After an unbroken sequence of 85 FIA World Endurance Championship races, Christian Ried hung up his helmet at the end of the Bapco Energies 8 Hours of Bahrain. Proton Competition is shifting up a gear with busy Hypercar, GTP and LMGT3 racing programmes in the pipeline. As the LMGTE era draws to a close, 44-year-old Ried has decided that the time is right to hand over driving duties and focus on his role as Team Principal alongside his brother, Michael.
Ried chalked up 13 class wins in a career that began in 1996, including victory at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans with Matt Campbell and Julien Andlauer. He also competed in 52 consecutive European Le Mans Series races, taking the title in 2020 and 2022. He also has 28 Porsche GT2/GTE wins under his belt, and two more in the Asian Le Mans Series. “I’ve competed in an unbelievable number of races,” the German proudly boasts. “Not only have I raced in the WEC, but in many other series organised by the ACO since 2007. There was also the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup that we won in 2011. It was a hobby that got a little bit out of control!”
The Hypercar Challenge
The climax of his career was undoubtedly his triumph at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. “Our win was an important step in the history of our team and the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced as a racing driver,” he says. “Le Mans is the absolute highlight of the season. Every driver dreams of winning there. I still get goosebumps when I think back to the podium when we were standing over the finish line and cheered by all the fans.”
Ried will now turn all his attention to the #99 Porsche 963 Hypercar entry. A particularly tough challenge as the German outfit will be taking on a number of formidable factory teams. He will also mentor his son who is starting out in endurance. “Given that the LMGTE class will no longer be around in 2024, a Hypercar entry was the next logical step for us," Ried says. "We founded our team in 1996 and, since then, we have taken a step forward every season. Entering just GT3 would have been a step back so it wasn’t an option for us.”
Proton Competition will therefore line up in the FIA WEC, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and ELMS, as well as in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Porsche Sports Cup. “We’ll have plenty of work on our hands,” the new Team Principal admits. “The 2023 season has been very tough, but it has been a great success. We’re now looking forward to 2024.”