After Porsche conquered the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 17th time yesterday, I felt it necessary to introduce a new acronym - PWLM. While obviously standing for Porsche Wins Le Mans, I want to explain the implications of this abbreviation.
By now, we all know the figures. However, since Porsche’s actual acronyms describe systems developed based on sweat and tears shed on the race track, I want to talk about how PWLM will influence the future of Porsche and more.
Once again in a similar fashion to the Bene Gesserit, Porsche can be considered a secret society. For crying out loud, they were prepared to take over the entire VW Group in the late 2000s.
RacingWell, Porsche is now unleashed (no NFS pun intended). After watching their Le Mans efforts over the weekend, I am convinced they’re not racing against the others. By now, Porsche is competing against itself. The third, non-podium, 919 that set a qualifying lap record is a hint here.
Porsche was already the most motorsport-savvy carmaker in the world, but now they’re determined to take things to a whole new level. Want to talk customer racing? Since the current 911 was launched, Porsche introduced a new racing incarnation every year. And when you take home such laurels, nobody in the management will be able to deny a greater budget for the track.
ImagePorsche has been hard at work developing a personal brand around Mark Webber lately. However, the Australian ex-F1 driver found himself in the second-place car yesterday.
It was Nico Hulkenberg who took the top spot under the spotlights, becoming the first active F1 driver to take Le Mans for 24 years. In fact, Hulkenberg was part of a trend that saw younger, more sprint-backgrounded racing drivers occupy the Le Mans grid this year.
Mark is a cool guy and an extremely-hard working individual and I’m looking forward to seeing how things pan out for him.
And since we’re talking Porsche’s celebrity racers, Patrick Dempsey also came second in class at Le Mans. And while his eyes were wet from the GTE-Am podium, rumor has it Martin Henderson may have taken his place in Grey’s Anatomy. Medical drama aside, I applaud Dempsey’s frank reaction to the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia spinning while chasing the 911 RSR his team was running. Let’s be honest here, we all think this way, but those with years of de la Sarthe experience have learned to hide such emotions.
The GT divisionThe Porsche road cars that benefit the most from their track-only activities are those coming from the GT division. As you’ve noticed, Andreas Preuninger’s crew have gone mental these days. For one thing, rumor has it they first tested the 911 GT3-suspensioned Cayman GT4 with a PDK and the lap times were too deep into Neunelfer territory. So now we only get a manual. Well, I can’t complain.
Porsche’s GT division was already working overtime before the company’s works team took home the 17th Le Mans win, but expect even crazier stuff to come from their labs in the future. The sticks will be on the house.
The turbos outside the Turbo, hybrid 911
Porsche’s turbo revolution is just around the corner and I’m referring to both the 911 and the Cayman/Boxster here. As I mentioned above, their engineers are planning to show everybody how it's done with variable compression ratio. I am desperate for a Ferrari twin-turbo drivability comparison.
After such focused development work on the 919 Hybrid racecar’s 2-liter single-turbo V4, no forced induction development should come as a surprise, so you’d better keep an open mind. With the exception a back-to-basics new entry-level model and the GTs, the entire line-up will be turbocharged. And the next-gen 911 will bring a plug-in hybrid.
Audi?Audi will have to look for different commercial material this year - Porsche’s 1-2 win has broken Audi’s five-win streak, while also tearing up the statistics talking that showed Audi had won thirteen of the last fifteen races in the 83-race history of the event.
Both the 2016 Q7 and the bits of the 2016 A4 we’ve seen so far sit below my expectations. Add it all up and it seems like the Vorsprung Durch Technic people are slowing down their pace.