Thursday 13 October 2016

Mark Webber ends racing career at Bahrein next month

Today, Mark Webber announced his retirement from racing at the end of the 2016 FIA WEC season.

The FIA WEC 6 hours of Bahrein next month will be the last time Mark Webber will race his Porsche 919 Hybrid as a works driver. After ending his active racing career, the Aurstralian will represent Porsche at global events and as a consultant will contribute by lending his experience to the motorsport programmes of the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart. Webber will be Porsche's second representative, next to Walther Röhrl.

“Mark Webber stands for everything what Porsche implies: sportsmanship, power of endurance, straightforwardness and focused work for success. He is full of beans and always a thoughtful listener. I want to thank Mark for his great performance in the World Endurance Championship and am pleased he will remain tightly connected to Porsche in the future”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing h.c. F. Porsche AG.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, is sorry to see the driver retire from the cockpit. “Already in the important period of building up the programme, Mark has strengthened us with all his experience and he seamlessly integrated himself into the team. Behind the wheel he is a fair fighter, never shy of even the toughest wheel-to-wheel battle. At the same time, he thinks strategically and is team orientated. This mixture makes him invaluable as an endurance racer. Winning the 2015 drivers’ world championship together with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley almost seemed to be a logical consequence. Also thanks to his performance, we hope to win the world championship titles for manufacturers and drivers again in 2016.” Currently the Porsche Team ranks first in both classifications. In the manufacturers’ world championship Porsche leads with 238 points ahead of Audi (185) and Toyota (137). Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb have a 37.5 lead ahead of the best placed Audi trio. There are still three races remaining.

Webber started his racing career in 1991;  from karting, Formula Ford, Formula 3, Formula 3000, nine victories in 215 Formula One Grand Prix to his world title in the FIA WEC last year together with Marc Lieb and Brendon Hartley in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. This summer he married his long-time partner Ann and turned 40 at the end of August. 

His biggest triumph came last year after a nerve-wrecking finale at the WEC finale in Bahrein.  Both throttle barrel levers of his 919 were broken and had to be locked at full throttle. The Porsche was only able to finish the race thanks to outstanding engineering performance in the background and a driver sensitivity that looked superhuman. The title was at stake. “To have scored my first World Championship title with Timo and Brendon with Porsche means a great deal to me,” says Webber who never talks about this feat without mentioning his teammates.

Kristof Vermeulen.