- Road Show. Porsche Works and Customer Teams Take Streaks to Road America.
- Road America Record. Porsche Sets North America High in Wisconsin.
- Spa 1-2. Porsche Celebrates One-Two Finish at Belgium Endurance Classic.
- GT2 Debut. 935 Back in Spa Victory Lane, GMG Earns GT2 Top-Five.
- Prologue Perfect. New Porsche 911 RSR has Successful WEC Testing Debut.
- Team Building. Porsche Formula E Assembles Race Team.
Event Story Lines.
Road Show. Porsche Works and Customer Teams Take Streaks to Road America.
Entering the IMSA Road Race Showcase, Round Eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Porsche has five WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race wins and a 24-point lead in the GTLM class Manufacturers’ Championship. The two-car “works” Porsche GT Team comes to Road America on August 2 – 4 with the goal to maintain the momentum that has seen the Porsche 911 RSR capture seven-straight podium finishes including a five-race win streak. In addition to the factory squad’s two ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR, three customer teams will field three Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD class at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin-area track. Park Place Motorsports, Pfaff Motorsports and Wright Motorsports each enter a single GT3-spec machine in the Pro-Am style class. In 2018, the John Wright-led squad won the category at the legendary track from pole position.
With four races remaining in the 12-event championship, the No. 912, with full-season regulars Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), currently leads teammates Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) in the No. 911. The cars have split the German marque’s wins with #Bamthor – as the pairing of Bamber and Vanthoor have become internationally recognized – earning class wins at Long Beach, Mid-Ohio and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Pilet/Tandy have taken victory at Sebring (with Fredrick Makowiecki) and Watkins Glen. The most recent Road America GTLM class win for Porsche came with Pilet and Tandy behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR in 2015, on their way to the Manufacturer Championship.
As the defending GTD class race-winning driver, Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) takes on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Long will share the car with driver/owner Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California). Lindsey drove to the class pole position at Road America in 2015. The defending GTD race-winning team, Wright Motorsports, continues its two-race season with Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) moving from his one-race stay with Pfaff into the No. 91 Porsche with Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York). Olsen co-drove the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory lane at the most recent race at Lime Rock Park. Fellow Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) fills the vacated Pfaff seat at Road America and will compete with 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Champion Zacharie Robichon (Canada).
Since 1963, Porsche has won 21 times at Road America – 12 times since 2000. The success included two streaks of three race wins in a row. From 1980 – 1982, Porsche 935-based race cars won 500-mile races at Road America. The legendary Porsche 962 prototype replicated that with victories from 1984 – 1986 and added a fourth win for the platform in 1993.
Pascal Zurlinden, Overall Project Manager, GT Factory Motorsport.
"We are all excited about going to the Road America circuit. The course is very challenging for the drivers as it is very fast and in some sections visibility is limited. In recent years we have not been very successful there. Nevertheless, we want to take home as many points as possible to further extend our championship lead."
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager, IMSA SportsCar Championship.
"Road America is a real driver's track. That's why everyone likes to be here. The course is one of the traditional race tracks and the layout has existed since the 1950s. When tuning, we need a good compromise between low downforce on the long straights and plenty of downforce in tight corners. After our modest performance in recent years, we still have a debt to pay with the track."
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager, Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"Road America is the longest circuit on the calendar. Particularly popular among the drivers is the section known as ‘The Kink’, which is driven in sixth-gear. Our teams have to make the set-up in such a way that the front axle is very stable under high speed in order to be able to drive through ‘The Carousel’ as quickly as possible without understeer. The teams have hardly tested the new GT3 R on this track so far. Nevertheless, we are very confident that our teams will be able to find speed."
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"I have good memories of Road America. The course is one of my favorite tracks in IMSA. It's a difficult track for Porsche, but so far we've had a strong season. I'm looking forward to the race and hope to extend our championship points. "
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"The track is very fast and fun to drive. Road America was not exactly a Porsche circuit in recent years. As a team, we have to come up with something. Maybe the key to success is an unusual strategy. I am optimistic for the race."
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"Road America is my absolute favorite race track in the US. It is fast and full of challenges. We have had a hard time with good results here in recent years. Overall, this season has been very good. With second-place at the last race in Lime Rock, we were able to extend our lead in the championship. I'm looking forward to Road America. "
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"The 2019 season has been a dream for us so far. We definitely want to defend our championship lead. We have four more races in which points will be awarded. That's why it's important to stay in the front. I'm curious to see if we can do it as well in Elkhart Lake as we have in the races coming into this weekend."
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"I'm looking forward to my first experiences at the Road America circuit and to another race in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. This time around I'm starting for Pfaff Motorsports, who won the last race in Lime Rock with a great performance from the team and my Porsche Young Professional colleague Dennis Olsen. "
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"I'm looking forward to the Road America track and my commitment to Wright Motorsports. My teammate will be Anthony Imperato, who drove a great race in Lime Rock. We'll see what we can do together with the team. It would be nice if I could build on the victory in Lime Rock. I feel fit and prepared very well through a test session. "
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Road America is a racetrack that you have to be strong in all areas of performance. You can expect a lot of big braking zones, high-speed long straightaways and technical surface changes. It makes for a tricky setup and a very rigorous, flat-out stint. As always, the competition will be tight and strategy will be key. The Park Place Porsche was one of, if not the strongest car last year at Road America so we’ll head into this race with confidence especially with a Porsche victory at the last round.”
Patrick Lindsey, Driver/Team Principal, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m excited to be back in the car with Pat after a short hiatus. Road America is one of my favorite tracks for many reasons so I’m looking forward to the weekend. Last year, it was ours to win and unfortunately we had that taken away from us. Hopefully, this year, we can nail the setup and kind of make good on what should have been last year.”
Road America Record. Porsche Sets North America High in Wisconsin.
The IMSA Road Race Showcase weekend at Road America will be the largest gathering of current Porsche race cars North America will see this season. Included across the entry lists in the three major races at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin-area track are four Porsche race car models: 911 RSR, 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup and 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. A total of 51 Porsche-built race cars will participate across four series: the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.
- WeatherTech – GTLM – Porsche 911 RSR – Nos. 911, 912.
- WeatherTech – GTD – Porsche 911 GT3 R – Nos. 9, 73 and 91.
- Michelin Pilot Challenge – GS – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport – Nos. 7 and 13.
- 29 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
- 15 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Spa 1-2. Porsche Celebrates One-Two Finish at Belgium Endurance Classic.
With a strong effort from its customer teams, Porsche won the 24 Hours of Spa on July 27 – 28. The No. 20 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by the current FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) World Champions Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) as well as Austria’s Richard Lietz, won the Belgium long distance classic after 363 laps, The victory secured Porsche its seventh overall title in the world’s most famous GT3 event. The 500+hp Porsche 911 GT3 R race car fielded by Rowe Racing (No. 998) rounded-off the one-two result of the Porsche customer teams on the renowned Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest. Five of the six Pro-class Porsche race cars finished the 71st running of the 24 Hours of Spa in the top ten.
From the start, rain played a leading role at the 24-hour classic. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the race had to be stopped for nearly six hours due to heavy downpours. However, not even this interruption could end the victorious drive of the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Estre, Christensen and Lietz, which had been relegated down the field by a drive-through penalty in the evening, put in an impressive charge to take back the lead and win the race. When the race was halted, No. 20 had made it back to eighth-place with a series of flawless and constantly fast stints by the Porsche factory driver trio. With two hours remaining, the 911 GT3 R, then driven by Estre, took the lead. The Frenchman held the top spot despite driving on slick racing tires car on the damp track surface. It was the first 24 Hours of Spa overall victory for Porsche in nine years.
The No. 998 Rowe Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R also had mixed fortunes on the 4.35-mile (7.004 kilometer) circuit. Patrick Pilet (France), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) lost several positions due to a drive-through penalty and caught the frontrunners in the night with a strong performance of their own in the rain. During the closing stages of the race, rain specialist Tandy moved into second-place with several skillful overtaking maneuvers to secure the top two steps of the podium for Porsche.
Scoring three more top ten places, Porsche customer teams crowned their strong and unified showing at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Rowe Racing with the starting numbers 98 and 99 finished fifth and seventh. KÜS Team75 Bernhard brought its identical number 117 nine-eleven home in ninth-place.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.
“Congratulations to our customer teams at Spa. The effort of the engineers, strategists, the pit crews and the drivers impressed me deeply. They all cooperated with our support crew from Weissach in the best possible way. We’ve scored this victory together. And the Porsche 911 again proved to be the car to beat at sportscar races.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m speechless. For 24 hours one challenge came after the other at Spa. We put in a strong performance under all conditions – from the qualifying to the last race lap. Our teams worked perfectly together over the entire weekend. This makes this one-two finish a common success for all. The start was great, afterwards the best running cars were unfortunately thrown back by penalties but charged back to the front in the night. The drivers and teams didn’t make any more mistakes, dictated the pace and pushed right through to the end. The 911 GT3 R put in a strong performance at Spa. Our rear-engine car displayed fantastic traction and all drivers praised the drivability of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Under all track conditions, the nine-eleven was the best car. Moreover, our vehicles didn’t have the slightest technical problems.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 20 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This was another typically crazy race at Spa. We had to master various weather conditions and aquaplaning. With tough wheel-to-wheel racing we conquered one position after the other, we were on slicks in the rain and on wets on the drying track. During the last 30-minutes of the race there were yellow and safety car phases – the way to our victory was truly a tough piece of work. But after the race was halted in the morning we were confident to have the right strategy to make it to the top. I am proud of our team that only started the co-operation with Porsche this year. And I am proud to be a member of this squad.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 20 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“An unbelievable race. Tackling Spa is always something special with the unpredictable weather. And the fights on track are extremely tough from start to finish. As a team we have mastered all those feats well and did a great job right to the end.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 20 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This marks a special victory because our team ran a Pro car for the first time. We were welcomed well and now we are the happy ones who won. Everything was prepared immaculately and the team have surely deserved this win.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 998 Rowe Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“What a fantastic result for Porsche! The outcome of consistently hard work from each of our team members every day. I am truly happy. We gave it all and had a good tactic. In the end we only narrowly missed out on the win.”
GT2 Debut. 935 Back in Spa Victory Lane, GMG Earns GT2 Top-Five.
Two very special GT2 models celebrated their race debut in support events leading up to the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. Fielding the limited edition 700 horsepower Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and Porsche 935 race cars, an international field of 15 drivers contested two 30-minute races. On Friday, Norwegian Egidio Perfetti crossed the finish line in first-place at the Porsche Motorsport GT2 Supersportscar Weekend in the his Porsche 935 ahead of Germans Jan-Erik Slooten and Klaus Abbelen. On Saturday, Perfetti won again, with Slooten and Christian Ried rounding out the podium. Well known North American team GMG Motorsports made its first international GT2 start with a pair of Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport entries run by Spirit Race Team Uwe Alzen Automotive earning a best-finish of fourth-place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
GMG owner James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) came to Spa with an exploratory eye for both European racing as well as North American-based competition with the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. Teaming with Spirit Race Team Uwe Alzen Automotive gave the former SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America champion an opportunity to see how the car races and the potential competition in the new GT2 class. He walked away with a notebook full of information for he and his clients as well as fourth-place finish in Race 2. The day earlier, he ran 15th. Jason Bell (Tampa, Florida), racing with GMG, had a high finish of 13th in Race 1. He was 14th in Race 2.
The field treated spectators to spectacular races with spirited duels on the 4.35-mile (7.004-kilometer) race track. Among the 15 drivers were two 24 Hours of Le Mans LMGTE-Am class winners, Perfetti and Ried, as well as the VIP driver, six-time Olympic gold medalist in track cycling, Chris Hoy (Great Britain).
The 700 hp Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and Porsche 935 racer cars rolled onto the grid as the most powerful vehicles of the weekend and thrilled fans at the racetrack. Three models of the new Porsche 935, limited to only 77 units, competed featuring a body reminiscent of the legendary Porsche 935/78, which fans dubbed “Moby Dick” due to its elongated shape and massive fairings. The newly developed Porsche 935 and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport also underlined their competiveness on the racetrack. The Clubsport car’s technology is based on the 911 GT2 RS high performance road-going sports car. Both the road and the racing versions are mounted with the same powerplant: a state-of-the-art 3.8-litre six-cylinder twin-turbocharged boxer engine. The Porsche 935 made its international debut on the stage of Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI in Monterey, California in 2018.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.
“We witnessed two great GT2 races at Spa this weekend. I hope that was just a foretaste of a new GT2 format next year. The fans were thrilled with the spectacular vehicles and the feedback from the organizers was also very positive.”
Oliver Köppen, Manager Sales Europe South at Porsche Motorsport and Porsche Project Manager.
“The Porsche Motorsport GT2 Supersportscar Weekend was an absolutely successful event for us. It began on Wednesday with the popular drivers’ parade and finished on Saturday with Stéphane Ratel and Fritz Enzinger handing the participants their trophies. The spirit of the Porsche family was alive and well in the GT2 paddock and we’re satisfied in every respect.
Egidio Perfetti, Driver, Mentos Racing Porsche 935.
“Two wins on one weekend, you can’t ask for more than that. Of course, I’m absolutely delighted. My car was super and despite the changing conditions with sun and hot temperatures on Friday and cooler, even rainy conditions on Saturday, the team put a perfectly set-up car on the track for me.”
James Sofronas, Owner/Driver, GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.
"This was a fantastic experience. Competing at Spa is on the bucket list for any driver, and to do it as part of one of the biggest events of the year is something I'll always remember. The entire weekend provided a lot of on-track fun for both myself and Jason Bell, but closing the event with a strong shot at a podium and ultimately a top-five on a track I'd never been to, I can walk away pretty happy.
Taking delivery of the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, I was instantly impressed with the characteristics of the car. Between the performance characteristics and the overall concept of the SRO's GT2 platform, we're now able to present an amazing new program for our customers in 2020, and we've already plans to run a number of entries in the coming year."
Prologue Perfect. New Porsche 911 RSR has Successful WEC Testing Debut.
The Porsche GT Team wrapped-up testing for the upcoming 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season. At the official test – known as the Prologue – held at the Circuit de Cataluña on July 23 - 24, the two brand-new ca. 515 hp Porsche 911 RSR race cars completed a comprehensive test program in hot summer temperatures of 95-degrees Fahrenheit (35C). The squad and drivers of both 911 racing cars used the two-day test at the race course near the Spanish metropolis of Barcelona to familiarize themselves with the new car and all the new processes involved with racing it.
Austria’s Richard Lietz and his teammate Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) as well as the reigning world champions Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) covered a combined 362 laps / 1,047 miles (1,685 kilometers) on the 2.89-mile (4.655 kilometer) track. The Prologue is the first official track activity of the 2019/2020 Sports Car World Championship season. It was also the first public test of the recently announced Porsche 911 RSR which debuted earlier this month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The two-car factory team will see the first race of the new season on August 30 at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. Porsche will compete in the LMGTE-Pro class with the factory 911 RSR while customer teams will race 2018 model year machines in the LMGTE-Am category.
In addition to the two Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) run by the Porsche GT Teams in the GTE-Pro category, the customer programs of Team Project 1, Gulf Racing and Dempsey Proton Racing accounted for five 2018-spec Porsche 911 RSR race cars in the LMGTE-Am class at The Prologue.
In North America, the two-car Porsche GT Team operated in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM class by CORE autosport continue to race the 2018 model year Porsche 911 RSR through the end of the 2019 season. The works operation has won five-times in seven races to-date and leads the Driver, Team and Manufacturer’s standings with four events remaining. The new 911 RSR will have its competitive North American debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 25 – 26, 2020.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport.
“Although the break after Le Mans was short, we were all excited to meet our rivals in the 2019/20 season. Our whole team quickly got used to the new Porsche 911 RSR. We worked on the finer points of the setup here in Barcelona and we feel ready for the first race at Silverstone. I want to thank the entire crew in our Motorsport Center at Weissach (Germany) for the great preparation work. And our customer squads have used the two days very effectively to prepare well for the season opener. Bring on Silverstone.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR.
“We had two good days where we tried out a lot of things. Some worked well, others weren’t so great. Still, that’s what such tests are for – to see how changes affect the performance of the new Porsche 911 RSR. We have a little time before the first race at Silverstone which we’ll use to make the final tweaks. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season and I hope that a Porsche will be at the head of the pack again. I certainly don’t mind if it’s me and Gimmi in the number 91 car this year.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’m very pleased with how the two test days went. We worked through the scheduled program with our team. Richard and I spent many kilometers out on the track and collected a lot of data, which now needs to be evaluated. We’re heading to Silverstone perfectly prepared. Our aim, of course, is to again win all the titles with Porsche. That’s my motivation.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR.
“We managed to tick off all the tasks on our to-do list. The conditions were extreme and the track surface was very hot. It was tough on the tires. I’m not sure if we’ll encounter such temperatures in the WEC but we’re always gaining new experiences and that’s how we improve. Almost everything on our 911 RSR has changed compared to the predecessor. So it was great to have the whole team working on the new car and learning all about it.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR.
“The tests were good. We made progress with the setup. The new Porsche 911 RSR is great fun to drive. However, the hot temperatures made it difficult to get the timing right for the best tire performance. We rarely experience such conditions in the WEC. Still, we managed to gain vital information. I’m feeling really motivated for the season, especially because Kévin and I want to prove as the reigning drivers’ champions that we deserve to finish at the very top of the standings at the end of the season.”
Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.
“Our focus over the two test days was on the new Michelin tires. We compared the new specifications with the old ones and are very happy. The tires have become significantly more consistent, which will certainly be helpful for the race distances in the WEC. We didn’t actually work on the setup. Since we’re fielding two cars in the upcoming season compared to last year, it was important to try out new configurations within the team as well as the processes. It all worked wonderfully.”
Team Building. Porsche Formula E Assembles Race Team.
In mid-July, Porsche filled the key driver’s role for its second Formula E seat with André Lotterer (Germany) joining Neel Jani (Switzerland). With both drivers confirmed, the works team is finalizing staff positions while preparing for Porsche’s debut season in the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The sixth season of Formula E begins in Saudi Arabia, November 22 -23, 2019.
The FIA Formula E race series sets clear limits with regard to the team size at the racetrack. To run two Formula E race cars, just 20 team members are permitted on site. This, however, does not include top management and departments such as public relations or marketing. The limited numbers mean each process must be intensely scrutinized with people assigned to two or three different roles. Areas such as research and development are not restricted allowing an unlimited works team in Weissach, Germany.
Amiel Lindesay, Team Manager, Porsche Formula E.
“As far as our drivers are concerned, we have a very good starting position for the Porsche works entry in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Neel and André on board. It is very important to integrate both regular drivers in the preparations early on so the team can collaborate fully with the two drivers. Many new challenges await us in our first season in Formula E. The limited number of people at the racetrack is certainly one of these challenges. In recent months, many scenarios have been tried out at tests and in Weissach, which in turn has allowed the team to acquire valuable knowledge that it can apply to its operations. As a team, we are very well positioned and have outstanding engineers and mechanics on board, the majority of whom have been involved in the previous LMP1 project. Team spirit has always been a very important factor at Porsche, without which the many successes we have enjoyed in the past would not have been possible. We are optimistic that we can make a difference in Formula E as a team.”