Schaeffler to Run with Record Winner Porsche at Le Mans
Cooperation in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)
2014 marks the beginning of a new era in sports car racing not only due to Porsche's return. For the first time, Technical Regulations will come into effect for the global racing series, which limit the usable amount of energy but allow considerable freedoms in the areas of hybrid and powertrain technology - and thus pose new challenges to the entrants. The new generation of LMP1 vehicles is more complex than the race cars used in Formula One. Contrary to Grand Prix racing, there is no cubic capacity limit, and various engine concepts as well as four-wheel drive are permitted. The World Endurance Championship (WEC) is the perfect opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to demonstrate technical expertise.
"In the new regulations of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the topics of energy efficiency and forward-thinking technology play the crucial role. These are the topics that drive Schaeffler in automotive technology as well. The parallels between motorsports and production make the WEC and the cooperation with Porsche an ideal platform for Schaeffler," says Prof. Peter Gutzmer. In addition, reliability is of major importance to Schaeffler's Chief Technology Officer. In the season's pinnacle event at Le Mans alone, the cars cover a distance of about 5,000 kilometers - which corresponds to nearly a full Formula One season. "This is an extremely high standard for race cars and perfectly fits the standards that Schaeffler defines for its production technologies. All this makes the World Endurance Championship extremely interesting for us and our partner Porsche. The timing is perfect for tackling this new challenge together."
Porsche and Schaeffler have been working together for many decades - in motor-sports as well as on the production side of the house. The first-ever production sports car made by the Swabian company, the Porsche 356, was already equipped with innovative needle roller bearings by Schaeffler. The legendary 917, with which Porsche clinched its first two overall victories at Le Mans in 1970/71, for Schaeffler was a development prototype for hydraulic valve train components of which millions were subsequently manufactured as production parts and that laid the foundation for today's know-how and portfolio of the global group.
Schaeffler looks back on a successful motorsports history in other series and vehicle classes as well. Drivers supported by Schaeffler have won the DTM an amazing four times to date - most recently, Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller in 2013. With BMW the company won the World Touring Car Championship, with Renault the European Truck Championship, and with Mitsubishi and Jutta Kleinschmidt the Dakar Rally. With Volkswagen Schaeffler put the robustness of its products to the test at the 'Dakar' and other desert rallies as well. With rally driver Armin Schwarz Schaeffler won two German and one European rally title. Through the WEC commitment Schaeffler is now deploying its colors, which so far had been represented mostly on the race tracks in Germany and Europe, also to the circuits in markets of importance to the company such as North and South America, China and Japan.
Schaeffler with its product brands INA, LuK and FAG is a leading provider of rolling bearing and plain bearing solutions and of linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier to the automotive industry of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions, and chassis applications. The globally active group of companies generated sales of approximately 11.1 billion euros in 2012. With over 78,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership. Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices, and training centers.
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