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    The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I thought it would be wise to start a seperate thread so those of us that are interestedin this, can discuss freely (without going too much OT)

    Here is an interesting article by Bill Oursler to get us started:

    Bill Oursler looks at them Porsche Kissin’ Cousins


    Aren’t family businesses wonderful? Unlike their wholly owned public counterparts, these enterprises are not only tied to the idea of profit making, they’re likewise immersed at the same time in the often non-rational emotions of their private owners. The most recent example of this potentially self- destructive phenomenon can be seen in the near daily soap opera that is Porsche.

    Currently Porsche is in talks with Volkswagen to work out an arrangement that would see Porsche effectively become part of VW, with the latter gaining control of Porsche’s operations. The only problem here is that since 2005 Porsche has been purchasing VW stock and is reported to now own 51 per cent of the giant automotive manufacturer. In effect then Porsche would be giving up not only its power as the majority VW stock holder, but its power to determine its own fate.

    So, why would Porsche commit what in a sense is suicide after 60 years of existence? The answer, at least on the surface is the 9 billion Euro debt it has run up, in part to raise the financing its needed to buy out Volkswagen. Underneath, however, there are other agendas, one of them being the long running family feud between Ferdinand Piech, currently chairman of VW’s board of directors, and his Porsche cousins, led by Wolfgang Porsche, who heads Porsche’s board, a board of which Piech is also a member.

    If things go the way they seem to be going, and Volkswagen does become the dominant player in the new conglomerate, Piech will have won. Clearly there are conflicts of interest here, these being intertwined with the dangers of serious monetary difficulties for Piech and Porsche – since he and his family are part of the extended Porsche family which owns the Zuffenhausen-based company – during a worldwide financial crisis.

    However, for those interested in sportscar racing, the outcome of the family feud and the looming dominance of Porsche by Volkswagen, bizarre, and as fascinating, if not confusing as it might be, is only important in the effect it has on the motorsport programs of the two corporate players involved. And, in that sense it seems clear that the rumored development by Porsche of a new LMP1 sports racer for the 2011 season won’t happen.

    Given that, one has to ask what then will happen with Roger Penske, who is currently racing a Porsche-powered Riley in the Grand Am’s North American Rolex sports car tour as part of a rumored “make work” program to keep him on board in preparation for Porsche’s reported re-entry into the top LMP ranks of the sport’s universe.

    Almost immediately the thought comes to mind of having the very erudite Penske move over to the Audi side of the house where not only is there the just introduced R15 LMP1 to play with, but an alleged all new LMP1 car for 2011. Still, if that were to happen, how would Penske fit in with the current Audi prototype players, Reinhold Joest on the European side, and Champion Racing here in the United States?

    To a large degree that remains unclear. In part this is due to changes in monetary policy between Audi and its dealers in the United States focusing on how those dealers pay for the cars they purchased from the VW subsidiary.

    Unlike the past, dealers now are said to be required to put up front the funds for the vehicles as soon as they delivered into their hands. In terms of Champion, this has forced the South Florida dealer into a court overseen reorganization plan for both its Audi and Porsche franchises. And, while the Champion racing organization and its related tuning business are not involved in this enforced restructuring, one has to wonder how much, if it all, Champion will be involved should Audi return to the ALMS either later this year, or next.

    As for Joest, there the likelihood there appears to be that the German team will continue with Audi along the same lines as it has in the past. So, if Penske step in, would he replace Champion, or run along side as an equal in the Audi motorsport universe? That is something that will be determined in part by the personalities of Piech and Penske.  If one assumes that Piech’s personal goals are at the heart of his taking advantage of Porsche’s inability to refinance massive debt, will he then be willing to share the center stage spotlight with someone such as Penske, who like Piech tends to be a high profile individual? For that answer one might want to look at Penske’s most recent association with Porsche’s involvement in the ALMS’ LMP2 division.

    During the American’s recent tenure as the factory representative for the RS Spyder program, there were rumors that Porsche wasn’t all that pleased with the fact that at times Penske overshadowed the factory itself. Still, the two men not only have known each other for the better part of 40 years, and, perhaps more importantly, were the ones (Piech then being responsible for the fortunes of Porsche motorsport) who negotiated the deal which led Penske to race the turbocharged 917 spyders so successfully for the factory in the North American Can-Am in 1972 and ’73.

    Beyond this is the further fact that Penske is one of the world’s top rated businessmen, with the kind of financial clout that has put his empire, including his massive string of auto dealerships, in the middle of the Fortune 500 list, something which alone would make him a candidate to become associated with Audi in its motorsport endeavors.

    Will that happen; who knows? Still, stay tuned because the soapbox serial seemingly is far from over. Indeed, given everything, perhaps it would be better if the whole family feud that is the Volkswagen-Porsche mess were simply turned over to the guys at the BBC’s popular TOP GEAR program to solve. If that happened, we could at least have a laugh while watching the bizarre unfold.

    Normally book reviews don’t mix with columns, however, this one seems to fit appropriately with Penske’s future as part of either Porsche’s or Audi’s motorsport efforts since, in part it involves Penske Racing’s highly successful 917 Can-Am program of the early 1970’s. The book by Mike Argetsinger, and published by David Bull is entitled simply “Mark Donohue,” and is a biography of the late driver’s life and career.

    Unlike Donohue’s own autobiography, “The Unfair Advantage” which was more technically oriented,” Argetsinger’s is broader in its scope, covering not only the driver’s story, but at the same time giving the reader a history of the period. While some may criticize this inclusive approach, Argetsinger has produced a fascinating look at a time during which racing changed dramatically not in the least through the efforts of Donohue and Penske. In short, it is well worth having.

                                                                           Bill Oursler
                                                                           June 2009


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I only hope Porsche will back with proper effort in Motorsport like they did in the past


    --
    Dedi La vita è troppo corta per non guidare italiano.....

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    @andrea - By the looks of things, we will have little to celebrate over the next decades.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I would think based upon the number of 911 GT3, RSR, etc.  sold at a handsome profit  that Porsche will continue in GT2 class.  One might hope that Porsche would lead the charge for gas powered technology in  LMP1 and Audi Diesel.


    --
    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    The 911 GT program will continue (albeit with strong Audi competition), but don't expect to see a prototype program. Eventually , the Porsche name will become synonymous with those names from a distant prototype racing past.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I heard Porsche is already testing 991 RSR ;)...wheelbase shorter and engine moved more forward


    --
    Dedi La vita è troppo corta per non guidare italiano.....

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Now that is interesting!

    Thanks andrea!


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    @ andrea - It is possible that this "new" 991 GT car could be for the forthcoming GT1 world championship. It would not surprise me at all if Porsche moved "up" to GT1.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    If Audi does become the key driver of Porsche Motorsports, let's hope their VP of Global Marketing - Peter Schwartzbauer doesn't forget his Porsche roots as CEO PCNA. He was very instrumental in launching their LMP2 in ALMS with the Penske Boys..


    --
    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Spyderidol:

    @ andrea - It is possible that this "new" 991 GT car could be for the forthcoming GT1 world championship. It would not surprise me at all if Porsche moved "up" to GT1.

    yes I agree! But I still keep a big hope about an LMP1 also...

    I would like to see a Manthey team for Le Mans and LMS championship


    --
    Dedi La vita è troppo corta per non guidare italiano.....


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Strong rumors that Audi will be going into GT1 with their R8.

    No Porsche for GT1 (at least in 2010). Porsche will remain in GT2. (only lower class GT racing for  little boys that misbehave)


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I think after the VW take-over, Porsche will invest more in  racing, not less.

    Look at how much money Audi has spent over the last 10 years on the LMP1 program$$$$$$

    Look at how much money Fiat allows Ferrari to spend on racing$$$$$$$$$$$$$


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    I gave much thought about this issue, provided the "merger" materializes.

    Independence is a good thing on principle but it hasn't helped Porsche much in terms of motorsport. Remember that the LM car was cancelled to pursue the goal of creating the Cayenne, a model that was deemed necessary for Porsche to stay independent.

    Then, due to the lack of big budgets, WW decided that every race car produced should make money for the company. Therefore the abundance of GT3s in the production classes bought by customer teams. I enjoy when I see 911s winning but you need the top price to be first. With the given circumstances this would have been an elusive dream for Porsche. That the RS Spyder was produced was a miracle and the Penske customer deal has helped a lot.

    The VW Group has a racing ethos. All brands participate in motorsport, some more successfully than others. Within this environment Porsche will find its rightful place. I am 100% sure that VW will look after the Porsche brand because they are no fools and they know very well what it means to millions of people all over the world.That's the reason they want it anyway.

    So on balance things can only improve from the stalemate of the last decade.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    @ 944C2 - No, unfortunately not!

    Audi is in LMP1(only class stands a real chance of overall wins), Porsche will not be allowed to compete. Also - pro-diesel rules (designed with the help of Audi) make it impossible for Porsche to develop competitive LMP1 car. Rules will change fro 2011- but it is likely Audi will continue it's program in this class.

    Audi is also developing its R8 for next year's GT1 World championship. Porsche will not develop any car for this.

    Porsche will be relgated (for a long time) to GT2.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

     

     

    The RSR is once again, getting it's butt handed to itself in a 24 H race!

    Currently, the 24 Hour of Spa is taking place (FIA GT championship)

    ..and although the fastest GT2 car, the best RSR is currently in 3 place about 4 laps behind the leading F430.

    It looks very much like this will be another 24 h race that Porsche looses to Ferrari.

    Although they are beating the F430's in the ALMS and LMS championship, they have lost at Sebring (12 H), Le Mans and now at Spa.

     


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Now in P2,4 and 5 with 5 1/2 hours to go. Let's wait and see.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    reginos:

    Now in P2,4 and 5 with 5 1/2 hours to go. Let's wait and see.

    In fact the GT2 class Porsches only finished 2,4 and 5.

    Also beaten in G2 by the Audi R8 LMS and in G3 by a Ford GT

    Not a good Spa 24 H at all.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Spyderidol was 24 Hour of Spa more a case of driver issues? From what I saw on the net Patrick Long in the #70 had led Ferrari. When he passed off car to his co-driver, the co-driver ran it off the track causing serious damage to the car.


    --
    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    As predicted, it looks like the LMP1program has been canceled.

    No more prototype racing for Porsche.

    RSR is in quite a predicament due to the "steel sleeve" issue. They can only race (although penalized) with the steel sleeves until the end of 2009.

    Will they be back with a GT2 car in 2010?

    I am now also beginning to suspect that we will see no "new" 2010 RSR in GT2.

    Best possible forecast points to a new 2011 RSR (This is my take on the situation)

    2010 points to a GT3Cup only year. (God, i hope I'm wrong!!)

    BTW - No Ferrari GT430 for 2010 in GT2. They will return in 2011 with new car.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    IMO little by little, I think we will see more ways in which the loss of independence will affect Porsche's activities. This appears to be just one more indication of how things will go...


    --
     

    Rennteam Moderator - 997.1 C2S Coupe GT Silver/Cocoa, -20mm/LSD, PSE, SportDesign rims, Zuffenhausen collection


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Spyderidol,

    Do you think Porsche might introduce an  ALMS LMP Challenge car following the same model as in GT2?


    --
    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    At this point in time, anything is possible (as long as it doesn't threaten Audi in any way).

    However, my gut feeling tells me that it is highly unlikely.

    I don't expect to see Porsche racing in any class besides the GT2 class (as this is almost a necessary requirement to keep marketing the 911 model) for a very long time (perhaps a decade).

    I am one of those that think that very little good will come from this "merger" with VAG.

    It is not clear to me how the Porsche brand is going to be placed within the VAG group. Some say that it will be marketed as a more "sporty Audi" , but all I can say is that so far all the decisions (rumored) to have been made do not point in that direction. (i.e. the cancellation of the LMP1 project and the  reinstating and expansion of the Audi LMP1 program (thus clearly passing on the message that Audi is the sporting brand)

    On the other hand as in politics, a year is a very long time in racing and anything can happen.


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Hopefully, Peter Schwarzenbauer, who was President of PCNA and is now head of global marketing for Audi, will not forget his Porsche roots.  He was very instrumental in the LMP2 program for ALMS....One can only hope...


    --
    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York

    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    We can all hope but I don't see them doing anything beyond the 911. Audi has invested a lot of time and money with its R8-R15 and they certainly won't allow little Porsche to challenge them again. Let us say a prayer... oh holy motor king, let Porsche's candle shine bright to combat the tyranny that may prohibit it from residing where it rightfuly belongs.

    Amen


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Amen


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    It will take some time before Porsche's MS program is rationalized into the VW Group. I can understand that. Anyway, it wasn't as if Porsche under the previous regime was all top-level MS and we can blame VW now for spoiling it!  WW's mind was on the stock exchange than on the race track.

    In the short-term only the various 911s will fly the Porsche flag, which is not a bad thing considering the lasting allure of this very profitable model. However, I envisage that VW will enhance the sporty image of Porsche in medium term through further MS because it pays them to do so. Don't forget that Porsche is turning a very healthy operating profit in spite of its huge debt, (which is another story altogether) and VW want this brand to shine and generate more money for the Group.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    Oh! don't get me wrong - I wasn't defending Wendy! His outlook on MS was a complete antithesis to mine. Porsche's racing heritage has been sold down the river for many years now.

    I sincerely hope that you are right, but......

     


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    For you guys:

    racing1_woche_2009_34_1920x1200.jpg

    racing1_woche_2009_38_1920x1200.jpg


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

     

     

    Thanks Ferdie.

    The RS Spyder really looks good in the Muscle Milk livery.

    The Matmut IMSA RSR is always very nice too. (White always suites Porsche)


    Re: The Future of Porsche Motorsport

    A few pictures I took of the RS Spyder back in 07 in Long Beach

    ALMS LB 07 081.jpg

    ALMS LB 07 092.jpg

     

    Pic3272.jpg

     

    And some of the bad boys!

    group shot.jpg

    B20-MontereyHistoricB_Divers_12.jpg

     

    B20-MontereyHistoricB_Divers_05.jpg

     

    B20-MontereyHistoricB_Divers_11.jpg

     

    Pic1076.jpg

     

    Pic1222.jpg

     

    Pic2760.jpg

     

    Pic2768.jpg

     

    Pic1863.jpg


     
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