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Porsche Netted A Double Podium In WEC Fuji Round

After two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Porsche leads the GTE Pro category in points following a win at Silverstone with a podium place at the 6-hour race in Fuji. Michael Christensen paired with Kevin Estre to come home in second position this weekend in their #92 Porsche 911 RSR. With this successful result, the pair have also moved into the lead of the drivers’ championship. Their teammates Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz had the absolute opposite race, starting from pole position and finishing 6th. The #91 car suffered all race with misfiring issues, an untimely tire puncture, and a drive-through penalty. Meanwhile, in the GTE Am category, the Porsche-driving Project 1 team of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, and Felipe Fraga came home in third position to give Porsche two different class podiums in the same race.

Christensen and Estre mounted a comprehensive assault against the GTE Pro competition, starting the race from last place in class and climbing through the field to an impressive 2nd position finish. With quick laps and a smart pit stop strategy (plus a bit of luck) the team worked well through the 6-hour race. The race began, in typical Fuji fashion, under safety car for heavy rain. That weather cleared up for the first couple of hours, but came back with a vengeance in the 3rd and 4th hours of action. With the right tire strategy and impressive Porsche rain driving dynamics, the pair of drivers were in the cat bird seat for the finish, and pitted at exactly the right time during the race’s caution periods.

The GTE Am Project 1 team had a very similar story, starting from dead last on the grid. The trio gave a spirited chase through the entirety of the 6-hours, but ultimately the Aston Martins were better suited to the Fuji track, and won in both classes.

Comments on the race
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “After the one-two success at Silverstone we’ve now finished on the podium at Fuji with our new Porsche 911 RSR. We’re still at the top of the manufacturers’ championship, and a Porsche duo is also leading the driver’s classification. Our balance sheet looks good. We’re now feeling confident and full of excitement for the upcoming race in China.”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “The overall result with both vehicles doesn’t really meet our expectations, but we’re pleased about second place for the number 92 car. In the first two races of the season, we’ve secured a one-two at Silverstone as well as a podium result and pole position at Fuji. That’s a great start for our new Porsche 911 RSR. We’re heading to the next races feeling highly motivated.”

Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “Pole position on Saturday, second in the race on Sunday, we can be very pleased with this. Everything went according to plan with our number 92 car, but the number 91 vehicle was plagued with troubles. Damage from a puncture, a drive-through penalty and misfiring – it seems pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I hope that we’ve used up all the bad luck for the rest of the season. We’ll be back in full force again at Shanghai.”

Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “After the super pole position on Saturday, we were disappointed with how the race went for us on Sunday. Our pace was good at the beginning but unfortunately the penalty, tyre problem and misfiring relegated us to sixth place. We’ll now take a very good look at this and fix the problem.”

Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “When you start from the last grid spot and cross the finish line in second, then you’ve definitely done everything right. Our strategy worked perfectly, we got the absolute maximum out of it. Thanks to this podium result, Kévin and I are now leading the world championship. We’re certainly can’t complain about that.”

Race result
GTE-Pro class
1. Sörensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 211 laps
2. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 210 laps
3. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage, 210 laps
6. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 208 laps

GTE-Am class
1. Yoluc/Eastwood/Adam (TR/IRL/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 208 laps
2. Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen (F/F/DK), Ferrari 488 GTE, 207 laps
3. Keating/Fraga/Bleekemolen (USA/BR/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, 207 laps
5. Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 207 laps
7. Perfetti/Heinemeier Hansson/Cairoli (N/DK/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 206 laps
8. Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 204 laps
9. Preining/de Leener/Hoshino (A/B/J), Porsche 911 RSR, 198 laps

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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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Porsche Just Can’t Stop Winning, Grabs Sixth IMSA Win In VIR

The 2019 IMSA sports car season has just two races remaining this season, and Porsche is on track to secure a number of important championships. From the nine rounds this year so far, Porsche has won six of them, with three victories going to each the #911 car of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, and the #912 car of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber. Because this most recent round of the championship was run at Virginia International Raceway without the faster Prototype class, Porsche can also count itself as the only GTLM team this year to net an overall victory.

And with the win, Porsche have secured the Manufacturer’s title in the series. A few other important championships are still up for grabs, but look pretty solidly Porsche.

Laurens Vanthoor started the sunny and hot race from pole position and held on to his early lead through the first corner. Nick Tandy, who started the race from fifth on the grid made an incredible outside pass move on four cars to move up into second behind the sister Porsche. From that point until the end of the race a Porsche was nearly always in control of the lead. Despite being on different fuel strategies, both the 911 and 912 maintained a 1-2 lead over the rest of the field.

 

When the first caution of the race came, Porsche was on top of the situation and executed perfect pit stops. When the race returned to green, the Porsche drivers executed perfect restarts. It was textbook stuff out there, as the red, black, and white mid-engine 911 RSRs showed taillights to the rest of the field. Through pit strategy, the Tandy/Pilet car moved into the lead and stayed there, while polesitters Vanthoor/Bamber were forced to settle for second. It was a tough fight between the two Porsche cars for the full length of the race, but in the end only one can win.

Comments on the race
Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “I’m incredibly proud of the whole team. What a great team effort. We opted for a good strategy for this circuit, the racetrack suits the Porsche 911 RSR perfectly, and our pit stops were again excellent. We were rewarded for this. Now we’ll enjoy and celebrate our double victory. On Monday, we’ll begin the meticulous work for the last two races of the year.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I had a really great start. In the first corner everyone took the inside line. I braked late and managed to make up four positions by taking the outside line. That was the key to success. The car ran beautifully over the entire race weekend and our strategy was super. A great team effort.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “You can’t do better than a one-two result. It’s a fantastic result for the entire squad. Both Porsche 911 RSR were consistently fast over the whole weekend. Of course, Earl and I would have preferred to stand at the top of the podium, but one can’t really complain about position two.”

Race result
Overall classification
1. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 88 laps
2. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 88 laps
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Corvette C7.R, 88 laps

GTD class
1. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 86 laps
2. Farnbacher/Hindman (D/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 86 laps
3. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 86 laps
4. Hargrove/Robichon (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 86 laps
5. Long/Lindsey (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 86 laps

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Le Porsche Endurance Trophy poursuit son partenariat avec Michelin

Entre Porsche et Michelin, c’est une belle et longue histoire d’amour. C’est notamment avec le manufacturier de pneus français que la marque de Stuttgart a récemment accumulé les victoires aux 24 Heures du Mans et les titres mondiaux en FIA WEC. Et c’est aussi Michelin qui équipe les coupes monomarques Porsche… dont la Porsche Carrera …

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Herbert Ampferer: tales from Weissach

Herbert Ampferer is Austrian, and as soon as he finished his engineering studies at Steyr, his only thought was to get away to avoid military service which, 25 years after the war, had become extraordinarily unpopular. “I went to Sweden – thought I might find engineering work there. One evening I met a fellow Austrian in a bar in Stockholm, and over a beer I said to him I had two priorities: a girlfriend and a job.

“He thought he could help with the second and suggested that a sports car company in Stuttgart where he worked could probably find a place for me. It was called Porsche. I had never heard of it, but within a few weeks I had swapped Stockholm for Stuttgart and found myself employed at Zuffenhausen. I went straight into the engine department. I liked it immediately because of its ‘Austrian’ atmosphere.”

This was just as well because his first task was Entwicklungsauftrag EA 266, the project to build a small VW with an air-cooled engine beneath the rear seat: “It was horribly complicated,” recalls Ampferer. “Bent drives, drives running round corners… unbelievably complex.” It was a relief to move to the 924 project, intended as a joint venture with Audi which Porsche ended up taking over. In doing so it inherited the VW water-cooled four-cylinder engine: “It was a high-compression OHC unit with a long stroke that gave good mpg. But the cast-iron block was heavy. It was the beginning of Porsche’s learning curve with in-line water-cooled engines.”

It was the beginning of Ampferer’s learning curve too; the Audi unit would be reworked: “We put in a forged-steel crankshaft and extra-large main bearings, and we used screws for valve adjustment rather than Audi’s shims; we cut recesses into the pistons to avoid damage if the cam belt broke. We also had to redesign the manifold to fit the 924’s limited space. A deep sump kept the engine height low, and I finned it, which saved fitting an oil cooler.”

As well as working on all versions of the 924, including the GT, he would go on to develop the 2.5 for the 944: “A very interesting project that was much more than just half a 928 engine. We had to design the 2.5 to fit the front suspension. The inspiration for the balancer shafts came from Mitsubishi; they added 12kg, but there was negligible additional friction. We built a prototype 924 engine with balancer shafts – you’ll find my signature on the first drawings of them!”

Chief of the engine department was Robert Binder; he recognised the young Ampferer’s raw talent early and put him to work on turbocharging. At that stage in early 1973 Porsche was studying the use of turbochargers – proving so successful in the Can-Am 917 racers – in road cars. “Valentin Schäffer had already done most of the development on the racing turbo. My job was to draw the concept for the road cars. The main difference is packaging: racing cars are open everywhere, so heat dissipation isn’t difficult, but acceptable styling for road cars meant we had to find ways of defusing this heat. There was also the problem of drivability – a racing car has the throttle either wide open or closed, but for road use you need part throttle openings. The turbochargers we had then were basically made for diesel engines, and they were not readily mappable to the requirements of petrol. When we had gone as far as we could with that, we then had to design the wastegate to retain exhaust pressure within the system so that when the throttle was released, the turbo did not stop turning.”

For the full interview with engineer Herbert Ampferer on Weissach’s secrets, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 176 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.

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