STUTTGART, Germany — Veteran Formula One driver Mark Webber is retiring from the series at the end of the season, but he’s not giving up racing just yet.
The 36-year-old Australian has signed a multiyear contract with Porsche to become one of the drivers for the Porsche LMP1 sports prototype at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship.
In 1998, he finished runner-up in the FIA GT Championship at the wheel of a sports prototype. Over the course of his Formula One career, Webber has achieved 36 podium places, nine race victories and has started from pole position eleven times.
“It’s an honor for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team. Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level,” said Webber. “I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula One. Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”
“I’m very pleased to have secured Mark Webber for our LMP1 project as one of the best and most successful Formula One pilots of our time,” says Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “Mark is without doubt one of the world’s best race drivers, he has experience at the Le Mans 24 hour race and on top of that he’s been a Porsche enthusiast for many years.”
Competing in the new LMP1 car alongside Mark Webber are the two long-standing Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) as well as the ex-Formula 1 test driver Neel Jani (Switzerland).
Webber will finish the season with Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
“I am sure Mark thought long and hard before making what has no doubt been a very difficult decision,” said team leader Christian Horner. “His achievements in Formula One are extensive and I am sure he will continue to push hard and build on that record until the end of the season. We support Mark’s decision, he has been an excellent addition to the team since joining us in 2007 and we wish him all the best in the next stages of his career.”