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Petit Le Mans

Porsche’s Results And Pictures From Petit Le Mans

This weekend marked the final round of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship at Road Atlanta’s famed Petit Le Mans. The ten-hour race in northern Georgia was bound to be a tough one from the start, but Porsche was more than ready for the challenge. The mid-engine 911 RSR competitors donned a throwback livery in the form of 1998’s Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 with Mobil oils white, blue, and red. Both cars looked spectacular as the green flag flew, and they were both incredibly quick. The team ran a largely flawless race, and managed to take the victory they so desperately wanted, their third win of the season.

The #911 car was the one to cross the finish line first in the GTLM class, having run into almost no issues all race long. This is the age-old Porsche strategy of running consistently quick lap times while staying out of the pits as much as possible to place higher. It worked at Le Mans, and it worked at Petit Le Mans. Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, and Fred Mako put in an incredible effort to win over the competitive GTLM field with BMW, Ferrari, Ford, and Corvette doing everything they can to win themselves. With about three hours remaining on the race clock, Mako moved the #911 into the lead of the class, and maintained that lead through his stint. He then handed off to Tandy, who brought the car home in the lead with a margin of over 11 seconds.

Meanwhile, the #912 team car of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Mathieu Jaminet spent much of the opening few stints at the front of the pack as well, despite having slowed for a punctured tire early on in the endurance race. A mistake, which incurred a drive-through penalty, cost the team any shot, however. Losing that time in the pits was too insurmountable to make back up, and they ultimately finished down in 6th, one minute behind the winning sister car.

In GTD, Porsche’s Wright Motorsports team suffered similar to the #912, having run up front early, but falling out with a drive-through penalty. Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen, and Robert Renauer put in as strong a drive as a trio can, but could do no better than just off the podium in fourth, one lap down. Meanwhile, the Park Place Motorsports car retired before the end of the race.

Comments on the race

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars):

“Our strategy worked perfectly. Right from the start, we focused on having a car at the end of the race that was very fast in cool conditions. Patrick laid the foundations for this success with a strong double stint. Nick and Fred then brought it home. But you need the right tactic, too, and that worked perfectly. Petit Le Mans was a huge race. This victory fits perfectly with the successes that came just in time for Porsche’s 70th anniversary. If someone had written a film script for such a scenario, no one would have believed it to be real. But it worked and that’s just terrific!”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport):

“It was a gripping race with highs and lows. Minor errors on the racetrack cost us some time, but with perfect strategies and tyre choices we made it to the front of the field. After victories in Sebring and at Le Mans and now Petit Le Mans – the entire team simply did a perfect job, and today we extended the contract with the squad for another three years. Now we’ll prepare for next season.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911):

“Such moments underline why we systematically work together as a unit throughout the year. In such races you’re rewarded for this. We always believed we could win. When Nick climbed into the car for the final stints, I said to him: “Do it like at the Nürburgring. Go flat out and give it all you’ve got.” That’s exactly what he did. Everything came together. I’m incredibly proud of the whole team. To score so many victories at major races in one season is simply a dream.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912):

“This race actually went like the second half of the season: We had every chance to win, but we walked away empty handed. Congratulations to our teammates in the 911. It was a tremendous achievement for Patrick, Nick and Fred.”

Race results

GTLM class
1. Tandy/Pilet/Makowiecki (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 419 laps
2. Milner/Gavin/Fässler (USA/GB/CH), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 419 laps
3. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert (FIN/USA/AUS), BMW M8 GTE, 419 laps
4. Sims/De Phillippi/Auberlen (GB/USA/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 419 laps
5. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (AUS/GB/USA), Ford GT, 419 laps
6. Vanthoor/Bamber/Jaminet (B/NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 419 laps
7. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 418 laps
8. Magnussen/Garcia/Fässler (DK/E/CH), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 417 laps
9. Vilander/Molina/Bertolini (FIN/E/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 416 laps

GTD class
1. MacNeil/Serra/Jeannette (USA/BRA/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 407 laps
2. Legge/Parente/Hindman (GB/P/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 407 laps
3.Sellers/Snow/Lewis (USA/USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 406 laps
4. Long/Nielsen/Renauer (USA/DK/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 406 laps
13. Henzler/Pumpelly/Pappas (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 122 laps

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Porsche’s GTLM Team Will Run A Throwback 911 GT1 Livery For Petit Le Mans

Porsche Motorsport North America finally understands that fans want to see something other than the staid and German red/white/black stripe livery that they have been running all year. I think Porsche got more press for running a Pink Pig and a Rothmans livery on two of their 911 RSRs at Le Mans this year than they did for actually winning the damn race! That theory is back again with a striking throwback visual to the 911 GT1 that dominated Le Mans in 1998 with its wild Mobil 1 livery. This is perhaps one of the least repeated liveries in Porsche’s history, but it looks awfully good on the current mid-engine 911 RSR.

Porsche will be running Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, and Frederic Makowiecki in the red-accented #911 car, while Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Mathieu Jaminet will be sharing the acid-green-accented #912 car. Earl Bamber is fresh off a weekend down under racing with Shane Van Gisbergen in the Red Bull Holden Racing Australia car during the Bathurst 1000k race. Porsche have not had an incredible year in IMSA this year, suffering from some pretty atrocious luck. The team have not won a race since the fourth round at Mid Ohio back in May. Here’s hoping for some of that 1998 Le Mans magic for the guys at Petit this weekend.

You can watch the full 10-hour race on Fox Sports networks.

Saturday, October 13th – 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern on Fox Sports 1
Saturday, October 13th – 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM Eastern on Fox Sports 2

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PORSCHE’S RESULTS AND PICTURES IN THE IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE AT Petit Le Mans

Porsche’s 2017 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship came to a close this weekend in Braselton, Georgia at Road Atlanta. While Porsche’s results in the race itself were mixed at best, they were enough to clinch the the GTLM-class title in the North American Endurance Cup.

What Is The North American Endurance Cup Anyway?

It’s a series within a series. It’s a unique four-race competition encompassing the marquee endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship. The Endurance Cup begins with the the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. and includes the remaining three endurance races in the regular WeatherTech Series. The second event is the Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The third is the Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The Endurance Cup ends with Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., which is also the season finale for the WeatherTech series.

The winners in each of the classes are awarded points at specific intervals for drivers, teams and manufacturers:

    • For the Rolex 24 At Daytona, points are awarded at six hours, 12 hours, 18 hours, and at the finish.
    • At the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, points are awarded at four hours, eight hours and at the finish.
    • At the Six Hours of The Glen, points are awarded at three hours and at the finish.
    • At Petit Le Mans, points are awarded at four hours, eight hours and at the finish.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “We’ve clinched the first title for the new 911 RSR at this race. By winning the North American Endurance Cup for drivers and teams, we’ve shown that we were always at the front at the right time for the major endurance races and, hence, have underlined the reliability of our car over the season. For a maiden season with a completely new car, this was a good performance. Congratulations to our customer teams for their podium results in the GTD class. With outstanding performances from drivers and teams, they’ve once again shown what our 911 GT3 R can do. I hope that they can repeat these successes next year.”

Porsche’s Overall Performance This Season

During its maiden race season in the USA and Canada, the new Porsche 911 RSR had already notched up numerous successes. Its first victory came on 22 July at Lime Rock, with four podium placings at Daytona, Long Beach, Elkhart Lake and Laguna Seca as well as pole position at Bowmanville.

GTLM class Race results

1. Auberlen/Sims/Wittmer (USA/GB/CAN), BMW M6, 392 laps
2. Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette, 392
3. Fisichella/Vilander/Pier Guidi (I/SF/I)), Ferrari 488 GTE, 392
4. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette, 392
5. Vanthoor/Bruni/Bamber (B/I/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, + 392
6. Pilet/Werner/Tandy (F/D/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 392

7. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 392
8. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon (GB/USA/NZ), Ford GT, 390
9. Edwards/Tomczyk/Catsburg (USA/D/NL), BMW M6, 338

Porsche in GTD

At Petit Le Mans, Porsche customer teams contesting the GTD class with support from works drivers, concluded the season with a strong performance before heading into the winter break.

      • Michael Christensen (Denmark) and his American teammates Daniel Morad and Michael de Quesada scored second place with the 911 GT3 R campaigned by Alegra Motorsports.
      • Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) finished on third with the Americans Patrick Lindsey and Matthew McMurry.

Jörg Bergmeister (911 GT3 R #73): “To conclude such a tough season with a podium always feels great – especially after starting from twelfth on the grid. It was a gruelling race, particularly because we didn’t have a cooling vest or drink bottle. But I enjoy such challenges.”

This season, both squads netted a victory each with the 500+hp customer sport racer: Alegra Motorsports won the 24-hour classic at Daytona, with Park Place Motorsports winning Lime Rock.

GTD class Race results

1. De Phillippi/Mies/van der Linde (USA/D/RSA), Audi R8, 382 laps
2. Morad/Christensen/de Quesada (USA/DK/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 382
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 382
5. Braun/Bennett/Jonsson (USA/USA/S), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 380

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Difficult qualifying for the 911 RSR at Road Atlanta

Petit Le Mans on the tradition-steeped Road Atlanta racetrack promises to be a fierce finale to the IMSA SportsCar Championship season: In the qualifying session for Saturday’s ten-hour race in the US state of Georgia, the fastest eight in the GTLM class were separated by just five-tenths of a second.

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2016 United SportsCar Championship season review

In 2015, Porsche North America Racing captured all three GTLM class titles in the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship, the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet capturing four victories along the way, including a famous outright triumph at the season-ending Petit Le Mans.

For this year though, new GTLM technical regulations were introduced, leading to newly developed entries from Ferrari (in the shape of its 488 GTE) and the radical Ford GT. Porsche, meanwhile, choosing to focus on creating an all-new racer for 2017, brought along an updated version of its 2015 car.

Despite this, at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the traditional curtain raiser for the American sports car season, the factory Porsche 911 RSRs were able to lock out the front row in qualifying, converting this position into a solid one-two during the first half of the race.

sebring

As the daylight hours returned on Sunday morning, the Porsches’ pace advantage began to wain but still the two cars circulated at the head of the field until, with five hours to go, disaster struck the no. 911 entry of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Kévin Estre, a driveshaft failing on the high-speed banking.

This left Earl Bamber, Frédéric Makowiecki and Michael Christensen in the no. 912 RSR to fight the two Chevrolet Corvettes but, despite taking the lead after the final round of pitstops, Porsche had to settle for a solid third place at the end of a day’s racing.

The 12 Hours of Sebring brought a similar result for the two factory 911s, the no. 912 car battling through the rain and red flags to secure another third place while the no. 911 retired at half distance when Estre made a failed passing attempt while defending the lead and cannoned into the barriers at turn one.

2016 - Long Beach Grand Prix

After the two longest races on the calendar, round three at Long Beach provided the shortest encounter of the year with just 100 minutes of race action around the Californian street circuit.

Unsurprisingly, it also made for one of the most frenetic races of the year, with the result – Porsche’s first victory of the year only decided in the final few laps when Makowiecki missed his braking point and punted into the back of the no. 4 Corvette.

Spinning the erstwhile leader (and forcing the no. 912 car into retirement), the Frenchman’s mistake allowed teammate Tandy in the no. 911 RSR into a lead the British ace duly converted to victory.

2016 - IMSA - Laguna Seca

Round four at Laguna Seca saw Bamber and Makowiecki take another third place finish for the no. 912 crew however, the Pilet and Tandy’s hopes were dashed early on when one of the Corvettes hit the back of the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, knocking the car down the order. The Anglo-French duo would eventually finish ninth.

After four races, Porsche was just three points behind Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings, while Bamber and Makowiecki sat similarly placed in the drivers’ table (albeit 12 points off the top thanks to their Long Beach DNF).

If Weissach was still in with a chance of retaining its titles now, the same couldn’t be said after the conclusion of the next four races: Watkins Glen, Mosport, Lime Rock and Road America (circuits that, in 2015, saw Porsche North America Racing kick-start their championship challenge).

2016 - IMSA - Watkins Glen

Both factory 911 RSRs failed to make the podium through the middle of the season, hamstrung by changes to the Balance of Performance and a general lack of pace compared to the newly developed Fords and Ferraris.

At ‘The Glen’ the two RSRs brought up the tail end of the GTLM pack, improving slightly during the trip north of the border to Mosport. Lime Rock Park – a new addition to the USCC calendar – was similar fruitless before Bamber and Makowiecki managed to salvage a little bit of honour with fourth at Road America.

It wouldn’t be until round nine at Virginia International Raceway that one of the works Porsche 911 RSRs would be back on the podium, Bamber and Makowiecki battling hard in extreme heat to finish third (while Tandy and Pilet came home sixth after an off-track excursion).

2016 IMSA - Circuit of The Americas

With some momentum behind them, Porsche enjoyed its most competitive outing of the year at Circuit of the Americas. The two works 911 RSRs were the class of the field during the Lone Star Le Mans event, taking a much-needed one-two.

Tandy and Pilet in the no. 911 car were originally on course for victory but, with a slim chance of retaining their trio of titles, Porsche choose to swap the two cars’ positions, handing the lead to the no. 912 RSR, a move that gave Bamber his first USCC win.

At Petit Le Mans neither Porsche 911 was ever really in contention though. The no. 911 car again suffered with reliability issues while Bamber and Makowiecki struggled for pace on the way to fifth, a result that saw Porsche finish third in the final manufacturers’ standings.

For more of the latest Porsche 911 race new and reports, check out our dedicated motorsport section now.

2016 IMSA - Petit Le Mans

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