The maiden season of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) concluded with a double podium for the Porsche pilots. At the six hour race on the Shanghai International Circuit, Porsche factory drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) scored second place in the GTE Pro class at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Felbermayr-Proton team. Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda also clinched second in the GTE Am class with the 911 GT3 RSR from last year. With this, Felbermayr-Proton secured vice-championship honors in the FIA Endurance Trophy.
“That was no easy race for us. We can be happy with second place. That was the most we could do today,”said Richard Lietz. Marc Lieb commented, “Right from the start we knew that this track doesn’t particularly suit our car with its long corners. But the closing stage of the race was very good for us. We were able to show how fast the car is when the tarmac temperatures are not too high. It was a very interesting season. To drive on so many challenging circuits in different lands and continents was a fabulous experience for us all. Had we not come home empty-handed from Le Mans we would surely have been in contention for the title.”
On the morning before the start of the season’s final race of the new long distance championship a haze hung over Shanghai. The warm-up on the Grand Prix track located on the outskirts of the Chinese mega-city had to be cancelled due to poor visibility. But in the race the Porsche pilots kept a clear view. Richard Lietz got away excellently at the start and in the first corner moved into the lead of the GT field and held on to it in the opening phase of the race. Over the distance, however, it was not enough for the Porsche works drivers to score a third win of the season with the 911 GT3 RSR after their previous WEC victories at Spa-Francorchamps and Fuji. With consistently strong performances at the eight rounds of the season, they secured two pole positions and climbed the podium at six races.
Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda achieved a top three result even more often during the season, only missing out on a podium finish at one race. The trio celebrated three wins – at the twelve hour classic in Sebring, in Sao Paulo and in the desert of Bahrain. At the race in Shanghai, Paolo Ruberti took off from pole position and defended the lead over long distances with his teammates at the wheel of last year’s 911 run by Felbermayr-Proton. However, at the end of the race, in which there was not one caution phase, they had to settle for second place. Team owner Christian Ried is satisfied with how the season has panned out. “We’ve put on some great races as a team,” he said. “If we’d had a little more luck in Le Mans things might have looked a little different in the championship.”