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2016 WeatherTech USCC: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park preview

Watkins Glen didn’t turn out to be the turning point for Porsche North America Racing that the US factory outfit hoped it would be. After kickstarting its 2015 title tilt at the New York circuit, this year’s six-hour race proved more challenging as the works Porsche 911 RSRs continued to struggle with an unfavourable Balance of Performance.

Qualifying at the back of the GTLM pack, the no. 911 machine of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet and the no. 912 RSR of Earl Bamber and Frédéric Makowiecki ran faultlessly throughout but their sterling efforts were only rewarded with ninth and tenth respectively as the Ford GTs once again dominated.

The dominance of the Detroit sports cars has lead WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship organiser, IMSA to invoke a last minute BoP adjustment in order to try and equalise the field ahead of round six at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

2016 - IMSA - Watkins Glen

Ford’s new racer (still not available as a road car and competing in the USCC and FIA WEC under a waiver) has seen its base weight increased by 15kg and its boost level reduced between 2,000-7,200rpm.

The factory Porsche 911 RSRs meanwhile have been given a 10kg weight break as IMSA attempts to level the playing field between the new-for-2016 turbo cars and the naturally aspirated offerings from Weissach and Corvette.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – formerly known as Mosport – marks the USSC’s sole trip north of the border into Canada and, last year, marked the start of the no. 911 Porsche’s winning run (five victories in the final six races) that led PNAR to all three GTLM championships in 2015.

2015 USCC Mosport winners

Like Watkins Glen, the 2.46-mile track near Toronto is fast and flowing, favouring a car with good high-speed stability, something the 911 RSR excelled at last season but has struggled with in 2016 guise (despite the increased downforce levels produced by the new aerodynamic regulations).

Having sat second in the points heading to Watkins Glen, the no. 912 crew of Bamber and Makowiecki now finds itself in fourth, 19 points behind the leading no. 4 Corvette team while Porsche dropped a further four points back (but still sits second) in the manufacturers’ battle ahead of CTMP this weekend.

The two-hour, 40-minute race gets underway at 11:05am ET on Sunday after the GTLM field is set during a 15-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon at 4:05pm local time.

Keep up to date with all the latest Porsche race news and reports with our dedicated motorsport section.

2016 - IMSA - Watkins Glen

2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship review part two

As part one explored, the first half of the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship was not as easy for Porsche North America Racing as the US factory team had hoped.

However, by the time of Watkins Glen, there were signs that fortunes were improving for the works 911s. Here’s how they fared in the second half of the season:

Round 6 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
2015 - IMSA TUDOR CTMP Mosport

For the USCC’s solo visit north of the border to Canada, PNAR finally secured the victory that their form at Watkins Glen had suggested was on the way as Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet led from lights to flag in the no. 911 RSR.

After Tandy secured pole position on Saturday, Sunday’s two-hour 40-minute encounter was relatively straightforward for the Anglo-French pairing, although Pilet had to fend off the BMWs and Corvettes during the middle portion of the race.

The no. 912 car of Earl Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister could only manage to finish seventh in the GTLM field, one place ahead of Watkins Glen winners, Team Falken.
No. 911 result: 1st
No. 912 result: 7th

Round 7 – Road America
Road America

Porsche North America Racing’s good form continued at one of the USA’s most challenging tracks, Elkhart Lake. As in Canada, it was Pilet and Tandy in the no. 911 machine that led the field at the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

Bamber took pole in the no. 912 RSR before the sister’s car fuel strategy handed the advantage to the no. 911 car late in the race, giving Tandy and Pilet their second victory of the year.

Bergmeister rallied after the last fuel stop to move from third to second, giving Porsche its first one-two of 2015, moving the Stuttgart manufacturer to the head of the championship standings.
No. 911 result: 1st
No. 912 result: 2nd

Round 8 – Virginia International Raceway

Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet continued their winning streak at the Oak Tree Grand Prix in Virginia, their no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR proving to be the class of the field.

Leading the way from pole position again, the Briton land the foundations for his third USCC win of the year before Pilet brought the car home safe and sound, giving the Frenchman the lead in the drivers’ standings and placing the no. 911 atop the teams’ table.

The race was more of a battle for the no. 912 machine. However, after a scintillating battle in the final few laps, Bergmeister ensured that Porsche once again took a one-two finish.

No. 911 result: 1st
No. 912 result: 2nd

Round 9 – Lone Star Le Mans
2015 - United SportsCar Championship - Circuit of The Americas

For the penultimate race of 2015, the Tudor USCC headed to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Once again, the factory Porsche 911 RSRs were the class of the field but, for the first time since Watkins Glen, left the track without victory.

In a race with just two caution periods, both the no. 911 and no. 912 Porsches were forced to make a late splash and dash on the final lap, dropping Pilet and Tandy from first to third.

The no. 912 machine of Bamber and Bergmeister dropped from second to fifth, giving BMW a glimmer of hope heading into the championship decideder.
No. 911 result: 3rd
No. 912 result: 5th

Round 10 – Petit Le Mans
Road Atlanta

To secure all three Tudor USCC GTLM class title, Porsche North America Racing pulled off one of the great surprises of modern sports car racing as, in a race blighted by torrential downpours, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy won Petit Le Mans outright in a GT car.

In conditions that sometimes bordered on dangerous, the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR was very often the fastest car on the track, taking the lead for the final time just before a red flag brought proceedings to a close after eight of the scheduled ten hours.

The no. 912 car of Bamber, Bergmeister and Frédéric Makowiecki finished last in the GTLM class after a number of incidents but it didn’t stop Porsche from taking the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ championships.
No. 911 result: 1st
No. 912 result: 8th

For all the latest Porsche race and rally news, check out our dedicated motorsport section now.

2015 Tudor USCC: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race report

It has been a long time coming but Porsche North America Racing has finally secured its first Tudor United SportsCar Championship race win since its victory in the 2014 12 Hours of Sebring last March.

The no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Total 911 columnist, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet dominated the sixth GTLM race of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, leading from lights to flag at the 2.46-mile Ontario-based circuit.

Porsche’s control of the event began in the practice sessions, with Tandy topping the time sheets in the first session before the Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner bested them by just 0.012s in free practice two.

Tandy and Pilet's domination of USCC round six began with the former taking pole at the 2.56-mile Ontario circuit.

Normal service was resumed in the final free practice session though, with Tandy once again leading the way in the factory Porsche 911 RSR, converting that form into pole position during Saturday’s 15-minute grid-setting session.

The sister no. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister and Tandy’s Le Mans teammate, Earl Bamber did not fare so well as Bergmeister could only manage sixth, half a second down on the pole time.

Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race saw Tandy immediately scarper away into an early lead, building up a 2.5s buffer during the first 15 minutes before a safety car period eroded the British ace’s advantage.

Earl Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister struggled in the no. 912 Porsche 911 RSR struggled at the venue formerly known as Mosport, finishing seventh.

At the first round of pitstops, Pilet took over driving duties and, like at Watkins Glen, the Frenchman’s excellent form continued as he fended off the charging Corvette C7.Rs and BMW Z4s to retain the lead throughout the race’s middle stages.

With 35 minutes to go, Pilet handed the reins back to Tandy who once again set about building an advantage over the GTLM field, eventually taking the chequered flag an impressive 15.5s ahead of the no. 24 BMW.

Bergmeister and Bamber did not enjoy such a strong performance in the no. 912 car, struggling for pace in the dry, sunny conditions that greeted competitors at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

No one could head the no. 911 car as Porsche North America Racing took their first victory since the 2014 12 Hours of Sebring last March.

After never managing to match their competitors’ lap times, the Watkins Glen runners-up were eventually lapped on their way to finishing seventh, while the Watkins Glen-winning Team Falken Porsche 911 RSR of Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzer was forced to retire with just over 20 minutes to go after a gearbox problem.

The result strengthens Pilet’s position in the Tudor USCC driver standings while, despite the no. 912’s struggles, Porsche has moved into second place in the USCC manufacturers’ battle as it looks to defend its 2014 title.

Wisconsin’s Road America is the next venue for the GTLM circus as the Tudor United SportsCar Championship heads to Elkhart Lake for another two-hour, 40-minute race on 7-9 August.

For all the latest Porsche 911 race and rally news, make sure you check out our dedicated motorsport section now.

Both Pilet (left) and Tandy (right) are going through something of a purple patch form-wise. Can it continue at Elkhart Lake?

2015 Tudor USCC: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park preview

Porsche North America Racing heads to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport) this weekend still in search of its first Tudor United SportsCar Championship of 2015.

Last time out at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, Team Falken gave the Porsche 911 RSR its first victory of the year, beating the no. 912 works entry of Jörg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber in wet-dry-wet race at the upstate New York track.

2014 saw PNAR triumph at the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring but this season hasn’t proved as kind to the factory outfit with bad luck and mechanical problems keeping the no. 911 and no. 912 Porsche 911 RSRs away from the top step of the USCC podium.

Second for Earl Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister (left) last time out at Watkins Glen was PNAR's best result of 2015.

Watkins Glen looked like a turning point with the no. 911 car of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy leading the way early on thanks to the former’s heroics during a damp opening stint.

Unfortunately, the timing of safety cars saw them drop away from the podium places, while simultaneously promoting the sister no. 912 entry into second, challenging the Team Falken car for victory in the closing stages.

The result was still the factory Porsche squad’s best finish of the season so far, with Bergmeister and Bamber taking second, bettering Pilet and Michael Christensen’s third place from Laguna Seca in May.

Team Falken were infallible at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen. Can they show the same speed as Mosport?

Last season, Tandy and 2014 co-driver Richard Lietz finished fifth at Mosport in the no. 911 Porsche 991 RSR while Christensen and Patrick Long (both of whose factory programmes see them racing in the FIA WEC full-time this year) finished ninth in the no. 912 car.

The 2.459-mile Canadian Tire Motorsport Park track is one of the faster venues on the calendar, with majority of its ten corners featuring long, sweeping radii (a world away from the twisting street courses that made up the early part of the 2015 calendar).

After today’s practice, GTLM qualifying takes place at 4:40pm Eastern Time on Saturday, before the 160-minute race is flagged off on Sunday at 12:05pm ET.

For all the latest Porsche race and rally news, check out our dedicated motorsport section now.

The no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet set the pace during the early stages of round five.

TUSCC: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park preview

‘Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’ may not be the catchiest name in the motorsport world, nor may it be the most famous having only be used since 2012. However, under its original guise, Mosport Park, this Canadian circuit is jammed full of heritage.

Joining the Formula One World Championship in 1967, Mosport Park held eight points-scoring Grand Prix up until the arrival of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1978 (the current home of the Canadian Grand Prix).

This weekend, the United SportsCar Championship makes its first visit north of the US border to take in a two-hour, 45-minute-long race for the Prototype, GTLM, and GTD classes.

2014 Tudor USCC - Watkins Glen

The fast, undulating circuit is a favourite with drivers, with its 2.459-mile layout barely changing since the track’s inception in 1961. Like many of the recent high-speed circuit, Mosport’s dependency on aerodynamic grip is unlikely to play into the hands of the Porsche North America Racing crew.

The factory duo of Porsche 911 RSRs struggled to match the ultimate pace of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs at Watkins Glen last time out, though Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz very nearly wrestled their no. 911 entry onto the podium in upstate New York.

With the erstwhile championship-leading BMW Z4 of Andy Priaulx and Bill Auberlen struggling to 12th at ‘the Glen’, Tandy and Lietz are still well-placed in the championship battle, currently occupying fourth in the drivers’ standings, fifth in the teams’ standings, and helping Porsche to second in the manufacturer rankings.

2014 Tudor USCC - Watkins Glen

Tandy and Lietz’s teammates, Michael Christensen and Patrick Long will once again line up in the no. 912 Porsche 911 RSR and will be looking to add to their victory at Sebring back in round two.

Christensen has shown impressive pace in his first season as a Porsche works driver, with his qualifying performances often giving the no. 912 crew an advantage over Tandy and Lietz, both of whom are learning many of the US tracks for the first time this season.

Team Falken Tire will also be looking for a good result as they continue to get on top of their 991 RSR, the only GTE-spec customer 911 in the United States. Regular drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers will once again be behind the wheel.

2014 Tudor USCC - Watkins Glen

In the GTD class, Total 911’s Supercup frontrunner, Ben Barker will once again be Stateside this weekend as he is called up in place of Michael Avenatti in the no. 81 Tully’s Coffee 911 GT America.

The 22-year-old Briton impressed on his debut in Detroit and subsequently returned to the fray for the Watkins Glen Six Hours. Barker will partner experienced Irish 911 ace, Damien Faulkner at Mosport.

Action gets underway today before qualifying for GTD and GTLM classes takes place on Saturday at 5:20pm and 5:40pm Eastern Time respectively. The 165-minute race roars away at 2:05pm on Sunday.

2014 Tudor USCC - Watkins Glen



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