04/14/2019

Porsche extends championship lead with second win of the season

Porsche has won round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach (USA). At a fiercely-contested city race in California, works drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor secured first place at the wheel of the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

Race

The Sebring winners Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) finished fifth in the sister car with the starting number 911. Porsche now leads the manufacturers’, drivers’ and teams’ classification in the North American sports car championship.

At the start of the 100-minute race – the shortest on the IMSA calendar – Tandy and Vanthoor (Belgium) defended their lead and managed to gradually pull clear of the field. However, a safety car phase shortly before the halfway point of the race cancelled out this advantage. Initially, both Porsche 911 RSR fell back to positions two and three. After the restart, Bamber (New Zealand) squeezed past his brand colleague Pilet, and with a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre, the New Zealander then snatched the lead. While the No. 912 car defended the top spot to the flag, Pilet grappled with deteriorating tyres to bring his vehicle over the finish line in fifth place.

#IMSA – Victory for #Porsche @GPLongBeach! @earlbamber and @VanthoorLaurens take the win with Porsche #911RSR No. 912 @IMSA @IMSALive @PorscheNewsroom pic.twitter.com/Zhip0HA9v5

— Porsche Motorsport (@PorscheRaces) 13. April 2019

In the overall classification, Porsche leads the manufacturers’ championship with 100 points. Thanks to the Long Beach victory, Bamber/Vanthoor have moved to the top of the drivers’ classification, with their works driver colleagues Pilet/Tandy sitting in third place. Round four of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested in Mid-Ohio (USA) on the first weekend in May.

Comments on the race

Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “What a thriller! At first everything ran according to plan. We defended the first two positions and managed to eke out an advantage. Ford gambled on the strategy and hoped for a safety car phase – which then eventuated. They took the lead. But our No. 912 car reclaimed the lead and brought it home. The sister car could no longer match the pace on the second set of tyres. We have to take a look at why. Last year Earl and Laurens retired while in the lead, now they’ve made up for that with this victory.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “That was a really crazy race. Laurens kept our car on P2 at the start. At one point someone hit the rear of the car and we sustained some damage that was worrying. After the pit stop I was running in third. I then overtook Patrick and the leading Ford shortly afterwards. After that it was all about somehow getting the car to the finish. I prayed that the diffuser wouldn’t fall off. It didn’t – I’m pleased!”

More comments in the press release.

Race result

GTLM class
1. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 72 laps
2. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette C7.R, 72 laps
3. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, 72 laps
5. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 71 laps

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

Qualifying

Three pole positions from three events in the 2019 season: Works drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Patrick Pilet (France) have planted their No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR on the first grid spot for round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach (USA). Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium and Earl Bamber from New Zealand complete the first grid row in their racer with the starting number 912. So far this season, the Porsche GT Team remains unbeaten in the hunt for top qualifying times. 

During the 15-minute qualifying session, Nick Tandy advanced closer and closer to the track barriers at the street circuit in California, with the Briton improving on his best time with each lap. In 1:16.313 minutes, Tandy not only set a new qualifying record at Long Beach, but also added to his personal record in the IMSA series. This marks the seventh time that the Porsche works driver from Bedford (Great Britain) has posted the fastest time in the GTLM-class qualifying. 

Laurens Vanthoor employed the same strategy as his British teammate. At the end of the qualifying session, the Belgian was just 0.064 seconds adrift of Tandy’s fastest time. Porsche takes off into the 100-minute race at Long Beach with two cars on the front row for the second consecutive time after an ideal qualifying at the twelve-hour in Sebring (USA).

Qualifying result GTLM class

1. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:16.313 minutes
2. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:16.377 minutes
3. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, 1:16.520 minutes

Qualifying quotes

Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “Positions one and two – it simply doesn’t get better than this. We have a perfect record with three pole positions from three events. Today’s pole is probably the most important of the year, since overtaking is very difficult at the short race at Long Beach. We can now start the race from the front and somewhat dictate the strategy to the competition. We can take a moment to enjoy this achievement, but then we have to turn our full attention to preparing for the race.” 

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The fastest lap was really very good. I never expected such a great lap time. After free practice we changed a few minor details on the setup. This meant that I was able to put in a blistering lap early in the session while the tyres were still fresh. That was probably the key. In the race it’s more about maintaining the tyres over the distance. That’ll be another challenging task.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “This is a perfect result for Porsche. I would very much have liked to post pole, and it was in fact on the cards. During my last flying lap I was on my way to topping the time sheets but then I made a slight mistake in the penultimate corner. Second on the grid is good, of course, but I’m a little disappointed. I’ve often been second over the last two years, but my time will come to be on pole position.”

Preview

The Porsche GT Team tackles round three of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship season at Long Beach (USA) as the leader of the manufacturer and team classifications. After a hard-fought victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, the two Porsche 911 RSR start under very different conditions at the Pacific coast. Contested over just 100 minutes, the so-called Sports Car Grand Prix in Long Beach is the shortest race of the season. Five kilometres of fencing and around 1,400 concrete blocks are needed for the construction of the 3.167-kilometre street circuit in the port area of Long Beach, California. The race is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix. In fact, the street course, which features only eleven turns, was the venue for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix from 1976 to 1983. A popular photo motif along the racetrack is the decommissioned British passenger ship, the RMS Queen Mary. Today, the ocean liner serves as a floating hotel. A round of the popular IndyCar Series is also contested as part of the Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

The Porsche drivers

The winners of the Sebring race, Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) share the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. The pair won the twelve-hour race in Florida with their works driver colleague Frédéric Makowiecki (France). The sister car is driven by Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). At last year’s Sebring race, these two led the race for over half of the distance in the No. 912 car. The Porsche 911 GT3 R vehicles fielded by Park Place Motorsports and Pfaff Motorsports will not compete at the Long Beach, however the GTD class will be back on the programme again on 5 May in Mid-Ohio.

The Porsche 911 RSR

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 vehicle celebrated its debut at the start of the 2017 season and has notched up victories, most notably at the long-distance classic at Le Mans (France) and at the major sports car events in Sebring and at Road Atlanta.

This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship

The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series that has been contested in the USA and Canada since 2014. The series originated from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), Dpi (Daytona Prototype international) and LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R contests the GTD class.

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