In fact, the pair of factory Porsche 911 RSR-19 race cars will have two tries at the 2.54-mile, Braselton, Georgia-area track to tick the win column. The 12-turn circuit northeast of the state capital of Georgia is near Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) headquarters in Atlanta giving a hometown feel to the events. The Michelin Endurance Challenge Weekend will be highlighted by the six-hour Tirerack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on September 5. The “make-up” race for the annual Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen (New York) will proceed the ten-hour Motul Petit Le Mans on October 17. The two “works” Porsche entries of Fred Makowiecki (France) / Nick Tandy (Great Britain) in No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) / Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) in the No. 912, will fight for GTLM class honors. The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) will represent long storied Porsche privateer entrant tradition in the GTD class.
Despite the lack of a GTLM class victory thus far, Porsche remains deep in the battle to defend its 2019 IMSA Driver, Team and Manufacturer titles in the class. Bamber and Vanthoor are currently second in the Drivers’ Championship with 146 points, 19 behind the No. 3 Corvette factory drivers. The No. 912 is the same amount behind in the Team Championship. Another three points back are Makowiecki / Tandy in fourth-position. Porsche is in fourth-place of the Manufacturer’s title with 156 points to Corvette’s 170.
Porsche has a strong history at its home race track. Famously, the factory team with Tandy, Patrick Pilet (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) won the race overall in 2015. Tandy repeated with a class win in 2018 sharing duties with Pilet and current team partner Makowiecki. Bamthor – the popular pairing of Bamber and Vanthoor – secured their first IMSA title at Road Atlanta in 2019.
While Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will hold the 23rd running of the Petit Le Mans on October 17, two races in a season at MRRA have not been uncommon. In fact, nine times two IMSA races have been held at the track in a single season. Further, this is not the first time that a six-hour IMSA race has been held in Braselton. In 1974, Al Holbert and Elliot Forbes-Robinson drove a Porsche Carrera RSR to victory in the only other time the six-hour distance has been held at Road Atlanta.
Practice for the TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will get underway on Friday, September 4 with qualifying for the GT cars on Friday evening starting at 6:35 p.m. ET. The six-hour WeatherTech Championship race will take the green flag at 11:35 a.m. ET / 8:35 a.m. PT on Saturday, September 5 with the checkered flag scheduled to fall at 5:35 p.m. ET. The full race can be viewed live in the United States with TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. NBC Sports will broadcast the first hour live from 11:30 a.m. ET and the remainder of the race beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET through the post-race ceremonies.