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Jim Pace Guides Us Around Road America in a Special Porsche 935

A brave, talented racer and the world’s fastest tour guide, Jim Pace shows us how to handle a flamespitting 935 around the fast and unforgiving sweepers of Road America. The Wisconsin-based track is one of the most beautiful and storied circuits in North America.

Pace has guided us through quick laps before, but this is one of the faster cars he’s been kind enough to share the passenger seat, if you like. This monster was build partly as a commemoration to the aluminum-monocoqued, 820-horsepower,two-ton, wing-laden monstrosities which John Paul Sr. and Jr. developed in the early eighties to dominate IMSA GTP. In fact, this particular car is a one-off designed to raise awareness for Huntington’s Disease, which afflicts John Paul Jr.

Thanks to the labored breathing punctuating Pace’s narration, we get a sense of how physically demanding this car is. The 935’s natural traction, when combined with a heavily turbocharged motor, makes even a seasoned driver pant. That said, Pace’s aggressive style, combined with that torque, means the rear tires spin quite easily out of the slowest corners—listen to the revs spike and howl at 5:15!

Getting on the power at the right moment and exploiting that turbocharged thrust seems to be Pace’s recurring aim—Road America is comprised of many long straights, after all. « Go now » and regular reads of the tachometer at certain corner exits demonstrate his focus on exiting cleanly and keeping the revs high. Running against some cars with even more grunt, he has to do everything in his power to stay competitive.

The classic paint scheme is reminiscent of an old Group 5 racer, yet still looks fresh.

Perhaps that’s why he’s constantly reassuring himself. In the heat of battle, it helps to soothe oneself with simple reminders, such as « eyes up » or « nice and steady. » In fact, when heading into the Kink at outrageous speeds (7:01), « breathe and squeeze » might actually be a life-saving reminder. After all, racing is a mental game, and to extract every iota of performance from a car as taxing as the JLP-HD1, one needs to keep themselves in a positive frame of mind.

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Turbocharged 993 Silhouette Monster Duels with Modern 997 RSR

 

In a battle between homegrown, tuner-crazy ingenuity and strict precision mandated by strict category rules, we get a dazzling view into how two very differently-built 911s handle on a high-speed circuit.

Under most circumstances, a Porsche 997 RSR, would never seem commonplace. However, the way the silver 993 Turbo in this video performs, at least in the straight line— the RSR feels almost plain.

Squatting and slithering under that colossal thrust, the 993 ekes out a gap whenever the road straightens.

Shock and horror—it’s not actually a 993

Instead, it’s a tube-framed silhouette GTP1 racer built by Fabcar with some 800 horsepower driving those massive rear wheels. It’s laggy, has incredible traction, is rudely quick down the straights, and brakes reasonably well, too—so it’s a force to be reckoned with at somewhere like Road America, where power is king. Say what you will about paying for club performance, but it’s a monumentally quick machine that has afforded a shop and an enthusiast the opportunity to exercise their own creativity and annoy the guys with the professional equipment.

Friedman—our camera man and someone with two decades of racing experience—uses his superior racecraft and consummate skill to keep his rival’s car from becoming a silver speck on the horizon. Additionally, his around-the-outside passes at Turns 9 and 10 show he has faith in his car where the 993 driver doesn’t. It also helps that the responsive 3.8-liter is kept in the prime of its powerband thanks to the sequential gearbox, and as a result, Friedman’s always able to close the gap in the technical sections.

In fact, his duel-clinching move shows him driving around the outside in Turn 8 with greater entry speed and an engine howling in the meat of its rev range (5:55). The driver in the Turbo, having played a little too defensively, cramps his line and is left lagging, and, with a serious knock to the ego, is forced to relinquish the lead to the bold man in the RSR.

The post Turbocharged 993 Silhouette Monster Duels with Modern 997 RSR appeared first on FLATSIXES.

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Leh Keen Hustles a Firebreathing 935 Against Vipers, ‘Vettes, and More

The tall talent from Georgia is at it once again, and this time he’s behind the wheel of a Kremer 935 K3, which spits out a staggering 800 horses in archetypically-turbocharged fashion. Leh Keen is a master of manhandling the rear-engined racing car and is no stranger to opposite lock or minimizing understeer, and when up against better balanced machinery at Road America, he shows just how to grab a car by the scruff of the neck and make it submit to his will.

As much of Road America is reasonably straight, Keen exploits the turbocharged motor by prodding the throttle early and aggressively to build boost, and square off his lines to give the rear tires an easier time; they’re already struggling enough trying to apply the thrust to the asphalt. His lines are also tailored to address the obvious understeer issue, which handicaps him slightly in the slower corners—where nimbler cars like a 997 Cup have the measure of him.

For the faster corners and kinks, of which there are many at Road America, he mitigates the push with an assertive approach. By turning in early, using the curbs to usefully upset the Porsche, and applying the throttle without much restraint, he yaws the car in the right direction so that, by the time the turbos have spooled, the 935 is mostly straight and he can engage the tractor beam.

Keen struggling with the only car which can truly outrun his 935: a Group A 320i Turbo.

However, Keen can’t always countersteer his way out of a sphincter-tightening situation. Through the daunting Turn 11,  which demands an early and subtle direction change, he’s forced to contend with a worrying amount of steering lock past the apex. With the walls that near and the speeds so high, you’d think the hair around his temples would have gone grey then and there, but considering how his forceful approach doesn’t change for the rest of the race, he probably won’t be ordering Just For Men anytime soon.

The post Leh Keen Hustles a Firebreathing 935 Against Vipers, ‘Vettes, and More appeared first on FLATSIXES.

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2016 WeatherTech USCC: Road America race report

With five minutes to go, the no. 911 Porsche North America Racing 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy looked to be in the catbird seat during round eight of the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship at Road America.

A full-course caution with 12 minutes remaining culminated in a three-lap sprint to decide the podium places, with Tandy behind the wheel of the no. 911 Porsche sitting in third, the car having run up the sharp end of the GTLM field all day at Elkhart Lake.

On the run down to turn five after the restart, Tandy swung to the outside as the leader, the no. 67 Ford GT was tapped from behind by the no. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE, forcing both wide of the apex.

Porsche 911 RSR No 912

Sensing a golden opportunity to give Porsche it’s first win on US soil since April (when Pilet and Tandy triumphed at Long Beach), the Briton cut back to the inside on the exit, looking to get the run on them both up to turn six.

A nudge from the Toni Vilander in the Ferrari was enough to destabilise the Porsche and, when Richard Westbrook in the Ford took a similary heavy-handed sideswipe at Tandy (with more contact made), the no. 911 RSR spun down the order.

The 2015 Le Mans winner was able to get back going but, with the field closed up by the caution period, the no. 911 was only able to finish in seventh, a result that didn’t do justice to the car’s much-improved competitiveness throughout the race (after Pilet had qualified the car on the front row on Saturday).

Porsche 911 RSR Road America pits

The no. 912 sister car of Earl Bamber and Frédéric Makowiecki fared little better during the three-lap sprint for the flag (despite running up the front, just behind the no. 911 machine, in the race’s early stages).

Makowiecki restarted from fourth but, having been promoted onto the provisional podium twice (by spins for Tandy and the no. 62 Ferrari respectively), the Frenchman was powerless to stop the no. 4 Corvette (the eventual race winner) and the no. 100 BMW M6 from find a way through.

The result leaves Porsche third on 234 point in the battle for the manufacturers’ crown, 25 points behind leaders, Chevrolet and just three points ahead of BMW ahead of the series’ visit to VIR at the end of the month.

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

Porsche 911 RSR Carousel

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2016 WeatherTech USCC: Road America preview

Ever since winning its first race of the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship season in round four at Long Beach, Porsche North America Racing has seen its challenge for further GTLM class triumphs stymied, not least by a raft of unfavourable Balance of Performance changes.

It’s a remarkable change in fortunes. This time last year, the US factory outfit was well on its way to securing all three USCC titles with a winning streak that included a one-two victory at Road America’s ‘Road Race Showcase’ event.

While Porsche is now a long shot to retain all three of its titles, there is a chance the works 911 RSR duo could be battling to repeat last season’s one-two as the USCC returns to Road America this weekend.

2016 - Ford Mustang2016 IMSA - Lime Rock Park

After a weight reduction before Mosport proved no more than lip service (the 911 RSR is already running as light as possible in the US series), championship organiser IMSA has now made further BoP changes to help the Porsches’ competitiveness.

With its long straights and high-speed corners, the 4.05-mile Wisconsin track near Elkhart Lake is a power circuit and the 911 RSRs should now benefit from an extra 0.3mm reduction in their air restrictor size, allowing the 4.0-litre Mezger flat six to breath better.

Porsche’s quartet of factory drivers are cautiously optimistic about their chances at Road America. “After things haven’t gone so well for us recently I’m hoping that our team’s hard work will be rewarded and that we regain a little of our old strength at Road America,” explained Frédéric Makowiecki, who will again partner Earl Bamber in the no. 912 machine.

2015 - IMSA/TUDOR United SportsCar - Road America

Last year’s GTLM winners, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR had to come all the way through the pack to triumph in 2015 and, while the latter admits “you don’t experience that every day”, his British teammate points out “it’s always great fun competing” at Elkhart Lake.

Heading into the eighth round of the 2016 season, the no. 912 machine leads the way for Porsche in the teams’ standings, sitting in sixth place, 38 points behind the championship leading no. 4 Corvette squad. On 179 points, the no. 911 crew is a further 11 points (and two positions further back).

Track action gets underway today with two practice sessions before the grid is set during Saturday’s qualifying session. The two-hour, 40-minute race is green-flagged at 4:05pm local time.

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

Porsche 911 RSR Lime Rock 911

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