New record: 911 RSR scores fifth straight win

The Porsche GT Team has set a new record in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor won round six at Bowmanville (Canada) in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR and thus notched up the fifth win in a row for Porsche – a feat that no other manufacturer in the GTLM class has managed by now. 

The race

Their works driver colleagues in the No. 911 sister car, Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), rounded off the outstanding team result with third place. 

The Porsche GT Team again implemented perfect pit stops and a good strategy to bring home victory at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Immediately after the start, the factory pilots made full use of the potential of the Porsche 911 RSR. In the very first lap, both vehicles gained one position, and after just 20 laps the cars were running in second and third and on course for the podium. With about an hour left on the clock, Bamber moved into the lead, which he retained to the flag. The race over 2:40 hours was interrupted for ten minutes in the closing phase due to a serious accident involving a prototype vehicle. In the final 15-minute sprint, Tandy battled for second place. Although the British racer was unable to find a sufficient gap to overtake, he crossed the finish line just 2.177 seconds behind the winning sister car. 

Lead in the manufacturers’ classification

Thanks to this fifth win from six races of the 2019 IMSA season, Porsche has further extended its lead in the manufacturers’ classification. Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) have taken over the front spot from their works driver colleagues Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, who now rank second.

In the GTD class, the Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (USA) and his compatriot Patrick Lindsey secured fourth place. The pair sharing the Porsche 911 GT3 R run by Park Place Motorsports narrowly missed out on a podium step by just 0.373 seconds. The identical 500+hp GT3 car fielded by the customer squad Pfaff Motorsports brought home fifth place. The two Canadians Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon had at times been in second place at their home race, but were thrown down the field after being handed a drive-through penalty. 

Comments on the race

Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “First of all, I’m really pleased that nothing serious happened to the driver in the terrible accident involving the prototype car. That’s the most important thing. As far as our race result is concerned, I’m simply proud of everyone. We very deliberately implemented two different strategies to be prepared for all eventualities. In terms of the team and the drivers, the race was perfectly executed. Five wins in a row is the well-deserved reward for the great work over these intense weeks.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Porsche is the first manufacturer to achieve five straight wins – an incredible record considering the tough competition. The path to victory was paved not only by our perfectly set-up 911 RSR but, above all, by implementing optimal strategies. The sprint at the end was not for the fainthearted. We headed into the final ten laps with cold tyres, and we needed to turn qualifying laps. It was intense, exciting, exhausting and ultimately successful – simply perfect!”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The best thing about this victory is that we fought hard for it and the team and drivers did a perfect job. That was the key. Again we didn’t have the fastest car on the track, but again we made the most of what was possible. Five straight wins from six races so far this season is an incredible record. In the drivers’ championship, we’ve taken over the lead again. The duel against our colleagues will certainly continue to be intense over the coming weeks.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “It’s another banner day for Porsche. The team implemented different strategies for our two cars. While we had luck on our side with the tactics at the previous round at Watkins Glen, this time we were behind. Perhaps we could switch roles again at the next race. We’re happy with third place, and five wins in a row for Porsche is simply sensational.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “Scoring five victories in a row, which are divided almost equally between the two driver crews, clearly underline that Porsche has two irons in the fire at each race. It’s always the details that make all the difference. Today our strategy was slightly worse, and the tyres on our car deteriorated a little more than those on the sister car. It’s great that the No. 912 car was in the right spot to win.” 

Race result

GTLM class
1. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 116 laps
2. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 116 laps
3. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 116 laps

GTD class
1. Auberlen/Foley (USA/USA), BMW M6 GT3, 113 laps
2. Farnbacher/Hindman (D/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 113 laps
3. Bell/Montecalvo (USA/USA), Lexus RC F GT3, 113 laps
4. Long/Lindsey (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 113 laps
5. Robichon/Hargrove (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 113 laps

Full results: http://imsa.alkamelsystems.com

The qualifying

The Porsche GT Team tackles round six of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Bowmanville from the fourth grid position. Patrick Pilet secured a spot on the second grid row in qualifying at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The Frenchman and his works driver teammate Nick Tandy (Great Britain) currently rank first in the drivers’ classification with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) posted the fifth quickest qualifying time in the ca. 510 hp sister car (No. 912), which he shares with Earl Bamber (New Zealand).

In warm, sunny conditions, the two Porsche 911 RSR waited for several minutes at the start of the session for the track conditions to improve and to get the benefit of more grip. Midway through the qualifying, Pilet and Vanthoor swapped places at the front of the class, but were ultimately nudged from the top of the timesheets by several rivals. A final attempt proved unsuccessful, as the tyres no longer offered optimal grip after many laps. 

In the GTD class, the Canadian Porsche customer team Pfaff Motorsports takes up its home race from the third grid row. Zacharie Robichon (Canada), who shares the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R with his compatriot Scott Hargrove, landed on fifth place. In the identical 500+hp GT3 vehicle from Weissach, Patrick Lindsey turned the seventh fastest lap. The American is joined in the No. 73 car fielded by Park Place Motorsports by Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA).

Qualifying quotes

Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “The qualifying result is satisfactory. We were aware that we wouldn’t have the best car over a single lap. Our pace over the distance makes us confident for the race. Our long-runs in practice were strong. With optimal teamwork in the pits, perfect strategies and strong driving performances we want to get ahead in the race. This is what yielded us victory last week at Watkins Glen. We’d like to do it again at Mosport.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “We have to wait and see how the situation plays out in the race. I think we’ve opted for the better tyres for the start, while some of our competitors focussed completely on the qualifying. Our car was not ideally setup for the qualifying, but the Porsche 911 RSR is very strong on the long runs. We’ll have good chances in the race.”

Lauren Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “I’m not totally satisfied because more was possible. Unfortunately I was hampered by a yellow flag during my flying lap. That cost us a spot further up the grid. We’ll do better in the race. Our Porsche 911 RSR is strong over the distance. What’s more, we’ll again make the most our expertise in strong teamwork, strategy and driving skill.” 

Zacharie Robichon (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “Fifth is a good starting position for us. I think I got the most out of our Porsche 911 RSR in the qualifying. The car will do better in the race than in qualifying. With a flawless drive and clever tactics, anything is possible for us at our home race.”

Qualifying result

GTLM class
1. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:13.086 minutes
2. Blomqvist/De Philippi (GB/USA), BMW 8 GTE, + 0.462 seconds
3. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, + 0.718 seconds
4. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.743 seconds
5. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.964 seconds

GTD class
1. Auberlen/Foley (USA/USA), BMW M6 GT3, 1:16.172 minutes
2. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, + 0.081 seconds
3. Farnbacher/Hindman (D/USA), Acura NSX GT3, + 0.181 seconds
5. Robichon/Hargrove (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.787 seconds
7. Long/Lindsey (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.901 seconds

Preview

After four straight wins, the Porsche GT Team travels to round six of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Bowmanville as the leader of the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications.  At the only Canadian event of the year, the North American works team fields two Porsche 911 RSR in the hotly-contested GTLM class. At the race in the Canadian state of Ontario, the nine-elevens from Weissach will again feature a livery reminiscent of the legendary North American customer team, Brumos Racing. In the GTD class, the customer teams Pfaff Motorsports and Park Place Motorsports each field a Porsche 911 GT3 R. 

The race

The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, more commonly known as Mosport, was opened in 1961 near the metropolis of Toronto. A total of eight Formula One Grand Prix were held here on the 3.957-kilometre circuit between 1967 and 1977. The flowing layout with many crests, dips and just ten corners allows a high average speed. Porsche has a long tradition at this racetrack in the Sportscar Grand Prix, previously known as the Grand Prix of Mosport. The sports car manufacturer from Weissach notched up seven overall victories and 17 class wins. In the 2015 season, the Porsche GT Team won the GTLM class with factory drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Patrick Pilet (France).

The Porsche drivers

The winners of the Sebring and Watkins Glen races, Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), share the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. The pair currently ranks first in the drivers’ classification. Their works driver colleagues in the No. 912 sister car, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), are just one point behind the leaders after their victories at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio. In the GTD class, two Porsche 911 GT3 R will compete. The customer team Pfaff Motorsports (No. 9) tackles its home round with the Canadian drivers Zacharie Robichon and Scott Hargrove. Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) shares the cockpit of the No. 73 vehicle run by Park Place Motorsports with his compatriot Patrick Lindsey.

The Porsche vehicles

For its third racing season in North America, the Porsche 911 RSR has undergone further optimisation primarily in the setup. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the engine, which is positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). The large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing provides aerodynamic efficiency and significant downforce. The 911 GT3 R was newly developed for the 2019 season. Improvements in the areas of aerodynamics and kinematics were systematically implemented from the insights garnered from the many race outings of its predecessor. The six-cylinder engine in the rear of the GT3 customer racer produces over 368 kW (500 hp).

Porsche 911 RSR, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, 2019, Porsche AG
The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR

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