Using the seventh-generation Porsche 911 as its base, race versions of the iconic sports car won the GTLM Manufacturer Championship with the Porsche 911 RSR while the Porsche 911 GT America took the same honor in the GTD class. The factory team Porsche North America earned GTLM class pole position for Saturday’s race and finished second and fifth behind the privately entered Falken Tire 911 RSR in the 10-hour endurance classic.
The German marque added to its cadre of endurance accolades by earning the hard-fought Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship Manufacturer Trophy as well. Following victories in the first two endurance races of the season at the Daytona 24 Hours and the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Porsche entered the final round of the championship with a slight lead. After the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR led the race at the four-hour mark, and the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche was on point at eight-hours, the GT racing legend was able to lock the Manufacturer award even before the final checkered flag of the season fell.
The race victory and championships were a fitting tribute to longtime Porsche Motorsport head Hartmut Kristen. Kristen passed the baton of overseeing all of Porsche’s GT efforts to Dr. Frank Walliser on October 1.
For the second-consecutive season, Team Falken Tire overcame the odds to win top GT class honors at the Petit Le Mans. The full-season driver pairing of Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) were joined by German Marco Holzer for the finale of the inaugural season of the TUDOR Championship. Team Falken Tire, the only customer-run Porsche 911 RSR competing in the North American-based series, was fast throughout the weekend and led much of the day. With less than an hour to go, Sellers turned over the Falken Tire Porsche to Henzler who held the lead against the also fast No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen (Denmark).
The battle tightened even further with less that 20-minutes remaining when an accident slowed the field for an extended yellow flag. The green flew again with six minutes to go taking the fight to the end. The works Porsche closed but, threatened by a Dodge Viper SRT from behind, was not able to pass Henzler. The three main players in the Manufacturer’s Championship passed under the checkered flag less than two-seconds apart after ten-hours of racing. The No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR led the No. 912 shared by Christensen, Patrick Long (USA) and GTLM newcomer Earl Bamber (New Zealand) followed by the No. 91 Viper.
The pole-position winning No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Patrick Pilet (France) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) ran at the front most of the day. However, a pit lane incident, which damaged several of the GTLM leaders to varying degrees, forced the car to make multiple stops for repairs. The Daytona-winning class entry finished fifth as a result.
How the drivers comment on the race? Have a look at the press relase ("Download" on the left).
1. Henzler/Sellers/Holzer (D/USA/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 391 laps
2. Christensen/Long/Bamber (DK/USA/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 391
3. Goosens/Wittmer/Hunter-Reay (B/CAN/USA), Dodge SRT Viper, 391
4. Gavin/Milner/Briscoe (GB/USA/AUS), Chevrolet Corvette, 391
5. Bergmeister/Tandy/Pilet (D/GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 390
6. Bomarito/Farnbacher/Bell (USA/D/GB), Dodge SRT Viper, 389
1. Haase/Miller/Bell (D/USA/GB), Audi R8 LMS, 376 laps
2. Snow/Heylen (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 376
3. Lally/Potter/Seefried (USA/USA/D), Porsche 911 GT America, 376
4. Cameron/Palttala/Dalla Lana (USA/SF/CAN), BMW Z4, 376
5. James/Farnbacher/Riberas (USA/D/E), Porsche 911 GT America, 375
6. Rugolo/Griffith/Lathouras /I/IRL/T), Ferrari 458 Italia, 375
The first race of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship 2015 will be the Daytona 24 Hours on January 24/25.