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Chopard kicked off its second year as the official timing partner for Porsche Motorsport, as the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season got under way in the UK.
At Six Hours of Silverstone, the season’s opening round on April 12, two Porsche 919 Hybrid cars led by Mark Webber and Romain Dumas campaigned for victory on the renowned circuit in the British Midlands.
The 919 Hybrid led by Dumas reached the second position in the LMP1 championship while the Porsche 911 RSR arrived second and seventh in the GTE Pro Class race.
Since 2012, the WEC has been the ambassador for Le Mans-style endurance racing around the world. One of the most famous moments every year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race is the traditional start where the cars line up alongside the pitwall facing the grandstands.
In 2015, the WEC is using this Le Mans-style start at every round, providing a unique experience for racing fans.
POWERFUL FIRST ROUND
With a racing history dating back to in 1947, Silverstone is known for being a technical race and teams consider the track to be one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. Built atop an old airfield, it is a technically difficult track, but a favorite amongst drivers.
The track is a mixture of high and low speed corners with some long straights, making it physically demanding for the drivers. Overtaking is notoriously difficult. As Webber, Chopard’s new ambassador, says: “Silverstone is such a classic track, it’s raw, it’s old school and it’s got a lot of originality.”
The two Porsche 919 Hybrids started first and second in Silverstone. Brendon Hartley and Webber were at the wheel of the car number 17. Their average lap time of 1:39 minutes secured them the first pole position for the new 919. The sister car number 18 driven by Dumas and Neel Jani reached the second position on the starting grid.
Webber was leading the race when a gearbox problem forced him to stop his Porsche 919 Hybrid. Dumas managed to defend his position until his first stop after 24 laps.
Dumas, Jani and Lieb took over the lead from their team mates, but later in the race had to concede the win by 4.6 seconds after a breath-taking battle. Sharing the number 18 car, they finished second in what was a thrilling race.
Porsche Works drivers Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz (Austria) clinched second in the GTE-Pro class in front of over 45,000 spectators with their Porsche 911 RSR.
Chopard’s partnership with Porsche Motorsport is an extension of its longstanding commitment to automotive sports.
In 2014, Chopard released the Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 edition watch at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a special edition created to celebrate the alliance.
The model, limited to 919 pieces, is inspired by the Porsche 919 Hybrid car, and reflects the values shared by both companies such as the constant quest for excellence.
Porsche Motorsport and Chopard naturally gravitated towards each other around their passion for racing but also for their contribution to performance and precision in their respective fields.
The Superfast watches were the first Chopard Classic Racing watches to be equipped with an in-house movement, chronometer certified by the COSC.
Worn by Porsche Motorsport pilots, the Superfast watches are tested under extreme conditions (speed, temperature, endurance racing) to guarantee a perfect exactitude of the watch.
Everything Chopard learns from the race track brings the house a step further in its development of the Superfast watch collection. The exceptional mechanics emerging from the Porsche Motorsport and Chopard workshops have significantly influenced their respective fields and remain benchmarks for aficionados of motorsports and watchmaking.
Chopard takes great pride in its partnership with Porsche Motorsport during the FIA World Endurance Championship. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard states: “Porsche creates ultimate sports cars, successful in racing and exciting to drive on the road. Chopard shares this passion for performance and excellence. We are proud to accompany Porsche as official timing partner for their second Endurance racing season.”
ON THE ROAD TO “LE MANS”
The exceptional driver Jacky Ickx is also part of the history of both companies. The racing legend put his name in the history books with his victories in several motorsport disciplines, and as a longstanding Chopard ambassador. Nicknamed “Mr. Le Mans”, he can lay claim to six victories in this legendary race, four of which were at the wheel of Porsche.
The WEC will continue on May 2 at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for a second round to prepare the very promising and challenging 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will take place on June 13 and 14 near the city of Le Mans in France.
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