- Pfaff First. Customer Team Earns First IMSA Win for Team and 911 GT3 R; 911 RSR Podium.
- First Exposure. Porsche 911 RSR to Make Competition Debut at WEC Prologue.
- Lotterer Live. Porsche Formula E Driver Interviewed on Porsche “Inside E” Podcast.
Event Story Lines.
Pfaff First. Customer Team Earns First IMSA Win for Team and 911 GT3 R; 911 RSR Podium.
It was a day of firsts at Lime Rock Park as Pfaff Motorsports earned its inaugural IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory on Saturday, July 20. The date, so famously remembered as the day 50 years ago man first walked on the moon, will also go down as the first IMSA GTD class victory for the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) and 2018 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Champion Zach Robichon (Canada) charged the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche to the debut win for the Canadian team, both drivers and the newest iteration of the customer GT3 machine in the Pro-Am style class. While its streak of GTLM class wins came to a stop at five, the Porsche GT Team continued its string of podium finishes with the Porsche 911 RSR as the No. 912 of Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) finished in second-place at the Lakeville, Connecticut-track.
The factory team successfully defended Porsche’s lead in the GTLM manufacturers’ championship by virtue of the podium result, its seventh in seven races. The two-hour, 40-minute race for the two GT classes only nearly continued the record-setting streak of victories in the GTLM class for the 911 RSR. However, despite taking both front row starting spots on the tight 1.5-mile road course and running one-two much of the event, Bamber and Vanthoor would fall to second-place in the closing laps after a brilliant battle with the Ford GT factory entry. Their colleagues Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) claimed fourth-place in the No. 911 sister car. Porsche retains a 24-point lead in the manufacturers’ championship. Bamber/Vanthoor have extended their lead in the drivers’ championship, with Pilet/Tandy in second-place.
The GTD class delivered suspense to the flag. The Porsche 911 GT3 R run by Pfaff Motorsports, a division of Canada’s largest Porsche dealership, qualified in fifth-place on the gird. Robichon (Canada) gained one position during his stint, with Olsen following up with an inspired drive. The Norwegian systematically worked his way up the field to second-place. In the final two laps, he made repeated attempts to get past the leading Acura. He finally succeeded and won the class by a slim 0.01-second margin. The identical 500+hp car fielded by Park Place Motorsports and driven by works driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach California) and Germany’s Marco Seefried finished in fourth-place despite a punctured tire. Directly behind was Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) and his American teammate Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York) who debuted the No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in fifth-place.
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager, IMSA SportsCar Championship.
“That was quite literally a hot contest. We opted for a different strategy than Ford. The difference was minimal over the total distance, but unfortunately we lost out this time. Congratulations to the winner for a clever performance. Second-place for our number 912 car means we’ve managed to maintain our lead in the manufacturers’ championship and further extend our top spot in the drivers’ championship. All things considered, we’re pleased. Congratulations to the Porsche customer team Pfaff Motorsports on their maiden win in the GTD class. It was fun to watch the gripping duel for victory.”
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“What an awesome race! I took over the car in fourth-place and fought my way to the front. Our Porsche 911 GT3 R was fast over the entire event. Towards the end, the tires were pretty worn, but I still managed to make the decisive move in the battle for first-place. It was close, tough and successful – just the way I like it.”
Zacharie Robichon, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was sensational how Dennis fought for the lead shortly before the end and defended it in the fierce duel to the flag. At long last, we’ve secured the first victory for Pfaff Motorsports. The entire team has been working hard for months to at least claim a podium spot. Something always hampered us, but not this time – we even finished on the top podium step. This achievement means a great deal to me.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
“Ford gambled with three pit stops and won this time. I can only congratulate them. We’re satisfied with second-place because this position earns us critical points towards the championship. The race was fantastic, on the whole. There were fierce fights from start to finish, with several changes at the front and spectators were treated to a great show.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
“Of course you’re always wiser in hindsight. Had we adopted a different strategy perhaps we could have won. Still, our focus is on the championship and for this reason we didn’t want to take any tactical risks. Based on this, we’ve achieved the maximum. We still lead all the classifications, and that’s the most important thing.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR.
“Ford had a slightly better strategy today. It was difficult for us to maintain the high pace over the long stints that would have been necessary to win. Porsche is leading all of the championship categories at the moment. With this in mind, it was a successful weekend.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR.
“Every fan would have loved watching this race. It was motor racing at its best. At times we were in the lead with our number 911 car – still we’re satisfied with fourth. Porsche earned a lot of points again from this race. The championship continues. We’ll produce better results again.”
First Exposure. Porsche 911 RSR to Make Competition Debut at WEC Prologue.
The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) will meet its competition on track for the first time at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue, July 23 – 24. The two-day test at the Algarve Circuit in Barcelona, Spain will pit the Porsche, as the reigning world manufacturers’ champions, against a full field of factory GT cars in the LMGTE-Pro class to prepare for the 2019/2020 WEC season. The new Porsche 911 RSR was unveiled at Goodwood Festival of Speed in Great Britain on July 6. The pair of Porsche GT Team factory cars will be joined by three customer machines in the LMGTE-Am category with Team Project 1, Gulf Racing and Dempsey Proton Racing fielding a total of five 2018-spec Porsche 911 RSR racers.
Traditionally, the WEC holds a two-day test prior to the start of the new season. These tests allow teams and drivers to prepare for the upcoming races. Additionally, the performance data from this test is used to check the balance of performance (BoP) across the field, as well as for the sanctioning body to test measuring methods and practice procedures outside of race conditions. With the exception of 2017 (Monza, Italy), these tests have always been held at the start of the season in Le Castellet, France. This year, however, the Prologue will be run for the first time on the Spanish Formula One circuit just outside Barcelona. The program includes two, four-hour test sessions on both days.
Richard Lietz (Austria) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) are prepared to drive the No. 91 “works” car. The second Porsche 911 RSR (No. 92) will be shared by 2018/2019 WEC World Drivers’ Champions Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark). The driver crews in the five customer-run Porsche 911 RSR racing vehicles will be announced at a later date.
The 515 hp Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) received improvements in areas such as drivability, efficiency, ergonomics and ease of servicing. The latest Porsche 911 RSR is powered by a new 4.2 liter, six-cylinder boxer engine.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“Our engineers, drivers and teams from the FIA WEC and the North American IMSA series have jointly developed and familiarized themselves with the new Porsche 911 RSR at numerous tests. Now a new mission begins. We want to defend the world championship title. The Prologue marks the start of an intense year in the FIA WEC with eight races in less than ten months.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport.
“We’ve designed the new Porsche 911 RSR from scratch. We used the test drives to prepare meticulously for the upcoming challenges. Now we finally get the chance to meet our competitors in the FIA WEC. As world champions, we’re heading into the new season feeling confident. However, in the lead-up to the Prologue, we still have a few unanswered questions because we’ve never driven at Barcelona. I’m curious to see how well our new car performs on this racetrack.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We already got to know our new Porsche 911 RSR well at the test drives. The car is better than its predecessor in many aspects. It’ll be interesting to verify these first impressions on a racetrack like Barcelona. It’s not without good reason that the Formula 1 goes testing there every year before the start of the season. You can learn a lot about the handling, aerodynamics and tire wear on this special circuit. It’s important to head into the first training sessions at the Silverstone season-opener with a good baseline setup.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The Prologue always gives me a good feeling, because this test is a clear signal that the new season is about to start. Every driver looks forward to that. The circuit near Barcelona has an interesting layout. I’m really curious to see how our new Porsche 911 RSR goes on some of the very demanding passages.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It’s fantastic to return to the FIA WEC as the reigning world champion. I’m thrilled that we can contest the new season with the same driver crew. The Prologue will be exciting. We’ll be up against the competition for the first time with our new car. Barcelona will give us an indication of where we stand compared to our rivals. I hope as many spectators come to watch the tests on Tuesday and Wednesday as there were two years ago at the official tests in Monza.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It feels a bit strange that the Prologue is already heralding the new FIA WEC season when the Super Season only finished five weeks ago at Le Mans. I’m really looking forward to the test and to working with my new team and my world champion teammate Kévin. At the Prologue, I’m sure we’ll give our new Porsche 911 RSR the perfect final tweaks for the season opener at Silverstone.”
Lotterer Live. Porsche Formula E Driver Interviewed on Porsche “Inside E” Podcast.
Just a few days after being announced as the second Porsche Formula E driver, André Lotterer is a guest on “Inside E”. In the latest Porsche podcast focusing on the German brand’s Formula E factory entry, the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winner discusses his new role at Porsche, returning to Weissach, his teammate and friend Neel Jani (Switzerland), the experience he has gained from the past two Formula E seasons and his schedule between now and his first race in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The German, who has been a Porsche “works” driver since 2017, was named to join Jani to pilot the second Formula E entry on July 17. The competition debut for the team will be the 2019/2020 Formula E season-opening event in Saudi Arabia, November 22 – 23.
Lotterer is a three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans Champion with Audi. He has been a Factory Driver for Porsche since joining the 919 Hybrid LMP1 program in 2017.
The Porsche Formula E podcast is available in English and can be downloaded now in the Porsche Newsroom (https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2019/motorsports/porsche-formula-e-pilot-driver-andre-lotterer-18159.html).
André Lotterer, Driver, Porsche ABB Formula E Championship.
On Returning to Porsche.
“It is nice to come home. I am really looking forward to tackling the challenges of Formula E with Porsche. The electric racing series has grown rapidly in recent years and is now firmly established on the motorsport scene with drivers, manufacturers and fans. As well as exciting races, Formula E also provides the right platform on which to develop technologies and thus to shape the future of electromobility,”
On Teaming with Jani.
“We know each other well and will help each other to push the team forward and make progress together. All in all, team spirit plays a major role in Formula E. It is one of the keys to success. I am confident that we will make history in Formula E.”