Porsche has announced that two of its private customer teams will compete in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans using Porsche’s LMP2 RS Spyder race cars. With an obvious stake in the competition Porsche will be giving both teams some important support, in the form of two seasoned Porsche Works drivers: Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard.
The first entry will be Japan’s NAVI Team Goh, piloted by Massen and Japanese drivers Seiji Ara and Keisuke Kunimoto.
Two teams will again field a Porsche RS Spyder each at the Le Mans 24 hour race (13-14 June). The NAVI Team Goh from Japan and the Essex squad from Denmark are eager to repeat the double victory of the RS Spyder in the LMP2 class last year. Massen raced to victory in the same car last year, while the 34-year-old Ara won back in 2004. The 20-year-old Kuminmoto will race at Le Mans for the first time.
Collard will race with team Essex along with Casper Elgaard and Kristian Poulson, both of Denmark. Team Essex placed second last year at the 24 Hour race.
“I’m very pleased that, with Goh and Essex, we have two highly professional customer teams contesting Le Mans with a Porsche RS Spyder,” says Porsche’s Head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. “Setting the quickest lap times of all LMP2 cars last year, the vehicle underlined its reliability and had the best efficiency of all participating sports prototypes. We have modified the cars to comply with the new technical regulations and I’m sure that both RS Spyder will again be very competitive in the LMP2 class.” Porsche took the top two spots in the LMP2 class last year with RS Spyders, however, both teams will have their work cut out for them in ’09 with rew rules that restrict the air intakes, thus reducing power from the 3.4-liter V8 to 440hp – down from 476.