Victory at round eight of the hotly-contested North American sports car championship marks the third straight win after Bowmanville and Road America for Le Mans overall winner Nick Tandy and his teammate Patrick Pilet. Their achievement has elevated Pilet to the top of the drivers’ standings. Moreover, their Porsche North America squad, which fields the 911 RSR at races in the USA and Canada, has taken over the lead of the team classification. Clinching second at the wheel the sister 911 RSR, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) rounded off a perfect third double victory of the season for Porsche.
Porsche also secured the “DEKRA Green Challenge Award”, presented to the fastest, most environmentally clean and efficient GTLM competitor: Like in Watkins Glen, the 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy was distinguished as the GT car with the best overall efficiency. The Porsche 911 RSR features the smallest capacity of all competing GT cars. Customers all over the world praise its road-going 911 GT3 sibling for its outstanding ratio of performance and fuel consumption.
Nick Tandy headed into the race from pole position on the 5.263-kilometre Virginia International Raceway, which is located in the rural idyll of the US state of Virginia on the North Carolina border. The Briton received his finishing touches as a race driver in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, and at Le Mans this year he celebrated the greatest success of his career to date. Tandy is the first GT driver since the Tudor United SportsCar Championship began in 2014 to have secured the front grid spot for a race three times.
After shocking his rivals the previous day with his top time in qualifying, he made a cracking start into the race and opened a substantial gap in the first laps. Before handing the 911 RSR off to Patrick Pilet, he had laid the foundation for a commanding lights-to-flag victory. By the time the duo took the flag after 92 laps, they had built up a comfortable lead of more than 27 seconds over the tight and well-balanced field.
Initially, things did not run quite as smoothly for the second Porsche North America-run 911 RSR with the starting number 912. Jörg Bergmeister, who was barely a tenth of a second slower in qualifying than polesitter Nick Tandy, lined up beside his team colleague at the front of the field, but had to relinquish a position right after the start. When Earl Bamber, as the second Le Mans overall winner in the team, took the wheel of the 911 RSR, he thrilled fans with a spectacular pursuit through the pack.
When he rejoined the race in fifth after a pit stop, he picked off one rival after the other, and, in one final overtaking feat, he conquered second place. While he was busy fending off hefty attacks from the opposition for the last half hour of racing, Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) brought home seventh place at the wheel of the Falken Tire customer team’s 911 RSR. At Watkins Glen, they scored the first win of the season for Porsche and set in motion the impressive winning streak that has put Porsche in the lead of all GTLM classifications of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship with two races left on this season’s calendar at Austin and Road Atlanta.
In the GTD class, the Porsche 911 GT America campaigned by the Seattle/Alex Job Racing customer team secured third place. At the wheel were drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Ian James (USA). So far this season, the pair has won the Sebring and Detroit races.
The ninth of ten races in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship is contested on 19 September on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin/Texas.
1. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 92 laps
2. Bamber/Bergmeister (NZ/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 92
3. Kaffer/Fisichella (D/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 92
4. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 92
5. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 92
6. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 92
7. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 91
8. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 91
1. Sweedler/Bell (USA/USA), Ferrari 458 Italia, 88 laps
2. Nielsen/Wittmer (DK/CDN), Aston Martin, 87
3. Farnbacher/James (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 87
4. Palttala/Marsal (SF/USA), BMW Z4, 87
5. Haase/von Moltke (D/USA), Audi R8 LMS, 87
6. Keen/McNeil (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 87