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Wheel of Fortune. Porsche “Works” and Customer Teams Chase Petit Le Mans Success.

The Porsche GT Team is looking to turn its fortunes at the site of its greatest achievement: the Petit Le Mans. In 2015, the Porsche GT Team triumphed in what was presumed to be unattainable, bettering a field of the world’s best prototype and GT machines to win one of the most challenging motorsport events on the planet. In a relentless deluge that ended the race early, the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR crossed the finish line first to carve its name into the history books as a “giant killer”. The 10-hour classic, which will be celebrating it 23rd running on October 17, will see the two-car GTLM class factory effort return to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta looking to redeem a season of unrequited effort. In the customer-focused GTD class, Porsche privateer Wright Motorsports comes to the Braselton, Georgia-area on the opposite side of the pendulum having secured three consecutive podium finishes in recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races. The recognized patriarch of modern sports car racing, Porsche has a record-setting 24 class victories in the Petit Le Mans, including the unprecedented 2015 overall victory and three class victories in the one-make GTC category. Porsche has participated in every Petit Le Mans held since 1998.

911 GT3 R, Petit Le Mans, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Road Atlanta, Elkhart Lake, Race, 2019, Porsche AG

The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R leads a two-team contingent of race cars in the Pro-Am style GTD class. The Ohio-based operation headed by John Wright adds veteran Porsche pilot Jan Heylen (Belgium) to the cockpit mix with full-season regulars Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) – North America’s only Porsche factory driver – and local driver Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia). 

“I call Atlanta home, and I’ve been coming to watch this race for as long as I can remember. It’s always been a dream of mine to one day compete in this great race, and ultimately win it!" Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R

 The trio started a three-race streak of top-threes here at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn track in a six-hour race on September 6. The consistent success has moved them into the championship hunt – tied for second-place – with three races remaining. The program had their highest finish of the season to-date – a second-place with Long/Hardwick – at the most recent round held on the October 10 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Returning to the series this weekend will be Pfaff Motorsports. The No. 9 “Plaid Porsche” of the Canadian Porsche dealer has been unable to compete due to restrictions involving COVID-19 since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Their 500+ HP machine will be piloted by Zach Robichon (Canada), Dennis Olsen (Norway) and Porsche Test and Development Driver Lars Kern (Germany).

If 2020 has been a year of frustration, 2015 was a season of celebration. Then in its second season as a factory team in IMSA, the North American arm of the GTLM class “works” program, commanded the all-manufacturer class winning the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championships culminated by the Petit Le Mans overall victory. After a trying season thus far in 2020, the two-car “works” team comes to “Petit” looking for redemption on the hills and valleys of one of the most dauntingly fast tracks on the planet. Nick Tandy (Great Britain) was part of that 2015 success in the wet. This weekend he will be teamed for ten-hours with full-season driving mate Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and endurance race addition Matt Campbell (Australia) in the No. 911. In 2019, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) clinched the GTLM drivers’ championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. On Saturday, they will challenge for their first win of the season in 515 Hp No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 with Mathieu Jaminet (France) providing support.

911 RSR, Petit Le Mans, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Road Atlanta, Elkhart Lake, Race, 2019, Porsche AG

Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We love the thought of endurance racing because it allows us to expand on the strengths we have as a team. But we are also very realistic that our competition is getting stronger every weekend. There is no time to rest on our laurels. We can’t think that our results from the six-hour at Road Atlanta or the last few races is anything to just sit back and reflect on. We are looking ahead. We know we have to hit our marks. There is going to be heavy competition as the season’s conclusion starts to take shape and as a team, we have to keep racing hard all the way to the end of the year.”

Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I call Atlanta home, and I’ve been coming to watch this race for as long as I can remember. It’s always been a dream of mine to one day compete in this great race, and ultimately win it! Our team has some great momentum going right now and it couldn’t be happening at a better time. There are only three races left in the championship, and two of those are endurance rounds, which is where our Wright Motorsports team really shines. I’m also super pumped to have Jan Heylen back with us for these last couple of endurance races. I think we‘ve got the people and the tools in place to battle for the top spot on the podium this weekend and be right there in contention for the championship at season’s end.”

Steve Bortolotti, Team Manager, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I couldn’t be more excited to return to the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship this weekend for Motul Petit Le Mans. We had a solid test at CTMP on Saturday and are looking forward to a strong showing for Motul, Pfaff and Porsche at this historic event. Our team has been keeping busy within Canada since putting our IMSA program on hold in March, but we are thrilled to see the Motul Plaid Porsche back in action on one of North America’s best road courses at Road Atlanta.”

Lars Kern, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It’s just amazing to be back after such a long break. It has been a strange thing for me to be following IMSA and not see our car. I have been cheering for the GTLM factory guys and the Wright team but it is great to be back. We have some unfinished business after Daytona, so we are all really looking forward to going back racing in the U.S. Last year we finished third and we want to put the Pfaff car back on the podium. The Nürburgring 24 is just around the corner for Dennis and myself. Conditions have been super cold and rainy [in Germany]. It’s going to be great to race in Atlanta without skiing underwear! I am looking forward to a great weekend.”

Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I can't wait to get back to racing in IMSA again. After a long break it will be great seeing everyone at Pfaff Motorsport – it's been a long time coming, but I'm super confident about the weekend and stoked to work with the team again. I’m looking forward to exploring a new track and getting back to speed. The guys have put a huge effort into making this race happen, so from the drivers’ perspective we want to give it 110% and go for the win.”

Zach Robichon, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“To say we're excited to be back would be an understatement. I’ve been looking forward to getting our Pfaff Porsche back on track since January! It will be a difficult task having missed so many races, but the team was able to shake the rust off in a short and positive test at CTMP last week. I’m sure this will help everyone and myself get back up to speed quickly after our time away from the championship."

911 GT3 Cup, Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, Monza Grand Prix circuit, 2020, Porsche AG

Job: Well Done. Sebastian Job Crowned Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Champ.

Sebastian Job has won the 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup championship. At the last race of the season on the simulated Monza Grand Prix circuit, the British sim driver from the Red Bull Racing Esport team took the championship trophy from the defending champion Joshua Rogers of the VRS Coanda Simsport program. The Australian had to settle for second-place in the virtual Porsche one-make series. Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup is run on the iRacing simulation platform with the digital version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

“It’ll take a while before I realize that I’ve won the title. I would never have thought it possible when I started sim racing. I’m lost for words." Sebastian Job

Heading into the season finale, Rogers still had a chance to wrest the crown from Jobs. In the qualifying, he underlined his ambitions and turned the fastest lap for the eighth time this year. His advantage over Job, however, was only four-thousandths of a second. Due to the reverse starting order in the sprint race, as stipulated by the regulations, the two rivals for the title stated the race from positions seven and eight. Jamie Fluke (Great Britain) spearheaded the field from pole position, with Spain’s Alejandro Sánchez and the British Red Bull Racing Esport driver Graham Carroll lining up behind him. In the first lap, Job and Roger treated viewers to some inspired duels. A few minutes later, the championship title was decided when a collision between two drivers in front of the title aspirants resulted in the cars touching. Job fell back to eleventh-place, with Rogers thrown down the field to 25th. Although the championship was in the bag, Job launched a breathtaking pursuit race and was ultimately rewarded with fifth-place. With Rogers finishing in 24th-positon, this result was enough for the British sim racer to claim the title after the sprint race. At the front of the pack, Carroll fended off Fluke, Sánchez and the Norwegian Tommy Östgaard to score his second win of the season.

911 GT3 Cup, Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, Monza Grand Prix circuit, 2020, Porsche AG

The streak of bad luck followed Joshua Rogers into the main event. The Australian spun while braking for the second chicane and fell back to 28th-place. At the lead, Carroll outpaced Fluke and Östgaard at the start. However, it took only two laps for Job to plough from fifth and chase down the leaders. In the fight for victory, Östgaard threw caution to the wind and squeezed past Job with an impressive out braking maneuver. The newly crowned champion fell back to sixth-place but soon fought his way back into the leading pack. After a gripping wheel-to-wheel battle with Östgaard, Carroll once again took the winner’s trophy. Behind him, the Norwegian missed the braking point for the first chicane. He was handed a slow-down penalty, which relegated him to third-place behind Job. Recovering from his early mishap, Joshua Rogers made up 19 positions to take the flag in fifth-place.

In 2021, the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup heads into its third season, with the first round scheduled to be run on January 9 at the virtual Interlagos Grand Prix circuit in Brazil. The racing calendar is made up of ten rounds running through late April run on the iRacing simulation platform and contested at venues such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, the Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans and the Formula 1 street circuit of Montréal.

Marco Ujhasi, Manager Esports Porsche Motorsport.
“Congratulations to Sebastian Job on his well-deserved title victory. He was super-fast over the entire season and impressed with his incredible consistency. The level of driving skill in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup was extremely high this year. This makes us all the more excited about next season, which begins in early January. My special thanks to iRacing and all of our partners for their great support.”

Sebastian Job, Red Bull Racing Esports.
“It’ll take a while before I realize that I’ve won the title. I would never have thought it possible when I started sim racing. I’m lost for words. It was fantastic to cross the finish line with my teammate Graham Carroll. Now I can’t wait for the next season, which will start soon.”

Joshua Rogers, VRS Coanda Simsport.
“First of all, congratulations to Seb Job, he really deserves the title. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed, but at the same time, I’m satisfied. The sprint race didn’t go as I’d planned. In the main race, I started from 24th and finished on fifth – that was a fun way to conclude the season.”

2021 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Schedule.

January 9 – Brazil: Interlagos (10/20 laps)
January 16 – Spain: Barcelona (9/18 laps)
January 30 – Germany: Hockenheimring (9/18 laps)
February 06 – Great Britain: Silverstone GP circuit (7/14 laps)
February 20 – USA: Road Atlanta (10/20 laps)
February 27 – Canada: Montreal (10/20 laps)
March 13 – Belgium: Spa-Francorchamps (6/12 laps)
March 27 – Germany: Nürburgring Nordschleife, 24h version (3/4 laps)
April 10 – France: Le Mans (3/6 laps)
April 24 – Italy: Monza (7/14 laps)

(Brackets indicate the number of laps for sprint and main race).

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