World Endurance Champion Porsche has confirmed an unchanged driver lineup for its title defence next year – along with the reduction to two cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours, in line with sister VW Group brand Audi.
The Le Mans move means that the 2015 winning crew of Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber will not return to defend their victory in a Porsche LMP1.
It also means no potential place for Juan Pablo Montoya, who tested in Bahrain last week along with Mark Webber's protege Mitch Evans.
All the six regular works drivers have been retained in the same partnerships, so drivers’ champions Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Webber will share one of the 919 Hybrid LMP1s, with Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb in the sister car.
Programme chief Fritz Enzinger said: “The advice of ‘never change a winning team’ is spot on. Both our driver trios didn’t only perform brilliantly on track, but have also been with us since the beginning of the programme and have significantly contributed to the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s development.
“We are very proud of these six top drivers, and very pleased all of them are on board for the 2016 world championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Team Principal Andreas Seidl added: “Without the extraordinary performances by their drivers, Porsche couldn’t have achieved this sensational level of success in 2015.
“The icing on the cake in terms of teamwork was the fact that in the season’s finale the trio of Bernhard, Hartley and Webber were only able to become world champions because Dumas, Jani and Lieb fought their way to win the race.
“This also proves how important it is in this championship to have two equally strong driver crews. We will build on that strength and continuity.”