New sports prototype
dubbed RS Spyder - Drivers for race premiere named
Stuttgart - Dr. Ing. h.c. F.
Porsche AG, Stuttgart, continues its long motorsport tradition with the
building of an open sports prototype for customer use in endurance racing.
Porsche expresses this in the choice of the name for the new racer: The
type designation "RS Spyder" stems from a long success story
which began back in 1953 with the Spyder 550 1500 RS. The first open
Porsche Spyders competed at the 1954 Carrera Panamericana. In 1956 Umberto
Maglioli clinched the first major overall win for Porsche driving a 550 A
Spyder at the Targa Florio in Sicily under race director Huschke von
Hanstein. This victory marks the start of a success streak that
preliminarily came to an end with a Porsche Spyder taking the overall win
at the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1997.
The new RS Spyder completed
an initial three-day test programme under race-like conditions on the
Estoril circuit in southern Portugal. Director of Motorsport Hartmut
Kristen summarises the results: "The new 3.4-litre V8 engine, the
transmission and chassis fulfilled the high expectations that we had after
the roll-out and first shake-down on our test track at the R&D centre
in Weissach. We are therefore very optimistic about further tests."
In Estoril, works drivers
Lucas Luhr (Monaco) and Sascha Maassen (Belgium) shared the cockpit of the
open sportscar that Penske Motorsports will enter in the Le Mans prototype
class 2 (LMP2) of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The pair pilots the
RS Spyder at its inaugural race on 1st October in Atlanta (USA) and at
Laguna Seca (USA) on 16th October. Emmanuel Collard from France joins the
duo for the "Petit Le Mans" race in Atlanta, which runs over a
distance of 1,000 miles or a duration of ten hours.
Luhr and Maassen won two GT
championships each with Porsche in the ALMS and secured victories in the
Gran Turismo class at virtually every major sportscar race, amongst others
at the Le Mans 24 hour race and in Sebring. Emmanuel Collard belongs to
the most experienced sportscar pilots. Together with Luhr and Maassen the
Frenchman won the Sebring 12 hour race in 2001 driving a Porsche 911 GT3
The test and race programme
that began at Estoril serves as preparation for 2006, when Penske
Motorsports will run two RS Spyders over the entire ALMS racing season and
assist Porsche in further developing the car for possible ALMS customer
teams in the future.
Porsche places trust in the
technical assistance and support for the LMP2 project from partly
long-standing sponsors, Michelin, ZF Sachs, Mobil 1, Hyatt and