- Back In the USA. Porsche Factory and Customer Teams Resume IMSA Title Chase at Watkins Glen.
- Nürburgring Podiums. Porsche Secures Win at Germany’s 24-hour Marathon.
- Mountain Time. 16 Porsche Rally Cars to Face Pikes Peak Course and Clock.
- Porsche History. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
- IMSA 50th. Porsche Recognizes the Golden Anniversary of IMSA.
Event Story Lines.
Back In the USA. Porsche Factory and Customer Teams Resume IMSA Title Chase at Watkins Glen.
Porsche factory race teams and drivers are back from Europe and ready to resume their pursuit of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championships in the GTLM and GTD classes. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, scheduled for June 30, is the fourth round of the IMSA Championship for both classes and is the first of three races in four weekends for the programs in North America’s premier sports car racing series. Five Porsche-built race cars – two in the factory-focused GTLM class and three in the customer Pro-Am style GTD category – come to the 3.4-mile, 11-turn classic race course in Watkins Glen, New York with a focus of keeping the momentum from a three- race win-streak in GTLM and a podium finish at Detroit for the customer Porsche 911 GT3 R race car. This North American success comes in addition to international achievements with recent FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) titles in the LMGTE-Pro and LMGTE-Am Manufacturer, Team and Driver categories as well as class wins at the back-to-back 24 hour classics of Le Mans and Nürburgring.
Entering the six-hour endurance classic, the No. 912 Porsche GT Team with Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) sharing driving duties behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR factory race car, lead the GTLM points championship for Drivers, Teams and Manufacturers. After four rounds of the full WeatherTech championship, #Bamthor, as the pairing has popularly been named, sits on top of the Drivers’ Championship having won the previous two races on the streets of Long Beach and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Their team car, the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) earned the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GTLM class win and currently sit in third-place in the class championship.
At six-hours in length, the race in the Finger Lakes region of New York is the fourth- longest event on the WeatherTech calendar and joins the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Sebring and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans – scheduled at Road Atlanta at the season’s end – as part of IMSA’s Michelin Endurance Cup “championship within a championship”. The four “long” races make up a sub-championship to crown the strongest drivers, teams and automobile makes in a sport best known for its grueling around the clock events. Entering the third of the four enduros, Porsche sits atop the Manufacturer’s standings in the Michelin Endurance Cup with the 911 RSR while the Porsche GT Team is first and third in the prestigious championship with the Nos. 911 and 912 respectively. Pilet, Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) lead the Drivers’ chase with Bamber, Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet (France) tied for third-place.
Highlighting the GTLM class at Watkins Glen is the return of the Brumos Racing- inspired livery on the pair of the “woks” team Porsche 911 RSR race cars. The Nos. 911 and 912 will carry the red and blue Brumos “sweeps” and racing stripes – formed by interlocking the number “59” – for this weekend’s race as well as the July 7 event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Having donned the traditional corporate red, white and black for victories at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio, the Brumos colors were brought back to celebrate Porsche spokesman and longtime Brumos driver Hurley Haywood (St. Augustine, Florida) as Honorary Grand Marshall for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The CORE autosport-run Porsche factory team continues with the colors for the next two weekends to celebrate Haywood’s golden anniversary as a professional race car driver and IMSA’s 50th year as a sanctioning body. Haywood made his first professional start in a Brumos Porsche 911 T at the 1969 Six Hours of The Glen. He and co-driver Peter Gregg ran to a class victory.
Three Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars will attempt to make the GTD class grid on the full Watkins Glen International circuit. Pfaff Motorsports continues its first season of WeatherTech Championship competition with Porsche Selected Driver Scott Hargrove (Canada) and 2018 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Champion Zach Robichon (Canada) racing the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the largest Porsche dealer in Canada. Porsche Test Driver Lars Kern (Germany) will reprise his role in the car for the weekend. Kern was part of the Pro-Am class-winning driver lineup at last week’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Park Place Motorsports has entered its endurance racing lineup for Sunday’s race with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) sharing the cockpit of the No. 73 with team principal and recently crowned WEC LMGTE-Am Champion Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) as well as Nicholas Boulle (Dallas, Texas). Lindsey took his first World Championship following a class win of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Making its first appearance in GTD competition since the season-opening Rolex 24, Black Swan Racing will split driving chores in the No. 540 between Porsche factory driver Dirk Werner (Germany), Porsche veteran Marco Seefried (Austria) and Marc Miller (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will take the green flag at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, June 30.
Nürburgring Podiums. Porsche Secures Win at Germany’s 24-hour Marathon.
Porsche narrowly missed claiming its 13th overall victory in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany’s most famous racing event. The latest generation of the Porsche 911 GT3 R with the starting number 911 fielded by Manthey-Racing had held the lead for 105 of the 157 laps but would ultimately settle for second-place overall at the conclusion of the race. The die was cast with three-hours remaining when the car lost the top spot following a time penalty for a yellow flag infraction. Despite setting the fastest pace in the field attempting to make up the time, the all-pro entry would take the second step on the overall podium. It was a pair of Porsche Young Professionals Matteo Cairoli (Italy) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) joined by Otto Klohs and Porsche Test Driver Lars Kern (both Germany) who secured the Pro-Am class victory for the German marque. Piloting the No. 12 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, the quartet finished fifth-place overall and, as the highest finishers in the pro-am style category earned the class win.
From the start, there was no doubt that the crew of the two newly crowned FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) World Champions Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) – joined by IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class winners Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) in the VLN-sanctioned race, were determined to win the prestigious endurance race in the Eifel region of Germany. Estre swept into the lead after five hours of racing in the Manthey-Racing-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R. Clocking a time of eight-minutes, 17.745-seconds around the full “Combined” 16.123-mile circuit that joins the Nordschleife and Grand Prix circuits, Estre turned the fastest race lap in his last stint behind the wheel. The time penalty of five-minutes, 32-seconds due to a yellow flag violation dashed hopes of winning.
There was great excitement with Manthey-Racing’s second Porsche 911 GT3 R. The No. 12 vehicle secured fifth-place overall while winning the Pro-Am class. Cairoli (Italy), Olsen (Norway), Klohs and Kern fought the field for the full 24-hours to secure the Porsche win at the “Green Hell”.
However, it was not only the seven 911 GT3 R entered in the top classes that made an impression at the event. In the near-road car classes, many of the vehicles that set the pace came from the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Eight of the 24 classes were won by Porsche teams.
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We demonstrated an extremely good performance over the 24 hours with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. A strong team worked brilliantly and pulled everything together. Luck wasn’t on our side, and two minor mistakes ultimately meant we couldn’t bring home victory. A commendable second-place overall and a class win in the Pro-Am – all in all a good weekend for Porsche.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I think we had the best car and the best crew in the pit lane. We made a mistake and that cost us victory. We spent 5:32 minutes in the pits and lost a good 40 seconds. The shows clearly just how strong we were. Every one of us could have made the mistake that led to this penalty. It’s very hard to see all the slow zones and yellow flags. But such misfortune gives us more motivation to return to the Nürburgring even stronger.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We led the race convincingly over a long period of time and had a very good car. Unfortunately a mistake cost us the victory. At the Nürburgring it’s not always easy to see the flag signals, and it’s especially challenging to race here at night. My fastest lap underlined how good we were, but unfortunately we finished second today.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“That was a crazy race. So much can happen in 24 hours, but the drivers, team and everyone involved did a great job. Our car was perfectly prepared, the engineers and mechanics gave us the best support. Today simply wasn’t our day.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We made only one mistake over the entire 24-hour race. I didn’t see the yellow flag. I don’t know how it happened. I can still see the scene in my mind, but even then I didn’t notice it. Unfortunately, it had serious consequences. Other than the overlooked flag, the rest of race ran perfectly."
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 12 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We’re thrilled with fifth-place. We’ve achieved our goal of winning the Pro-Am class. What’s more, we’re really proud that an amateur-category vehicle finished so far up the field – and with a model of the Porsche 911 GT3 R from last year.“
Mountain Time. 16 Porsche Rally Cars to Face Pikes Peak Course and Clock.
On Sunday June 30, sixteen rally cars will chase the clock up the most famous mountain course in motorsports, Pikes Peak in Colorado. The 97th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) will begin practice on Tuesday, June 25 with the contest to crown the fastest to the peak scheduled to begin up the 12.42-mile, 156-turn Pikes Peak race course on Sunday. Porsche is represented in four different divisions with 10 different cars. Included is the one-make Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama.
In March 2019, Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and the PPIHC announced the continuation of the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division for a second year. Seven drivers will contest the class in the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport with full support of PMNA, RennsportOne (RS1), Porsche Colorado Springs and Yokohama. Six entries using model year 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs and a single 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport from 2019 will be balanced to compete in the class. Included in the seven entries are 2018 class winner Travis Pastrana (Davidsonville, Maryland) and last year’s runner-up, IndyCar driver J.R. Hildebrand (Boulder, Colorado). Pastrana, a three-time AMA Motocross and Supercross Champion, X-Game winner and stunt performer set the high mark for the class in its first appearance with a time of 10-minutes, 33.897-seconds up to the 14,115 foot high finish line. The class includes Colorado Spring’s George Hess III and four Pikes Peak rookies with Phil Bloom (Nantucket, Massachusetts), Marc Bunting (Monkton, Maryland), Gustav Lundh (Sweden) and Blake Williams (Australia). A well-known sports car racer, Bunting has the lone 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the class.
Matching the one-make Porsche class in size are seven Porsche 911-based cars entered in the Time Attack 1 Division. Among the international drivers list are entrants from France, Japan and the United States. Raphael Astier (France) has entered a 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car outfitted with a turbocharger to enhance performance at the higher elevations of the course. His countryman William Cavailhes will make his debut at Pikes Peak with a 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RGT while Japan’s Akio Kobayashi returns with a Porsche 911 GT3. A 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 R is the vehicle of choice for Christian Schmitter of France. Monroe, Wisconsin’s Donald Wickstrum will have a normally aspirated 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for his rookie appearance in Colorado while Colorado Spring’s own Fred Vetch brings a 2001 Porsche 911.
David Donohue is the sole entry in the Pikes Peak Open Division. The 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner who has also earned two Rolex 24 At Daytona victories and an IMSA Championship, piloted a specially prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R to the Time Attack Division win last year with a time of 9:37.152. The West Chester, Pennsylvania- resident returns with a Porsche 911 to seek the win in the “Open” Division. A single entry in the Exhibition class is brought by Christopher Lennon. The Boulder, Colorado- resident brings a class-winning 1973 Porsche 911 RSR EV to Pikes Peak, now completely converted with a fully electric drivetrain.
Porsche History. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The history of Porsche in international motorsports is well known. It is not a surprise that, much like the first production Porsche to roll out of the iconic brand’s ”factory” was raced in a hill climb just weeks later, the first Porsche cars to come to North America were also immediately raced. Within years of the first Porsche 356 coming to the United States, the lovers of the German marque were facing “America’s Mountain”, Colorado’s Pikes Peak, in their Porsche road cars. Porsche debuted in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1958, and like most things motorsports, the brand has made its mark at the “Race to the Clouds” capturing 25 class victories and twice turning the quickest time for the overall win.
Bill Paine was the first to drive a Porsche 356A up the Mountain in 1958, it was in 1960 when Robert Donner Jr. and Mike Collins each earned the first titles for Porsche in two different classes with variants of the Porsche Type 718 RSK. It would not be until 1976 when future four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears raced a Porsche-powered buggy up Pikes Peak for the first overall title. The feat would be repeated once more in 1981 when a Porsche 914 powered buggy driven by Gary Lee Kanawyer gave the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen automaker its last overall win in Colorado. No Porsche was entered between 1964 and 1970.
Jeff Zwart, eight-time Pikes Peak International Class Champion, is renowned for his prowess on the rally scene, particularly his mastery of the legendary Hill Climb. All of his victories have come in Porsche 911s, from all-wheel-drive rally cars, to stock 911 GT2 RS models and custom turbocharged 911 GT3 Cup cars. Zwart was named to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Hall of Fame in 2018.
Porsche reinforced its hill climb heritage again in 2018 participating in four of the six Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) Divisions earning victories in two classes. Travis Pastrana won the first Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division while Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona-winner David Donohue won the Time Attack Division, Time Attack 1 class in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Overall Wins. 2 – 1976, 1981
Class Wins. 25 – 1960 (2), 1961, 1962, 1976, 1981, 1994 – 1998, 2002, 2010, 2011,
2012 (2), 2014 (2), 2015 (2), 2016, 2018 (2).
Porsche 911 Wins. 17 Class Victories – 1994 – 1998, 2002, 2010 – 2011, 2012 (2),
2014 (2), 2015 (3), 2016, 2018
Most Class Wins In A Single Year. 3 – 2015 – Pikes Peak Challenge Vintage (Christopher Lennon, 1973 Porsche 911 RSR), Time Attack 1 (Jeff Zwart, Porsche 911), Time Attack 2 (David Donner, Porsche 911 Turbo S)
Career Porsche Victories, Drivers.*
Jeff Zwart, 8 (1994-’98, 2002, ‘10, ‘15)
Robert Donner Jr., 3 (1960 – ’62)
John Heavey, 2 (2011, ‘12)
David Donner, 2 (2015, ’16)
Mike Collins, 1 (1961)
Rick Mears, 1, Overall (1976)
Gary Lee Kanawyer, 1, Overall (1981)
Vincent Beltoise, 1 (2014)
Fred Veitch, 1 (2014)
Christopher Lennon, 1 (2015)
David Donohue, 1 (2018)
Travis Pastrana, 1 (2018)
IMSA 50th. Porsche Recognizes the Golden Anniversary of IMSA.
Sunday, June 23 marked the exact Golden Anniversary date of the incorporation of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). In that 50 years, Porsche is the only manufacturer to participate in every IMSA-sanctioned sports car race and leads in every major record category kept by the Daytona Beach, Florida-based sanctioning body.
Through the Grand Prix of Detroit – at which Park Place Motorsports earned the pole position and a second-place finish in the GTD class – the German marque has captured 569 IMSA victories as an engine manufacturer, 545 of those wins have come in a Porsche-manufactured chassis. The wins have come in the five major race series IMSA has sanctioned: the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (GTLM and GTD classes), American Le Mans Series, GRAND-AM Rolex Series, United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) and IMSA Camel GT. Porsche has 233 more combined wins than its nearest rival, Chevrolet, who has earned 336 victories. The Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany-based automobile maker has accumulated over 100 more pole positions than Chevrolet, 456 versus 353.
Porsche Class Wins as a Chassis/Engine Manufacturer by Series.
WeatherTech Championship. 25 American Le Mans Series. 115 GRAND-AM Rolex GT. 73 USRRC. 10
IMSA Camel GT. 334 (GTP and Camel GT)
Dave Engelman, Spokesperson, Motorsport and Brand Heritage.
“Whether one looks back on the factory and customer 935 and 962 teams of the 1970s and 80’s, or at today’s current crop of factory 911 RSR and customer 911 GT3 R racecars, it is easy to see the parallels of growth between IMSA and Porsche Motorsport over the past 50 years. Watching the Brumos sweeps adorn the factory 911s serves as a timely reminder that the “golden age” of IMSA is here, once again.”