Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Timo Bernhard will contest the Spa 24 Hours later this month as part of a concerted pushed by Porsche to win the race for the first time since 2010.
Bernhard is one of seven factory drivers to have been placed with what are officially privateer entries for the prestigious round of the Blancpain Endurance Series on July 27-28.
The German will join fellow factory driver Jorg Bergmeister and Toyota World Endurance Championship driver Nicolas Lapierre in a 911 GT3-R entered by the French Almeras team.
Nick Tandy and Marco Holzer will race a second Pro class car for the Belgium ProSpeed team alongside former Italian Carrera Cup frontrunner and GT regular Marco Mapelli, who is also a test driver for Blancpain tyre supplier Pirelli.
Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet were announced two weeks ago as the drivers for a Manthey-entered Porsche for the Belgian endurance classic.
Bernhard, who will be racing in the Spa 24 Hours for the first time since 2006, said: “It is always good to go back to Spa. The last time I went was in the old GT1 and GT2 days, so now we have a chance of victory. It is a race I would very much like to win.”
Tandy, who topped the morning session times in the ProSpeed Porsche at the official Spa test two weeks ago, said: “Between the three of us, we make up a great line-up. This is a full attack and we feel the Porsche is going to be very competitive.”
The official line from Porsche is that it has merely responded to requests from customer teams for the loan of factory drivers, although it is clear that the German manufacturer is putting significant resources behind the Manthey, ProSpeed and Almeras teams.
There are a further two regular Blancpain Porsche entries running in the Pro class at Spa: the ProSpeed entry to be driven by Maxime Soulet, Xavier Maassen and Marc Hennerici and Philippe Gache’s SMG car for Olivier Pla, Nicolas Armindo and Eric Clement.
Bernhard has a chance to make history at Spa by becoming the first driver to win outright in each of the four 24-hour endurance classics. So far, the German has won at Le Mans (2010), Daytona (2003) and the Nurburgring (2006, ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’11).