Cars & Bikes
ACOUSTICS analysis certainly is not a subject in which David Hotz claims to have any expertise. The son of Markus Hotz, team manager of the Swiss racing team Horag Racing, is a professional industrial designer who studied photography and fine arts in Zurich and Leipzig. And yet here he stands, rooted in pit row, fascinated by the sound of the V8 engine.
“Very distinctive, with a very sharp bite, a unique characteristic. It’s a sound unlike any I’ve ever heard,” Hotz says, as he recalls his first physical encounter with the Porsche racing car.
For the Swiss team, Hotz is responsible for the colour design of the RS Spyder, among other duties. But power outranks art on this first practice day on the Circuit de Catalunya. That is where this Porsche is being prepared
for its performance in the Le Mans Series (LMS).
This 476-bhp engine, which has previously been limited to thrilling the spectators on American racetracks, is now setting out to captivate racing fans all over Europe. And Porsche fans will experience not only a sonic thrill, but
also a visual one.
The RS Spyder is literally bringing a lot of colour to this racing series: after winning four titles in the American Le
Mans Series (ALMS) as a yellow streak of lightning, it will now compete in three totally new colour designs.
Hotz, for instance, opted for the Swiss national colours, red and white. The Danish Essex team chose a blue paint job. And the Dutch racing team VM Motorsport chose its team colours of white, black, and purple.
Art is one thing, speed is quite another. The three customer teams have ambitious plans for the debut and are determined to go full throttle in the first race on April 6. The Spyder’s excellent showing in the ALMS cannot serve as a yardstick for its results in Europe, however, because the regulations differ in two important ways. In Europe, the vehicles’ weight limit is 25 kg heavier than in the United States, and the fuel tank volume was reduced from 90 to 80 litres.
Over a normal LMS distance of 1,000 km, this means at least one additional refuelling stop. “That will place the RS Spyder customers in Europe at a definite disadvantage vis-à-vis the more powerful LMP1 class,” says Kristen.
But class victories in the LMP2 are entirely possible. Markus Hotz knows the Porsche philosophy well: “We deploy our forces where it pays off,” says the manager of the Horag Racing team. What will really matter is not best practice times but the race results.
To optimise their chances, he and the other two team managers can rely on professional support from Porsche
engineers. Hotz appreciates this as an entirely new, very positive experience: “It’s a privilege for us to be working
with Porsche on such a high level.”
Fredy Lienhard, who will share the Swiss cockpit with Didier Theys and Jan Lammers, raves about his new racer: “It’s beyond sensational. The best car I have ever driven.”
The renowned drivers of the other two teams are also enthusiastic about the new vehicle. It elevates the LMS to
a platform for high-end prototype racing. VM Motorsport is very well prepared for the event.
In addition to former DTM driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, the Dutch team has also engaged the services of Jos Verstappen. “I’m really looking forward to this challenge,” says the former Formula One driver. The racing stable’s owner, Peter van Merksteijn, is all fired up, too: “The RS Spyder is a fantastic car for a fantastic project.”
And after more than 28 years, the name Essex is returning to the sportscar scene linked with Porsche: in 1980,
the Danish team started in Le Mans with a Porsche 936. Now team manager and driver John Nielsen is betting on the RS Spyder with the metallic blue paint job.
For the first time, Porsche not only is represented in the GT2 class, but also is starting in the enormously competitive LMP2 racing prototype. That change adds even more excitement to the racing series.
Porsche has allure, Porsche is part of the Le Mans legend, and Porsche fascinates. The ‘Euro Vision’ of the LMS -
to establish a place for the racing series on a consistently high level - is inconceivable without Porsche.
The fans are electrified. The French sports daily L’Equipe emotes, “The long-distance races in Europe are reliving
their finest hours.” Jean-Claude Plassart, president of the Automobile Club de 1’Ouest (ACO), which organises
the legendary 24-hour races of Le Mans, says, “The major manufacturers are thrilled with the idea of strengthening
their brand image not just in a single event but in several additional races in the context of a series.”
Races will be held at the classic racetracks in Barcelona, Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, Nurburgring, and Silverstone. In addition, all three new RS Spyder teams will be starting on June 15 at Le Mans. Success in the classic long-distance race remains the beacon that inspires everyone. And of course dreaming - in this case, even dreaming in colour - is always allowed.
The calm before the
storm: The latest
tests in Barcelona