A special date: Maria Sharapova, Mark Webber and a Porsche 911 GT2...

A special date: Maria Sharapova, Mark Webber and a Porsche 911 GT2 RS

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Maria Sharapova and Mark Webber arranged to meet for a special form of speed dating at the Porsche Development Center in Weissach. As Porsche Brand Ambassadors, the tennis star and the racing driver have known each other for a while now. And the five-time Grand Slam winner was more than happy to take up the invitation of the former Porsche works driver and endurance world champion to swap the clay court for the asphalt of the Porsche test track.

Webber negotiated the circuit with the tennis player in a 700 hp powerful Porsche 911 GT2 RS, always in the ideal line and close to the limits of physics in some bends. Even though the strain for Maria Sharapova as the passenger was not as high as in a third-set tie-break in the final of a Grand Slam, she visibly enjoyed the detour to Weissach which also included a spell behind the steering wheel herself.

Maria Sharapova
photo: Porsche

“It’s always fascinating to experience what a professional racing driver can do with a super sports car,” said Sharapova afterwards. “And keeping my well-being in mind, I’m sure he wasn’t driving flat out, far from it. He’s simply a real gentleman.”

Maria Sharapova and Mark Webber arranged to meet for a special form of speed dating at the Porsche Development Center in Weissach

Maria Sharapova, Mark Webber
photo: Porsche

Last year Webber had a similar experience with Tracy Austin, the winner of the first Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in 1978, and Samantha Stosur. The Australian flew around the circuit with the tennis ladies in a Porsche 911 GT3 and a Porsche 911 GTS, always keeping to the racing line and close to the limits of physics in some of the bends. At speeds of up to 260 km/h, it was not something for the faint-hearted.

“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” said Tracy Austin, but with a smile on her face. The American drives a Porsche back home but she freely admitted that she now really knows just what the car is capable of and how quickly and safely it can be manoeuvred. Samatha Stosur was also excited. After the adventure in the passenger seat, she realised, “why racing drivers have to have such strong neck muscles.”

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