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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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Mike Skeen Flogs a GT2 RS Around Virginia International Raceway

Put one of the most potent Porsche street cars in the hands of a formidable talent like Mike Skeen, and you get a first-rate demonstration of driving brilliance. The Blancpain, World Challenge, and Trans Am ace gets to terms quickly with the turbocharged monster on a truncated version of Virginia International Raceway, where the abundance of slow corners tests any driver with 700 horsepower under their right foot.

Wisely, Skeen takes the first lap cautiously, as the 991 GT2 RS is still a hot-blooded machine, even if it is more civil than the 997-gen car is. « I wouldn’t say it is unmanageable on cold tires at all, but I was surprised by the lift off oversteer around 1:07. I’d say that’s kind of a good sign for track-oriented car, though. It’s not going to rotate well when you want it to and be completely tame all the time, » Skeen adds.

Once tire temps climb slightly, he begins applying the throttle more eagerly, and it’s clear that the forced air 3.8-liter engine never runs out of puff. In fact, the RS has no trouble spinning the rears at the top of third gear at roughly eighty miles an hour (1:58). Skeen’s quick hands wrangle the slithering rear, but it’s safe to say that the car isn’t too fidgety, even for the likes of mere mortals without Skeen’s subtle touch.

« The power delivery definitely has a little bit of lag to it. It’s certainly not excessive, but you have to be on your toes a little bit. In that case exiting T1, you can see how the elevation changes slightly from uphill to flat, which was also a contributing factor. This was also with all of the electric nannies completely off, so you have to have quick hands if you’re going to push it under those conditions. »

Though the tires protest audibly, Skeen remarked on how sweet the car handled. « Pretty neutral. Rotation off-throttle. Slight understeer on power unless you got wheelspin, » he said stoically.

Skeen subtly countersteers after braking hard at ~135 miles an hour.

The stability under braking and incisive front end are noticeable from this energizing footage, which features driving that almost appears too composed for the speeds Skeen reaches. « Like the GT3RS, I was impressed by how well the front end worked, even under power exiting corners. Many older or less performance-oriented 911 models will quickly get light at the front and lose grip, but the front end works quite well here, » he elaborates.

Only hints of opposite lock are visible to the keen eye; the twitch of wheel under braking at 3:21 and 4:02, and under power at 3:32 and 4:08. It’s also noticeably composed under the curbs, and doesn’t seem to have any nasty habits, even at high speeds. Quickly, we see how agreeable this supposedly bloodthirsty monster is in the right hands, and how that accessible performance can translate into lap record after lap record.


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Porsche’s Results And Photos From Virginia International Raceway

Porsche attacked Virginia International Raceway with the team’s typical verve, but similar to their efforts at Silverstone in the WEC race, the IMSA teams had an up and down weekend with some good results and some quite poor. In the GT Daytona category, the Wright Motorsports team from central Ohio scored a well-deserved podium position. The factory team again fielded two cars in the GTLM class, one of which finished fifth in class, while the other fell out of the race from the lead with what Porsche is calling a « technical defect ».

The GTD action came hot and fast for the Wright Motorsports team of Christina Nielsen and Patrick Long, and ended with the team scoring their second podium of the season, coming home in second after a frenetic last lap. You can see that drama unfold in the short video below.


In the GTLM class, all looked good for the first hour or so, as Porsche fought their way to the front. The #911 car took the start from second on the grid with Patrick Pilet in the car. Near the end of the race’s first hour, Pilet moved into the lead as the formerly leading Ford GT pulled into the paddock behind the wall with a clutch issue. Within minutes, however, Pilet’s car was also failing. He pulled off the track from the lead and watched as his engine burst into flames. Thankfully no one was hurt. The sister car of Bamber and Vanthoor had an incident on the first lap and were awarded a drive through penalty as a result, dropping them immediately to the back. They spent the next two hours and forty minutes trying to recover from that lap one mistake, and could do no better than fifth.

Comments on the race

Steffen Höllwarth (Porsche Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship):

“That was a day with more lows than highs. Our number 912 car made contact with another vehicle in the first lap, which resulted in damage to a rim and we had to pull out prematurely. On top of that, there was a drive-through penalty. In the end we finished fifth. We implemented an aggressive strategy to put the 911 amongst the frontrunners. After about an hour there was a technical defect in drive train. But it wasn’t all negative: Our strategies were great, and the team put in perfect pit stops. We’ll be back in full force at Laguna Seca.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912):

“I gained a position right at the start, but then someone hit the rear of my car. We were handed a drive-through penalty and that threw us to the back of the field. Laurens then had to deal with the after-effects of the collision and couldn’t do better than fifth place.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The engineers put a well set-up car on the track for us today. Everything came together perfectly. I drove economically to conserve fuel so that we could stay out longer. Our strategy worked perfectly, as well, because we were running at the front when we had to retire unfortunately.”

Patrick Long (Porsche 911 GT3 R #58): “At my last pit stop I was lying eighth. I asked my team who else needed to come into the pits before us. They said: nobody. I pulled my seatbelt even tighter than usual and went for it. I’m delighted with second place. We’ve had a somewhat bumpy start to the season, but now we’re on a roll.”

Race Result GTLM class

1. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 88 laps
2. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 88 laps
3. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 88 laps
4. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 88 laps
5. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 88 laps
6. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 88 laps
DNF Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 42 laps
DNF Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 40 laps

Race Result GTD class

1. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC F GT3, 86 laps
2. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 86 laps
3. Legge/Farnbacher (GB/D), Acura NSX GT3, 86 laps
4. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 86 laps
5. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 86 laps
6. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 86 laps
7. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Audi R8 LMS GT3, 86 laps
8. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson (GB/DK), Lexus RC F GT3, 86 laps


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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.


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2015 Tudor USCC: Virginia International Raceway race report

Porsche North America Racing is officially on a roll. Round eight of the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship at Virginia International Raceway saw the US factory team takes its third consecutive victory of the year, strengthening Weissach’s grip on the manufacturers’ title.

As at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America, it was the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Patrick Pilet and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Nick Tandy that led the way, romping home to 27-second victory over the sister no. 912 RSR of Earl Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister.

Weissach’s domination of proceedings at VIR began in qualifying where the two works Porsche 911 RSRs were perfectly set up for a track that, due to high ambient temperatures, was much slower than the earlier practice sessions.

Pilet (left) and Tandy (centre) have been using their newly developed Michelin tyres to good effect recently in the United SportsCar Championship.

Tandy quickly jumped to the head of the timing screens, proceeding to better his times with almost every lap before plateauing with a 1m42.532s, good enough for his third GTLM pole position (the first man in USCC history to do so).

Bergmeister was never far behind in the no. 912 car though and would eventually qualify second, less than a tenth of a second away to secure Porsche’s first front row lockout of the season.

Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race kicked off with Tandy once more asserting his authority, stretching out an advantage over the chasing pack during his opening stint before handing over Patrick Pilet at the first tyre stops.

After escaping early on, there was no stopping the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Tandy and Pilet.

Behind, Bergmeister’s run was made more complicated thanks to the attentions of Pierre Kaffer in the no. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia. Contact between the pair on lap one saw the Porsche drop to third before Bergmeister moved back into second at Oak Tree turn.

However, Kaffer wasn’t finished, demoting Bergmeister once again to third, a position where Bergmeister would stay until handing over to Bamber at the first round of tyre stops.

While Pilet maintained the no. 911 machine’s advantage out front, Bamber was forced to rally having dropped to fifth behind the early-stopping BMW Z4s. Trading fastest laps with Pilet, the Kiwi racer carved through the GTLM field to take second just before his final tyre change.

In a race without any caution periods, slick pit work was a necessity. As ever, Porsche North America Racing excelled.

After the out of sequence BMWs pitted again, the two Porsches (with Tandy back at the wheel of the no. 911 RSR) led the field, although Bamber was some 30 seconds back from his Le Mans teammate.

Tandy, managing fuel and tyres perfectly was able to comfortably take the chequered flag, giving the Porsche 911 RSR its first outright victory (the race at VIR being contested only by the GTLM and GTD teams).

Behind though, Bamber was forced to save fuel in the final laps, allowing the no. 62 Ferrari to close back in. Some traffic on the penultimate lap saw the gap drop from four seconds to just two, before a slow final lap for Bamber allowed the Ferrari right onto his rear wing through the final two turns.

Earl Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister had to settle for their third second-place finish of 2015 at Virginia International Raceway.

Bamber held on though, taking second place by just 0.575 seconds to secure Porsche North America Racing’s second consecutive one-two finish in the United SportsCar Championship.

Not only does the result strengthen Porsche’s position atop the manufacturers’ table but, thanks to the no. 3 Corvette’s sixth place finish, it also vaults Pilet and the no. 911 crew to the top of the driver and team standings, with a five point advantage in both.

Just two rounds now remain in the 2015 season, with the USCC circus next heading to Austin, Texas for another two-hour, 40-minute event at COTA (alongside the FIA WEC race) on 17-19 September.

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

While PNAR made hay in the Virginia sunshine, it was another tough weekend for the Team Falken Porsche 911 RSR. Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler finished seventh.


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