Porsche customer teams come loaded with winners at the GT-only race on the road racing bullring known as Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. The 2-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix, part of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will feature four Porsche race cars on July 17. All Porsche 911-based race cars are entered by privateers with three previous winners split among the 17-car field comprised solely of the GTLM and GTD classes. WeatherTech Racing will pursue the top-step of the overall podium with a Porsche 911 RSR-19 racer in GTLM class while Pfaff Motorsports, Team Hardpoint EBM and Wright Motorsports each have a single Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars carrying the German sports car manufacturer’s flag in GTD class. Porsche holds the most wins by a manufacturer at Lime Rock with 20 victories.
Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), North America’s only Porsche factory driver, is tied with Andy Lally as the winningest driver in the field with four career race victories (2006, ’09, ’10, ’12) on the 1.474-mile, seven-turn race course. He will team in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with Trent Hindman (West Long Branch, New Jersey), who earned the 2019 GTD class pole position here.
Porsche factory ace Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) – the 2019 GTLM class pole position -winner – leads the driver line-up in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. However, it is his teammate, Zacharie Robichon (Canada) who holds a Lime Rock GTD class victory having won here in 2019. The third Porsche in the GTD field is the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche shared by Rob Ferriol (Fayetteville, North Carolina) and Katherine Legge (United Kingdom).
Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) won the GTC class in 2012 adding his name to the list of Porsche pilots with a class win at Lime Rock. This weekend he will share the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the GTLM class with Porsche factory driver Mathieu Jaminet (France). It will be the first chance for the team, which is operated by Proton Competition, to earn an overall victory in 2021.
You can watch Porsche charge for an overall race victory live on Saturday, July 17 beginning at 3:10 p.m. ET. with a live stream of the Northeast Grand Prix on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will also have live coverage on IMSA Radio (IMSA.tv).
Comments before the race
Mathieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
“I am looking forward to racing at Lime Rock. It is a new track for me. The lap times will be less than 60-seconds, so that makes the field in GTLM and GTD very close. GTLM will be in for the overall win with no prototype cars racing there this weekend. We had a tough Watkins Glen six-hours, so I am looking forward to getting back in the WeatherTech Porsche. The target is to bring the fight to the Corvettes on Saturday.”
Cooper MacNeil, Driver, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
“Lime Rock is a tight and fast track. A lap at the bullring is a fast one, with lap times under one minute. You really have to be smart navigating the traffic as there is really only the front stretch to get by a pack of GTD cars. The Proton Competition team will have to be quick and efficient in the pits, any mistake on pit road or on the track will send us down a lap. I am really looking forward to driving the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche down the hill into the fast Turn 7.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Leading up to Lime Rock, there has obviously not been a lot of time since the last race [Watkins Glen], so the team has just been analyzing Watkins Glen a little bit to see how we can improve. Lime Rock in general is a special race. The track is quite short, so you get to do many laps, but you have to be very precise, and qualifying is especially important because overtaking is not very easy here. It's always a tough race. Strategy plays a role and there tends to be some rubbing here and there, so it’s definitely one that has your attention.”
Zach Robichon, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Luckily with things opening up at home [Canada], it's been a fairly busy few weeks between Watkins Glen and Lime Rock, but we're looking forward to getting back into that race groove. These few races to kick off the summer in a short amount of time and will be good for the whole team. Having raced at Lime Rock only once before I have limited experience, though it was a great one with our team in 2019. It's a track that you never have a second to take a breath, with it being such a short track. It’s high-paced, high-action and you really have to be fully focused all the time.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Lime Rock is sports car racing’s version of a bullring; very tight, technical and hard to pass on. The team’s racecraft and strategy must be picture perfect. Car-wise, it’s a difficult one for tire life. Over the history of the track, the Porsche 911 has proven very well suited for Lime Rock with the car’s agility and light touch attitude. Driving this track tests the driver’s mentality as you are often in tight quarters traffic and there is little time for a break. I like how the race rewards entrants who really put a complete race together.”
Trent Hindman, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Lime Rock marks the first non-endurance event of the year for me with the 1st Phorm, Wright Motorsports Porsche. Fortunately, it is a racetrack I know quite well since it's the IMSA round that lands closest to home. Just looking at how strong Wright Motorsports has been at Lime Rock in the past and obviously Pat’s history of success here, I’d like to think we will land well towards the front of the grid. The opportunity to get to know this team through three major endurance races before heading into the sprint-focused portion of our year gives great confidence in what we have together.”
Katherine Legge, Driver, No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Lime Rock is a very unique race on the IMSA WeatherTech calendar. It poses different challenges in many ways. With such a short lap, strategy is key, and so is track position. They call it the bullring because you never stop fighting, with your own car and the others! I’m hoping the No. 88 Richard Mille/GridRival Porsche 911 GT3 R will perform well here and am excited to keep making gains with the team.”