role at Weissach. Romain Dumas is unlikely to be retained in any way.