Strong performance of the Porsche 911 RSR in Canada goes unrewarded

Porsche concluded round six of the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Bowmanville/Canada on positions four and six after a long time in the lead.


With the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, the duo Patrick Pilet from France and Britain’s Nick Tandy narrowly missed out on a podium finish in fourth place. During Saturday’s qualifying, Tandy set a new lap record for GTLM vehicles in the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and posted pole position. Sharing driving duties in the sister car was the current winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium, and New Zealander Earl Bamber. Both Porsche 911 RSR racers were at times looking good for a one-two finish, but were thwarted by many safety car phases and bad luck with the strategy. After round six of the season, Porsche ranks third in the manufacturers’ classification of the GTLM class.

Fans at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the outskirts of Toronto were treated to a gripping and turbulent race with six safety car phases. Under clear blue skies and with a temperature of 27-degrees Celsius, both Porsche 911 RSR got off the line well in the GTLM class. Tandy took up the race from pole position, with Vanthoor making up one position to manoeuvre the #912 into third place. In the first hour of racing the safety car had to be deployed three times. Both Porsche racers used the first safety car phase for perfect pit stops and by the third safety car phase had moved into the lead. The 911 RSR race cars then came in for their second pit stop and driver change. Tandy handed the car off to Pilet, with Bamber replacing Vanthoor at the wheel. Unfortunately a jam in the pit lane due to many cars pitting resulted in both cars losing positions. In addition, technical problems with the starter of the number 912 car cost even more time. Pilet and Bamber rejoined the race in positions four and eight. Just a few laps after the pit stop, Bamber’s 911 RSR suffered a puncture and had to return to the pits.

In the GTD class, Wright Motorsports fielded two 911 GT3 R

Three more safety car phases followed over the remainder of the race. Shortly before the flag, Pilet and Bamber had fought their way up to positions two and six. In the battle for the lead, Pilet was blocked while attempting to lap a slower car, and two opponents immediately grabbed their chance to get past the Frenchman.

In the GTD class, Wright Motorsports fielded two 911 GT3 R, with Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (DK) and Patrick Long (USA) finishing ninth. Michael Schein (USA) and Wolf Henzler from Germany concluded the race in Canada just one place behind.

Comments on the race

Steffen Höllwarth, Porsche Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “This result is obviously very disappointing. We had the fastest car in the field and initially had control of the race. Our rivals took a high risk strategy in the pits and didn’t fully refuel their vehicles so that they could make up positions. On top of that, a puncture threw our #912 car back. We knew that under normal circumstances we would have had the shortest pit time at the last stop. Unfortunately our rivals were then luckier than us during the subsequent safety car phases, so that our strategy today didn’t work for us.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I’m a bit disappointed because things were looking good for us at the beginning of the race. Nick even managed to eke out an advantage. The car was very fast and it felt really good. Unfortunately our plan didn’t pan out today. We now have to analyse exactly what happened and learn from it. Next up is Lime Rock, a racetrack that very much suits our 911. Since the prototypes won’t be racing there, we will be aiming for overall victory.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “When you have such a well setup car and you start from pole position, fourth place is naturally extremely disappointing. Ford had a lot of luck with the race strategy. Because we were running on tyres with the highest wear, we were virtually unable to attack anymore after the restart.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “I’m disappointed with the result, of course, especially since we were on first and second at times. Unfortunately we had a technical problem during the pit stop and then a puncture cost us additional time. My stint was actually very good and I managed to overtake several cars. We then tried everything but it just wasn’t possible to get ahead. Unfortunately our strategy didn’t work.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Laurens drove a great first stint. The first pit stop went perfectly. At one point we were in third place. Unfortunately a technical problem and puncture relegated us back to eighth place. I fought hard and did everything to conserve fuel, but ultimately we couldn’t gain any more ground.”

Race result

GTLM class
1. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 112 laps
2. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 112 laps
3. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 112 laps
4. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
5. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 112 laps
6. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
7. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 112 laps
8. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 61 laps

GTD class
1. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 107 laps
2. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC F GT3, 107 laps
3. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Audi R8 LMS GT3, 107 laps
9. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 106 laps
10. Schein/Henzler (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 73 laps

The full results can be found here.


Nick Tandy from Great Britain turned the fastest lap in 1:13.517 minutes during the short 15-minute qualifying session on the 3.957-kilometre Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. One year ago, Dirk Werner from Germany secured the maiden pole position on this racetrack for the new Porsche 911 RSR. For the race on Sunday, Tandy shares the cockpit of the 510 hp racer from Weissach with Frenchman Patrick Pilet.

In clear blue skies and a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor turned the fourth quickest qualifying time with the #912 sister car. His teammate for the race on the ultrafast and demanding circuit close to Toronto is Earl Bamber from New Zealand. Pilet and Tandy scored the last IMSA win for Porsche in Canada with the 911 RSR in 2015. In the GTLM class, in which four automobile manufacturers fight for prestige and points, Porsche ranks second in the manufacturers classification with two wins from five races.

In the GTD class, two Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars are fielded by Wright Motorsports. The 500 hp race car with the starting number 16 takes up the race from position five, with the number 58 contender tackling the 2:40-hour race from position eight.

Qualifying result

GTLM class
1. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:13.517 minutes
2. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, + 0.314 seconds 

3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, + 0.417 seconds

4. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.438 seconds
5. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, + 0.563 seconds
6. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, + 0.583 seconds
7. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, + 0.696 seconds

8. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.711 seconds

GTD class
1. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson (GB/DK), Lexus RC F GT3, 1:15.581 minutes
2. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC F GT3, + 0.439 seconds
3. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, + 0.805 seconds
5. Schein/Henzler (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.964 seconds
8. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.306 seconds


One highlight follows the other in the IMSA SportsCar Championship: Just a week after the six-hour classic at Watkins Glen, North America’s premier sports car race series makes its traditional detour over the border for Canada’s one and only round of the season contested on 8 July at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.  The Porsche GT Team fields two 911 RSR in the GTLM class on the very fast and demanding course close to Bowmanville. This category, in which four automobile manufacturers compete, is known to be particularly tough and is packed with suspense from start to finish. Porsche’s customer team Wright Motorsports runs two 911 GT3 R racers in the GTD class.

The race

The storied 3.957 kilometre circuit at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is Canada’s oldest racetrack. The first sports car race on the former Mosport International Raceway was contested in 1961 with victory claimed by Stirling Moss. From 1967 to 1977, the Canadian Formula 1 Grands Prix were held on this dauntingly fast racetrack, located two hours by car from Toronto. Porsche’s most recent victory here was scored in 2015 by Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy with the 911 RSR.

The Porsche drivers

Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), the winners of the Sebring 12-hour race, share the cockpit of the #911 racer. Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealsnd) drive the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team in the GTLM class. These two won the Mid-Ohio race in the USA recently. In the GTD class, the Porsche customer team Wright Motorsports compete with two 911 GT3 R. Sharing driving duties in the #58 car is the works driver Patrick Long (USA) and Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (Denmark), with the #16 vehicle manned by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Michael Schein (USA).

The Porsche vehicles

For the second race season, the 911 RSR was optimised primarily in the setup. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). The particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing provide strong downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. The customer sport racer was designed for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. For 2018, Porsche provides its customer teams with an evo-kit for the 911 GT3 R.


Round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship takes place on 21 July at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville/USA.

IMSA SportsCar Championship

The IMSA SportsCar Championship, a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in three different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona) and P (Prototype). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.

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