Webber announces retirement from racing after 2016

Mark Webber will call time on his illustrious racing career at the end of the current FIA World Endurance Championship season, Porsche has announced.

Webber announces retirement from racing after 2016
2015 champions Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Porsche Team
2015 champions Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Porsche Team
Mark Webber, Porsche Team
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing leads at the start
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing
2nd place Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing

The 40-year-old Australian is to become a "special representative" for the Weissach marque, whose LMP1 programme he has been a part of since its return to LMP1 competition in 2014.

Together with teammates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, Webber was crowned FIA World Endurance champion last year, the trio having won a total of seven races together since 2014. They were also second in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015.

Next month's 6 Hours of Bahrain is therefore set to be Webber's final race in the category.

"I have arrived where I belong," said Webber upon the announcement. "Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best.

"I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I'm very much looking forward to my new tasks."

Webber announced his switch from Formula 1 to WEC early in 2013, exiting grand prix racing after stints at Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull spanning 11 years.

He took nine wins in 215 starts, and placed third in the standings three times - in 2010, 2011 and 2013, all seasons won by his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.

"It was a big change from F1 to LMP1 and an entirely new experience," added Webber. "But it came at the right time for me.

"I found I liked sharing a car and the chemistry between Timo, Brendon and me is special and something I'll always remember.

"It will be strange getting into the race car for the very last time in Bahrain but for now I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of the remaining races."

Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger also paid tribute to Webber's contribution towards the project.

"Already in the important period of building up the programme, Mark has strengthened us with all his experience and he seamlessly integrated himself into the team," he said.

"Behind the wheel he is a fair fighter, never shy of even the toughest wheel-to-wheel battle. At the same time, he thinks strategically and is team orientated.

"This mixture makes him invaluable as an endurance racer. Winning the 2015 drivers' world championship together with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley almost seemed to be a logical consequence."

Webber, Bernhard and Hartley currently lie fourth in the WEC standings after taking victories in the last three races at the Nurburgring, Mexico City and Austin.

Their stablemates in the #2 Porsche 919, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, hold a lead of 38.5 points over Audi trio Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval.

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