One day after winning the season finale of the Sports Car World Championship WEC and netting three GT championship titles, Porsche Motorsport gave two hopeful racing drivers the chance to gain their first experiences with the Porsche 911 RSR. Austrian Philipp Eng and Nick Catsburg from the Netherlands conducted two test sessions each on the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, instructed by Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet.
Philipp Eng, the overall winner of both the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland this season, was obviously impressed after his first laps at the wheel of the 470 hp racing version of the iconic 911 sports car. “It’s great fun driving the 911 RSR and it is considerably faster than what I’m used to from the one-make series with the 911 GT3 Cup,” said the 25-year-old Salzburg racer.
Still, I felt good in the car right from the start, especially after being very well primed on what to expect by the Porsche engineers. The first time I drove out of the pits it was an overwhelming feeling. I’m very grateful for this chance. To work with a factory team is wonderful.
For Nick Catsburg, as well, the test with the championship-winning team of the Sports Car World Championship WEC was an impressive experience. The 27-year-old endurance specialist from the Dutch town of Voorthuizen has won the Spa 24-hour race this season and has also celebrated many successes in the VLN Long Distance Championship Nürburgring and in the pro-class of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
I’m extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to conduct this test with the best team and the fastest car in the WEC GT class. It’s a real privilege,” he said. “I’ve driven many cars before, but the 911 RSR is in a completely different league. I felt really good in the car after the first laps already. It must be a fantastic feeling to go racing with the 911 RSR.”
Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser’s assessment of the rookie tests was positive.
Philip and Nick have performed very well on this challenging racetrack for drivers,” he said. “And the feedback from our engineers was just as we had anticipated. All in all, it was a successful test. Both pilots made the most of the chance to work with our works team in a new environment for them.