The Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas, Frédéric Makowiecki (both France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) crossed the finish line at the eight-hour race on the Laguna Seca Raceway in California after 306 laps. Black Swan Racing fielded a second 911 GT3 R: Works driver Patrick Long from America joined forces with his compatriot Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands in the customer sport racer from Weissach and reached the flag in tenth place.
The California 8 Hours, held for the second time since 2017, again served as the season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge – a series contested on four continents. A total of 32 race cars including 16 GT3 vehicles headed off on the 3.601-kilometre dune circuit near Monterey on Sunday under sunny skies. After qualifying on the tenth grid spot on Saturday, Dumas, Makowiecki and Werner put in a flawless and consistent performance and gained six positions in the race. Long, Pappas and Bleekemolen posted a commendable fifth in qualifying, putting the American-Dutch trio just 0.188-seconds off pole position.
Tenth in the race put Pappas on second place in the new classification for Bronze drivers. Black Swan Racing contested all four rounds of the season and scored points every time. The best results were achieved by Pappas with the former Porsche works driver and current Head of Customer Racing Marc Lieb as well as Luca Stolz and Bleekemolen: At the season-opening round in Bathurst, Australia, the crew climbed the podium after scoring third overall.
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “The changes to the setup prior to the qualifying didn’t pay off for the number 911 car, but by the start of the race the car was good again. Unfortunately, a differential issue made it difficult for us to maintain the high pace over the entire distance, but thanks to a good strategy and great teamwork, we still managed to advance up the field. For Black Swan Racing, a minor off made the race a little more difficult, but in this case, too, the result was strong: Second in the overall classification for gentlemen drivers is a fantastic reward for four extremely tough endurance races around the globe.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “Fourth place was the most we could do today. The car handled really well early on in the race but it unfortunately tailed off towards the end. We experienced a rollercoaster season, and Frédéric, Dirk and I yielded the best result in Laguna Seca to conclude the season. So we’re happy.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “We should be proud because our performance was strong. Had we not suffered a minor technical hiccup halfway through the race we might have brought home a podium result. The mechanics, engineers and my teammates all did a great job. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope I get the chance to drive here again next year.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “On the one hand, we should be happy because we drove a clean race. And on the other hand, our Porsche was faster in qualifying and ultimately we were just one position off claiming a podium spot. All in all, however, we rounded off a good day for Porsche Motorsport: Congratulations to Proton Competition for winning the ELMS title this weekend in Portimão. In this respect, the benchmark was, of course, very high for us in California.”
The Intercontinental GT Challenge is the world’s first racing series, in which vehicles complying with the FIA GT3 regulations make up the top class. The series was founded in 2016 by the SRO Motorsports Group under Stéphane Ratel. Rather than field a factory squad, Porsche supports international customer teams in their campaign with the 911 GT3 R by providing works drivers and engineers from Weissach. For each race, a maximum of four vehicles selected by the manufacturer are entitled to earn points. Of these, the two best-placed vehicles at the end of the race are awarded points for the manufacturer’s overall classification. In the driver’s category, however, the drivers of all cars nominated by a manufacturers are eligible for points.
4 February: Bathurst 12 Hour, Bathurst/Australia
28/29 July: 24 Hours of Spa, Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium
26 August: Suzuka 10 Hours, Suzuka/Japan
28 October: California 8 Hours, Monterey/USA
Porsche 911 GT3 R eligible for points at the California 8 Hours:
• #911 (Wright Motorsports)
• #54 (Black Swan Racing)