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Porsche Struggles To Find Pace In Laguna Seca IMSA Race

All credit to the Porsche 911 RSR team in the IMSA championship this year. The cars have been stellar, the drivers have converted good qualifying into good races, and the two factory-supported 911s have combined to win six of the 11 races so far this season. The team has managed to develop the best all-around package for this season so far, and lead the manufacturer’s and driver’s championship by a huge margin.

IMSA did not make any balance of performance changes to the 911 RSR for the Laguna Seca race, meaning the team is running the exact same weight and horsepower they used to win the VIR race a few weeks ago. However, because the race ran green flag from start to finish, Porsche could not find a tactical advantage in the pits over other teams, and ultimately both cars finished a lap down to the GTLM class winning Ford GT.

Despite starting the race in fourth, the #912 car of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber continued to fall down the time tables as temperatures heated up and the car struggled for grip on the greasy California track, finishing an uneventful and unimpressive 7th. Pilet and Tandy qualified the #911 car in 8th (last), and that is where the pair finished the race as well.

With just one race remaining in the season, next month’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta is for all the marbles.

Comments on the Race:

Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “The race in the GTLM class was the worst we’ve experienced with our factory cars this season. For once we weren’t competitive and for the first time in twelve months we didn’t finish on the podium. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect our bid for the championship, as we’re heading to the finale at Road Atlanta as the big favourites. We won the Sprint Cup classification in the GTD class with the brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Congratulations to Zacharie Robichon on winning the title and a big thank you to our team at Weissach for developing a great GT3 car.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “This simply wasn’t our race. We already noticed in practice that it’d be difficult for us in terms of tyre durability. Still, we tried our best in the race. But even with an immaculate performance from us drivers and a flawless job from the pit crew, we simply couldn’t do more. Now we’re looking ahead. It’ll undoubtedly be better for us at the final round at Road Atlanta.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We still hold a clear lead in the championship. That’s the most important thing after such a difficult race. We had no real chance today because there was too much wear on the tyres. I don’t know if we could have achieved more with a different strategy. It doesn’t matter now. We’re looking forward to the ten-hour race on the outskirts of Atlanta, which is where Porsche North America is based. We are keen to secure the championship title at our home race.”

GTLM class
1. Müller/Hand (D/USA), Ford GT, 114 laps
2. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 114 laps
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Corvette C7.R, 114 laps
7. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
8. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps

GTD class
1. Sellers/Lewis (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 110 laps
2. MacNeil/Vilander (USA/FIN), Ferrari 488 GT3, 110 laps
3. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 109 laps
4. Robichon/Hargrove (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 109 laps

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Patrick Long Hustles an 800-Horsepower 935-84 Around Laguna Seca!

Though these three laps were supposed to calm, Patrick Long didn’t get the memo. Either that, or his natural talent was enough to carry him to ~1:31 laps around Laguna Seca during last year’s Rennsport Reunion VI. The unspoken rule at events like these is to take things a little calmer—these cars aren’t cheap—than one might in an IMSA race. Some more cynical observers might call them a high-speed procession. Long had different ideas.

Long, sporting a retro-styled helmet for the event, gets to grips quickly with the 935 after one relatively slow lap. Even when his first flyer begins, traffic hinders his progress and makes his time all the more impressive. After threading through a pack of 935s, he demonstrates his disapproval of the other driver with a telling shake of the head (2:37). For a driver who’s always so diplomatic and measured in his speech, it’s nice to see some real emotion brought out by the heat of battle.

After getting held up through Turn 6, Long shoots this driver an irritated glare.

Still, like a icy cool professional, he proceeds unfazed. Despite the traffic an relatively cold tires, he loses minimal time, puts the 800 horsepower down cleanly,and rows the slightly notchy four-speed so smoothly. Without any major errors, he snags a 1:34 and makes it look simple.

The second lap is even faster. Free from as much traffic, he can ring out the 3.2-liter motor over Laguna’s Turn 1 and give us a great idea of the small nuclear explosion he’s riding on top of. The power delivery is quite abrupt, but the car still puts it down without much any histrionics; only a bit of wheelspin in slower corners like Turn 2 and The Corkscrew. In fact, the most oversteer appears at turn-in—watch how he has to mildly countersteer as he but Long’s quick hands keep the car pointed in the right direction. Only a consummate professional like him can make it look easy.

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Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Racing Stripes Edition : C’est l’Amérique !

La manufacture suisse Chopard a célébré le 70e anniversaire de Porsche, son partenaire en endurance depuis 2015, lors de la 6e édition de la Rennsport Reunion sur le circuit de Laguna Seca, en Californie. Un anniversaire mémorable marqué par une belle série limitée sportive. Le Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Racing Stripes Edition reprend les fameuses […]

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Watch Adam Carolla Guide his Ex-Paul Newman 935 Around Laguna Seca

Even when streaking downhill, the power advantage of the turbo cars is obvious.

This isn’t the first time Adam Carolla’s taken his ex-Newman 935 around Laguna Seca. Now a familiar face at the big-name vintage events there, he shows some genuine bravery when threading this $4.8M racing icon through traffic at this year’s Rennsport.

Though it’s a bit like hanging a Picasso above the stove, competing in the 935 is what it was meant to do—and the thick-skinned former host of The Man Show and Loveline proves his mettle by hustling this machine around a field of drivers of varying talent. The field’s one throughline: all the cars seen here cost a pretty penny. Therefore, even if the lap here is a bit on the casual side, he deserves a tip of the hat; putting a car that pricey in a compromising situation takes some courage.

What is obvious is the power advantage he and the driver of the yellow 935 enjoy. Screaming past a field of focused RSRs and 944 GTRs, the force-fed six is a real asset—especially at the power-favoring Laguna Seca circuit. With 589 horsepower and 437 lb-ft of torque powering a car weighing a mere ~2,200 pounds, it accelerates like an ICBM.

There are likely very few former construction workers who now fire a classic racing car around one of the most prestigious racing tracks in the world as a hobby. Watching this footage certainly gives me some motivation to wake up a little earlier in the morning.

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Porsche Pictures From Rennsport Reunion VI

We had such an incredible time at Rennsport Reunion this weekend, and we will be uploading more content from the largest Porsche motorsport event in history. For now, we’ve got an incredible array of photography from the extremely talented eyes of Brett Sloan and Greg Keysar, who were both at Laguna Seca watching it go down in real time. With shots from the race track, around the paddock, and in the vendor row, of cars both brand new and ancient, this is an excellent aproximation of what it was like to be at Rennsport. Of course, it’s impossible to truly experience Rennsport solely through photos, so check back throughout the week to see our extended coverage.

 
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