07/22/2018

Podium for Porsche at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville

Porsche clinched a podium spot at round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Lakeville. The Mid-Ohio winners Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber finished third in the GTLM class with the Porsche 911 RSR.

Driving the sister car, Patrick Pilet from France and Britain’s Nick Tandy, the winners of this year’s Sebring 12-hour race, took the flag in fifth place after two hours and 40 minutes. Vanthoor (Belgium) and Bamber (New Zealand) had been running in second place over a long stretch and managed to gradually close the gap to the leader. However, two mistakes cost the sports car with the starting number 912 valuable time and one position. In the overall classification, Porsche still ranks third in the manufacturer’s category.

In a summery temperature of 24-degrees Celsius and under slight cloud, thousands of fans on the grassy hills surrounding the racetrack in Lime Rock Park in the US state of Connecticut witnessed both 911 RSR make a clean start off the line. Vanthoor, as the qualifying and start driver, took off from second on the grid at a race contested exclusively with GT vehicles. While running in second place, the current winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race handed the car off to Bamber, who managed to shorten the gap to the leader. However a driving error, which saw Bamber take a short detour off the track, and time lost due to a mistake during the second pit stop, robbed the #912 car of a possible victory.

Fifth place for Pilet and Tandy

Bad luck hampered Pilet and Tandy in Saturday’s race day. Thirty-five minutes before the qualifying session, Pilet slid from the track during the warm-up, and slightly damaged the #911. The team managed to swap out the damaged parts, however there was not enough time to check the setup of the Porsche 911 RSR. Pilet took up the race from eighth on the grid but wasn’t able to make up any positions on the narrow racetrack. However, his teammate, Tandy, managed to work his way up to fifth place during his stint thanks to the team’s good pit stop strategy and an inspired overtaking manoeuvre two minutes before the end of the race.

In the GTD class, Wright Motorsports fielded a Porsche 911 GT3 R at the seventh round of the season. Porsche works driver Patrick Long from the USA and Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen from Denmark held a promising lead at times but ultimately had to settle for eighth place.

Quotes after the race

Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport: “It was another difficult race for us. Our car was constantly competitive so we could attack under any situation. But because of the mistakes that began in the warm-up and ended with the #912 car’s last pit stop, we missed out on first place. This is the third race in a row where we unfortunately haven’t been rewarded for our hard work. We’ll work harder over the next two weeks so that we can get back on the road to success again at Road America.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The car was extremely fast over the whole weekend, but my mistake in the warm-up threw a spanner in the works. On this racetrack, where overtaking is particularly tricky, it’s difficult to compensate for a grid spot at the back of the field. Although I was faster at the beginning of the race I couldn’t make up any positions. When Nick got a clear run he managed to shorten the gap, but at the end of the day it was simply too big. The team’s tactics and strategy were definitely spot-on. It’s important that we managed to collect valuable points towards the manufacturer’s classification with third place for the sister car.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “Given that we had to start from the back of the pack after our off in the morning, we thought about a suitable strategy: We wanted to have a very fast car, particularly at the end of the race and we anticipated a safety car phase. Unfortunately we got caught up in traffic at the start and lost too much time. Still, we managed to make up three positions.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “You shouldn’t really complain about a podium placing, but we could have won today. We lost 14 seconds due to a pit stop error – which is basically the gap to position one. We had the pace to win, but unfortunately we only came third.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We had a fantastic car all day, a real winner. Unfortunately I made a mistake during my stint which cost us five seconds. On top of this came the unfortunate pit stop. We simply can’t make any more mistakes at the next race – then we’ll be at the front.”

Race result

GTLM class
1. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 178 laps
2. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 178 laps
3. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 178 laps
4. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 178 laps
5. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 178 laps
6. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 178 laps
7. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 176 laps
8. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 129 laps

GTD class
1. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 172 laps
2. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Audi R8 LMS GT3, 172 laps
3. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 172 laps
8. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 171 laps

The full results can be found on: http://results.imsa.com

The Race

Fans can look forward to a very special motorsport experience out in the countryside: Because there are no grandstands along the circuit, they can follow the action from the grassy hills surrounding the racetrack, equipped with camping chairs and cool boxes. In 2017, spectators were treated to a Porsche festival, with the 911 scoring victory in both the GTLM and the GTD classes. The narrow racetrack features six right-hand corners and just one left-hander.

The race in the idyllic rural region of the US state of Connecticut, at which Porsche celebrated the historic maiden victory with the new 911 RSR last year, offers two unique features: at a length of just 2.414 kilometres, the course is the shortest on the championship calendar. Given that only the GTLM and GTD classes compete at Lime Rock, overall victory will definitely go to a GT car. With 18 victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of this race.

The Porsche Drivers

The cockpit of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR is shared by Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). This season, the pair won the 12 Hours of Sebring. The Mid-Ohio winners Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) share driving duties in the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team in the GTLM class. In the GTD class, the Porsche customer team Wright Motorsports competes with two 911 GT3 R. Sharing driving duties in the #58 car are the works driver Patrick Long (USA) and Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (Denmark), with the #16 vehicle manned by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Michael Schein (USA).

The Porsche vehicles

For the second race season, the 911 RSR was optimised primarily in the setup. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). The particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing provide strong downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. The ca. 368kW (500 hp) 911 GT3 R was designed for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. For 2018, Porsche provides its customer teams with an evo-kit.

Comments before the race

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “We celebrated our maiden win with the new 911 RSR at Lime Rock last year. We’re keen to repeat this success. After the strong performances at Watkins Glen and Bowmanville, we’re now heading to Lime Rock fully prepared and feeling very optimistic. We’ll do our utmost to secure a top result and further improve our promising position in the fight for the championship.”

Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport: “Overtaking is difficult at Lime Rock, hence it’s important to start from as far up the grid as possible. A good qualifying result is half the battle on this narrow circuit – as we saw last year with our win.”

Sebastian Golz, Project Manager GT Customer Sport: “It’s important on such a short and twisty track to carefully maintain the grip level of the tyre. If you’re too tough on them there is no time to recover – and then things get difficult.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “I’m expecting a gripping race at Lime Rock. The course is narrow and twisty and it sometimes reminds me of a go-kart track. The cars are often bunched close together, which makes it interesting for the fans. We did very well last year with our 911 RSR and I have no reason to think we can’t do it again this year.”

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “Lime Rock is great turf for Porsche. We’ve always performed very well on this racetrack. We look forward to this unique race all year. Because the track is so short the traffic is always heavy. Our team has to implement the right race strategy so that we get as many free runs as possible.”

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “Our double victory last year underlined that the racetrack suits us. However, Lime Rock is no easy race. The laps are very short and you have to be extremely careful to manoeuvre through the heavy traffic unscathed. Lime Rock marks the start of the critical phase of the championship. That makes it all the more important to earn decent points.”

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “Lime Rock is a great track for Porsche. We have always performed well there in recent years. The entire team is excited to tackle this race. The fact that we claimed overall victory with the 911 RSR at Lime Rock last year gives us additional motivation.”

Patrick Long (911 GT3 R #58): “Lime Rock is constant cornering, there’s very little chance to relax. The racetrack offers everything that makes racing fun – it has very fast corners and some slow bends, where we can use the good traction of our 911 GT3 R.”

This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship
The IMSA SportsCar Championship, a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in three different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona) and P (Prototype). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.

Info

Round eight of the IMSA SportsCar Championship is contested on 5 August at Road America in Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin.

This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship

The IMSA SportsCar Championship, a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in three different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona) and P (Prototype). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.

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