- On Track. Porsche Works and Customer Teams Focused on VIR to Continue IMSA Success.
- Monterey Birthday. Porsche Helps IMSA Celebrate Golden Anniversary at Motorsport Reunion.
Event Story Lines.
On Track. Porsche Works and Customer Teams Focused on VIR to Continue IMSA Success.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship turns its eye to VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) for the second, and final, all-GT car weekend of the 2019 race season. Four Porsche-built race cars are focused on the final three races of the season as they travel to the Alton, Virginia-area track, August 23 – 25, for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR. The 3.27-mile road course plays host to round 11 of the 13-race championship with the Porsche GT Team-prepared Porsche 911 RSRs running one-two in the GTLM point standings. The Pfaff Motorsports-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R is riding a two-race winning streak in the GTD class. The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports 911 GT3 R looks for its first GTD class win of the season at one of North America’s classic natural terrain road courses.
Chasing overall race honors will be the pair of Porsche 911 RSR run by the “works” program. The No. 911 shared by Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) took the race win at the southern Virginia track in 2015, the marques’ most recent GTLM win there.
The No. 911 has two victories thus far in 2019 with wins at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Six Hours of Watkins Glen. The No. 912 of Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) sits atop the GTLM point standings for teams and drivers just ahead of their stable mates Pilet and Tandy. #Bamthor, as the driver pairing of the No. 912 has become known, has three wins to-date (Long Beach, Mid-Ohio and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). At least one of the 510-hp 911 RSR race cars has finished on the podium in each of the first 10 races and set a series’ class record with five-consecutive race wins in the heart of the season. The performance has placed Porsche at the top of the Manufacturer’s standings with three races remaining.
In the Pro-Am style GTD class, series’ newcomer Pfaff Motorsports has won the last two races with the customer Porsche 911 GT3 R. Longtime team driver Scott Hargrove re-joins his Canadian countryman Zach Robichon in the No. 9 plaid-liveried Pfaff car at VIR. Robichon started a two-race win-streak in his rookie season at Lime Rock Park and followed it at Road America rocketing himself to the top of the Sprint Cup Championship Drivers’ point standings with two races remaining in the championship within a championship, including this weekend’s two-hour, 40-minute feature event. Park Place Motorsports continues to seek its first win of the season on Sunday, August 25. Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) has raced the full-season in the No. 73 guiding the team to strong performances just shy of the top step of the podium. He will be joined by driver/team principal Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) in Virginia. Long won VIR overall in a Porsche-powered Daytona Prototype in 2006.
Monterey Birthday. Porsche Helps IMSA Celebrate Golden Anniversary at Motorsport Reunion.
Porsche helped the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) celebrate its 50th Anniversary on one of the auto industry’s main stages August 15 – 18. Monterey Car Weeks is an observance of all things automotive including its vital competition heritage. As such, each year, Porsche is heavily involved as a manufacturer deeply integrated with much of that history. In 2019, the German sports car manufacturer helped turn the spotlight on IMSA, its longtime racing partner, to recognize the Daytona Beach, Florida-based sanctioning bodies’ golden anniversary.
As part of the larger “Monterey Car Week” collection of events on the Monterey, California Peninsula, the Motorsport Reunion attracts over 500 vintage race cars for historic competition on the famed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca track each year. A significant number of Porsche race cars participate in the field with even more Porsche-badged machines found on the roads that make up the picturesque peninsula. Galas, auctions, forums, displays and aesthetic competitions join on-track activity to make this annual event a “must see” for automobile lovers of all types.
Porsche racing legend and 2019 Monterey Motorsport Reunion Grand Marshal Hurley Haywood waved the green flag, signed autographs and handed out awards in celebration of IMSA being the featured marque during the vintage race weekend. With five wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Haywood is one of the most successful endurance drivers in history. His IMSA record is just as astounding, encouraging organizers of the Monterey Motorsport Reunion to honor the St. Augustine, Florida-resident as the event’s Grand Marshal.
To support the featured marque’s celebration, both IMSA and Porsche had displays within the paddock of WeatherTech Raceway. IMSA’s large collection included several representatives of the German manufacturer’s five-decade racing history in North America’s premier sports car racing series ranging from road-based GTs to legendary prototypes. Porsche, in-turn, spotlighted its race-winning heritage as the only manufacturer to enter every IMSA sports car race with cars from the past and future. Along with the Tangerine Orange Brumos Racing 914/6 race car Haywood drove to the first IMSA sports car championship in 1971, another significant Porsche machine on location was an ex-Bob Akin Coca-Cola 962; representing 10 years of IMSA racing success for the groundbreaking prototype-style race car.
Porsche Motorsport also used the highly attended event to make the North American debut of the 911 RSR-19 factory race car on Friday morning. The new car made its international introduction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in early July and experienced its first public competition laps in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) pre-season test known as the Prologue late last month. The most technically advanced Porsche 911 race car ever built will see its IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship premier at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, January 3 – 5, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway.
During the first IMSA “Fan Forum” of the weekend, Pascal Zurlinden, Director of Global GT Racing and five-time IMSA Champion Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) spoke on stage with Racer Magazine’s Marshall Pruett about the new car that will see its WEC season begin at Great Britain’s Silverstone Circuit on September 1 and it’s first IMSA race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, on January 25 – 26. 2020.
Signifying 20-years of Porsche GT street cars and the direct link that Porsche draws from track to street, two road-going 911 GT3s rounded out the IMSA-themed display. Bookending the two-decade history of the line, the model year 2000 911 GT3 (type 996) – the first GT3 produced but not available in North America – sat beside the latest 911 GT3 RS (type 991.2).
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG was on hand Saturday as was 2009 24 Hours of Daytona overall winner David Donohue (West Chester, Pennsylvania). Three-time IMSA champion Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) joined his Porsche factory driver teammate Bergmeister over the three days at the track in recognition of IMSA’s 50th Anniversary. Long and Bergmeister combined to win three IMSA GT championships between 2005 and 2010 across two Porsche race teams – White Lightning Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports – to become one of the most formidable combinations in the history of North American sports car racing.
Porsche representation could be found all around the Monterey Peninsula during “Car Week”. Haywood was part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with Porsche Brand Ambassador and WEC team owner Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California) and noted car expert, TV/podcast host as well as comedy writer Spike Feresten. Porsche Brand Ambassador and former factory driver Mark Webber (Australia), who won the WEC World Championship with the Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2015, was also in Monterey and heavily involved with Porsche throughout the festivities.
Hurley Haywood, Porsche Racing Legend and Motorsport Reunion Grand Marshal.
“It was a special honor to be Grand Marshal on the same weekend as IMSA’s turn as the featured marque at the track. Porsche had our Brumos Collection 914/6 race car on display, which Peter Gregg and I used to win the very first IMSA sports car championship back in 1971. The weekend highlight for me was giving Dr. Wolfgang Porsche a few hot laps around the track and through the famous corkscrew turn in the new 911 GT3 RS.”