Porsche is playing down its chances of winning races straight out of the box when it ends its absence from top-flight sportscar racing with its new petrol-electric LMP1 car in next year's World Endurance Championship.
The target for the new coupe, which is Porsche's first challenger for outright honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours since the winning 911 GT1-98 design of 15 years ago, is to finish races and be competitive against rivals Audi and Toyota. Head of the LMP1 programme Fritz Enzinger explained that it is unrealistic to expect Porsche to start winning straight away after such a long absence.
"People are expecting victories, because we have won Le Mans 16 times," he said, "but we shouldn't forget that the last one was in 1998. Everything is new for us: we have new facilities, a new group of people and new technology to understand.
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.