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Auto blogThu, 09 Oct 2014 16:28:00 EST
China has already surpassed the United States as the world's largest automotive market, so it's no surprise that one day soon it will be the world's largest Porsche market.
In fact, that day may already be here, as the PRC's Porschephiles outbought their American counterparts in September. Porsche's Chinese dealers sold 4,344 cars last month to America's 3,607. Through all of 2014 so far, though, the US is still the larger market for the German brand.
"The U.S. performed very well this year, after a great year in 2013, but China is growing fast, thanks to the Cayenne which is our best seller there," Porsche's sales and marketing boss, Bernhard Maier, told Automotive News Europe.
Not only does this weekend mark the running of the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans, it will also see the return of one of the race's most venerable brands to the top tiers of endurance racing. Porsche will campaign its first top-flight car since the 1998 911 GT1-98, the 919 Hybrid, at this weekend's race, in the hopes of knocking off its corporate rival, the dominant Audi team.
To understand just what a win for the 919 would mean, though, you need to look back on the intrinsic connection between the Circuit de la Sarthe and Porsche. It's a history that spans decades, dating back to the team's first win in 1970.
XCar has a great video on that history. At 25 minutes, it's a bit on the long side. Then again it is the Friday before Le Mans. Take a look below for the video.
Porsche seems to be on a campaign to build driving centers for its customers to allow them to experience the capabilities of their cars on track. It has one under way in Los Angeles, another in development at its North American headquarters in Atlanta, and a British center set up at the Silverstone circuit. Now the latest reports indicate that Porsche is planning yet another driving center at Le Mans.
The new facility is earmarked to be built at the Circuit de la Sarthe right by the start/finish line, incorporating the Porsche Curves that bridge the Arnage corner and the Ford Chicanes on the West side of the famous track.
Porsche is reportedly still seeking approval from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest that manages the circuit, and once given the green light, would still take some time to complete. But the idea of driving a 911 flat out on the legendary track is likely to make more than a few mouths water, particularly as the German automaker prepares its full-on assault of the famous endurance race next year.