Mark Webber has long been at the top of the racing world, going from an insane rivalry with then-teammate Sebastian Vettel in Formula One to racing the Porsche 919 LMP1 car in the World Endurance Championship. Today, Porsche announced that Webber will retire from racing after the 6 Hours of Bahrain.
Webber explained that he wanted to go out on a high note in a Porsche press release:
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.
Forty-year-old Webber will continue acting as a representative for Porsche, somewhat like fellow Le Mans prototype retiree Allan McNish does for Audi nowadays. He’ll help out with everything from events to talent research and driver training, per Porsche’s press release. Webber will also be Porsche’s second face-of-the-#brand after legendary racer Walter Röhrl, so to say he’s in good company would be a massive understatement.
Webber started racing in 1991 and made it into the world’s most infamous sports car race—the 24 Hours of Le Mans—in 1999. However, the Mercedes CLR was the car that prompted Mercedes to pull out of sports car racing after its unstable aerodynamics caused the car to flip spectacularly at high speed—twice with Webber behind the wheel.
That drive still opened doors for Webber into Formula One, where he showed immense talent, but had an unfortunate tendency to end up in underperforming machinery. His 215-grand-prix, 42-podium, nine-win F1 career ended after a frustrating stint at Red Bull. Webber had finally made it onto one of the sport’s dominant teams, but felt like the team’s number two driver behind wonderboy Sebastian Vettel.
From there, Webber jumped back into to the very top of the sportscar racing world: the Porsche 919 LMP1 team. There, Webber won the World Endurance Championship in 2015 with teammates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.
I’ll miss Webber’s high-flying antics and ability to actually speak his mind despite being a racing driver, but at least he’s going out at the top of his game. Webber’s last race as a professional driver will be in the Porsche 919 on November 19.