Two-time Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard says he’ll continue to race with Porsche next year, following the termination of the German marque’s LMP1 Hybrid effort at the end of the current FIA WEC season.
“I will definitely continue driving, there’s no question about it. I will remain with Porsche as a factory driver. Which programme? I don’t know.”
“The thing is, we’re really busy with the final races, but I need to plan ahead. By the end of the year I should know. I’m going through the first talks now. The important signal for me that I’m going to stay with Porsche as a factory driver.”
However, the 36-year-old German told DSC that he will dedicate more time to his GT3 outfit Team75 Bernhard. The team, which enjoyed a superb Spa 24 Hours debut this year, finishing fourth, currently races in the ADAC GT Masters series, which Bernhard thinks is a sensible championship to continue developing the team.
Run by him and his father, Bernhard’s team is still relatively young, in its second year of GT3 competition after competing in the Porsche Super Cup.
“My team will play a role in this, it has good potential, it will be interesting for me in the future,” he explained. “The news coming out about LMP1 gives me the chance to be more involved with my team.
“I will plan what we will do next year in small steps, we are looking to continue to go GT Masters, it’s one of the best national GT championships. And then, the addition is 24 hour races, we’d like to do more like Spa.”
Despite the team’s potential, and Bernhard’s aspiration for it in the future, he believes that next year would be too early to go racing with it in GTE. Porsche will be selling six of its new 911 RSRs to customers next year, with five of them already accounted for by Proton Competition and Gulf Racing. The sixth one, Bernhard confirmed, is not set to be his.
“GTE? It’s too early for that,” he said. “It’s step by step. We started in Carrera Cup Germany, and we’re moving up. You have to be careful how you use your resources. After Spa we’ve had a lot of offers and opportunities from drivers and other programmes to do other championships. But the thing is, it’s all about experience.
“I don’t want to over-stress the team.”