At round nine of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the team’s and drivers’ intensive preparations and good performances went unrewarded. After 92 laps on the storied 5.263-kilometre racetrack in the US state of Virginia, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) reached the flag in seventh place with the 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR (#912). Their team colleagues Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished eighth in the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911.
Comments on the race
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “After the qualifying it was obvious that the race would be difficult for us. Because we have a significantly lower top speed than our opponents, we had to come up with a special strategy on this track with its long full-throttle passages. However, for our strategy to work, we needed safety car phases, and there weren’t any today. We tried everything, but all in all it was a very difficult weekend for us. I hope that the IMSA authorities will take a very close look at this race and draw the appropriate conclusions. Then I’m confident that we’ll be back up amongst the frontrunners at the next race in Laguna Seca.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “That’s obviously not the result we wanted to fly home with. Our 911 RSR ran well and I had a good feeling in the car. Everyone could see that we didn’t have the pace, especially on the straights. The effect was particularly noticeable on this racetrack.”
Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “Aside from the lack of top speed, the race for us ran without any problems. The team worked well over the entire weekend. What came out in the end, however, is frustrating, but it’s no reason to hang our heads. As a team, we have to pull together again and do better at Laguna Seca.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a difficult weekend. Especially for me because I made mistake in Corner 5 and I ended up in the grass. But even without this setback, we were still simply not fast enough.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “As expected, the race was difficult. As always, we were well prepared. But our pace was not good enough, especially on this racetrack, where our lack of engine power was particularly noticeable. For the time being we have to accept this, but I hope the situation looks better again for the last two races.”
1. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, 93 laps
2. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, 93
3. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 93
4. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, 93
5. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 92
6. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, 92
7. Vanthoor/Bruni (B/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 92
8. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 92
9. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, 72
1. Lewis/Mul (USA/NL), Lamborghini GT3, 91 laps
2. Klingmann/Krohn (D/SF), BMW M6, 91
3. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes GT3, 90
6. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 89
8. Braun/Bennett (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 89
9. Long/Morad (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 89
10. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 88
All results and points’ standings of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship can be found on the Internet: results.imsa.com.
The new 911 RSR
The new Porsche 911 RSR, which was designed and built by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car and is the most spectacular Porsche 911 of all time. It celebrated its race debut in January 2017 at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the USA. The 510 hp race car is a totally new development. With the predecessor model, Porsche won the GT championship titles for manufacturers, drivers and teams in both the Sports Car World Endurance Championship and the IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2015.
In designing the new 911 RSR, the entire concept of the vehicle was revamped from scratch. Moving the engine to sit in front of the rear axle created space for a massive rear diffuser, which generates significantly more downforce. At the same time, weight distribution could be further optimised, which also helps reduce tyre wear. The engineers at Weissach began with the development of the new 911 RSR back in early 2015. The rollout – that’s the first time the vehicle goes out on a racetrack – took place in March 2016 on the Porsche test track at the Weissach R&D Centre. On this occasion, the GT works drivers who were involved in the development from an early stage got the chance to drive the first kilometres with the new 911 RSR.
The highlight of the test phase was a 50-hour long-run at Sebring. Even before its first race, the 911 RSR proved to be reliable. The test on the bumpy Florida racetrack, famous for the extreme challenges it throws at man and machine, ran without any major problems. And when the new 911 RSR went racing, it immediately proved competitive. At the long distance classics of Daytona and Sebring, it impressed with strong performances. Until then, Porsche Motorsport had completed over 45,000 test kilometres on various racetracks – more than in the development of any other Porsche GT racer.
The IMSA SportsCar Championship
The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, which 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 four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), P (Prototype) and PC (Prototype Challenge). The new Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.
The tenth and penultimate round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 24 September at Laguna Seca in the US State of California.