Drivers Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) won the six-hour race in the Texan capital. It was the fifth of eight rounds of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship. The sister car of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (FR) and Marc Lieb (DE) was leading for a long time, but after a technical problem the car only finished fifth in its class.
Austin brought the fourth victory in total for the Porsche 919 Hybrid after its maiden win at Interlagos in 2014 and Le Mans and Nürburgring in 2015. With its success in the heat of the night at the Circuit of the Americas, Porsche extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings in the World Championship with 220 points ahead of Audi (184).
On the 5.513 kilometre long demanding Formula One track Mark Webber (car number 17) had taken the lead from his team mate and pole setter Neel Jani (car number 18) right after the start. The number 17 car stayed in the lead for the first 116 of the 185 race laps until it lost it to the sister car due to a 60 second stop and go penalty. The number 18 car was able to defend the lead until 35 minutes before the chequered flag. A problem with the 12 volt onboard circuit caused a long pit stop. Nevertheless a one-two in qualifying, the fastest race lap (1:47.436 minutes by Brendon Hartley on lap 118) and another win again proved the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s potential.
Mark Webber starts from P2 and overtakes Neel Jani in turn one. After 28 laps the Australian pits for the first time and hands over the car to Brendon Hartley. After 57 laps Webber takes over again. When he comes in for his second pit stop after 88 laps, he overshoots the spot in the pit lane and needs to be pushed back.
Timo Bernhard jumps in for a double stint and continues leading. After 116 laps he has to take a 60 second stop and go penalty and continues in second position behind the sister car. After 119 laps Timo comes in for the regular pit stop and stays in the car. After 148 laps Brendon takes over again. After a final splash and dash on lap 171 he brings the winning car home.
Pole setter Neel Jani drops back to second after Mark Webber’s attack. After 27 laps he hands over to Marc Lieb, who then gives the car to Romain Dumas after 56 laps. The Frenchman loses some time during a “Full Course Yellow” due to a slow car in front of him. With a gap of half a minute to the leading sister car, Dumas hands over the car to Jani after 86 laps.
While the other car takes its stop and go penalty, the Swiss takes the lead. He refuels on lap 118. At the end of lap 148 Dumas jumps in again. After 167 laps the leading car is called into the pits because of an electric problem. It was only able to be sent out on the track again for the final lap of the race.
Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member Research and Development: “It was an almost perfect race. Certainly we have lost out on a chance of a one-two today, but we are still happy to have won this race.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “This was a well deserved race win. For almost the entire distance we were defending a one-two lead. To have the problem with the second car in the final hour is bitter, but we have to cope with it and take it as another new experience for our young team. We will soon travel to Fuji and try to get both Porsches on the podium again to further extend our position in the championship.”
With a double victory on the Circuit of the Americas at Austin, the Porsche Team Manthey headed into the second half of the 2015 Sports Car World Championship WEC (World Endurance Championship). On the Formula 1 course just outside the state capital of Texas, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Michael Christensen (Denmark), the recent winners of the Nürburgring round, won the strongly-represented GTE-Pro class at the wheel of their Porsche 911 RSR.
The winning racer from Weissach mounted with the distinctive rear engine is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car and, since its race debut in 2013, has set new benchmarks, most notably in the energy-efficient areas of lightweight design and aerodynamics. In the second 911 RSR entry, Frenchmen Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet crossed the finish line behind their teammates in second, rounding off another perfect one-two of the season for the Porsche Manthey squad after the Nürburgring.
The six-hour race on the 5.513-kilometre Grand Prix circuit, with its spectacular layout with many corners linking, rapidly changing gradients, and fast passages, got underway at 17.00 hours on Saturday (local time Texas). And still, competitors faced high summer temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius. However, the Porsche pilots were not at all ruffled by this additional stress.
After three laps, Frédéric Makowiecki took the lead of the GT field in the #92 911 RSR, while his teammate Patrick Pilet was still recovering from the rigors of the United SportsCar Championship, which he had contested in the midday heat for Porsche North America. At the wheel of the second 911 RSR (#91), starting driver Richard Lietz, who took over the lead of the World Endurance Cup for GT pilots after his Nürburgring win, stuck to the bumper of his leading team colleague.
The pair of 911 RSR spearheaded the GTE-Pro class field over the entire six-hour distance, swapping positions several times. The convincing and reliable performance of the nine-elevens, which have won four straight races in the North American United SportsCar Championship so far this season, was made possible by the immaculate performance of the drivers, their pit crews and the perfect race strategy of Porsche Team Manthey.
Thanks to his victory, Richard Lietz further extended his lead in the World Endurance Cup for GT Pilots. In the team classification, Porsche Team Manthey now ranks first. Amongst the manufacturers, Porsche now sits in second place with three remaining races in Fuji/Japan, Shanghai/China and Manama/Bahrain.
In the GTE-Am class, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) achieved second after a stunning chase through the field in the 911 RSR fielded by Abu Dhabi Proton Racing with Christian Ried (Germany) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi). This marks the best result so far this season for the Porsche customer squad. Earl Bamber, the winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Porsche 919 Hybrid in June, had also contested the United SportsCar Championship earlier in the day.
Matthias Müller, President and Chief Executive Officer at Porsche AG: “A stunning success. Basically, this was almost like a Weissach championship. For the entire six hours, the two 911 RSR virtually ran nose to tail and easily kept the competition at bay. It doesn’t get any better.”
The sixth of eight rounds of the Sports Car World Championship WEC is contested on 11 October in Fuji/Japan.
1. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (DE/NZ/AU), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 185 laps
2. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/DE/FR), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1:06.840 min
3. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BR/FR/GB), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1 lap
4. Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (GB/CH/JP), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 2 laps
12. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (FR/CH/DE), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 17 laps
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), after 5 of 8 rounds,
1. Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (DE/FR/CH), Audi, 113
2. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (DE/NZ/AU), Porsche 103
3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche, 77.5
4. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BR/FR/GB), Audi, 67
4. Tandy (GB), Porsche & Oreca, 66
5. Bamber/Hülkenberg (NZ/DE), Porsche, 58
1. Porsche 220
2. Audi 184
3. Toyota, 101
1. Lietz/Christensen (A/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 162 laps
2. Pilet/Makowiecki (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 162
3. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 162
4. MacDowall/Stanaway/Rees (GB/NZ/BRA), Aston Martin, 161
5. Sörensen/Nygaard (DK/DK), Aston Martin, 160
6. Turner/Adam (GB/GB), Aston Martin, 160
7. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 160
1. Bertolini/Shaytar/Basov (I/RUS/RUS), Ferrari F458 Italia, 159 laps
2. Ried/Bamber/Al Qubaisi (D/NZ/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, 159
3. Perrodo/Collard/Aguas (F/F/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, 158
4. Dempsey/Long/Seefried (USA/USA/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 158
5. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin, 158
6. Castellacci/Goethe/Hall (I/D/GB), Aston Martin, 158
7. Roda/Ruberti/Poulsen (I/I/DK), Chevrolet Corvette, 171
Points’ standings GTE-Pro after 5 of 8 races, manufacturers
1. Ferrari, 187 points
2. Porsche, 185
3. Aston Martin, 129