With this success at the “Brickyard”, Porsche has taken the lead in the manufacturers’ championship. The two Porsche 963 run by the customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition finished the penultimate race of the year in eighth and ninth positions respectively.
After the strong qualifying performance on Saturday which resulted in both cars locking out the front grid row, Porsche Penske Motorsport lived up to its role as the favourite in Indianapolis on race day. However, on the way to the Porsche 963's maiden one-two achievement, the team and drivers had to overcome several major hurdles. Fans were treated to some gripping race action right from the start: Mathieu Jaminet squeezed past polesitter Matt Campbell in the sister car while braking for the first corner. This order remained unchanged until the first pit stop after about 35 minutes. During a yellow phase, both Porsche 963 came into the pits for a service before lining up at the front behind the safety car.
A little later, the stewards made a surprising decision: Because Felipe Nasr and Nick Tandy as the drivers of the two Porsche 963 had not adhered to the requirements during the so-called “class split” (sorting of vehicle classes during a safety car phase), the race directors issued a directive for the third-placed Cadillac to move to the top – a puzzling decision that caused many onlookers to shake their heads, but one that ultimately did not change the race result.
At the restart, Nasr initially pushed past his brand colleague Tandy and then set his sights on the leading car. For almost 30 minutes, the No. 7 vehicle attacked on almost every lap and put the leader under immense pressure. With success: With 63 minutes remaining on the clock, a minor driving error opened the door for both Porsche 963 to overtake. After the last pit stop, Nasr made a small error at the wheel of the leading hybrid prototype. On cold tyres, the Brazilian slid onto the grass and lost critical seconds, which put the sister car in the lead. Safely at the front, Tandy brought home a one-two result for Porsche Penske Motorsport.
“What a perfect day for Porsche, our squad, the development team and our partners,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “The performance of our two Porsche 963 was fascinating. We witnessed some terrific motor racing at the highest level and the first one-two success for Porsche Penske Motorsport. And it couldn’t have come at a better time – before the season finale at Road Atlanta, Porsche has taken the lead in the manufacturers’ standings. Our title chances in the team and driver championships are also intact. Bring on the season finale – we’re ready!”
“First and second is the best result imaginable,” says Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “To be able to experience such a success in Indianapolis at Roger Penske’s home race with him in the pits is something very special. The race was virtually perfect for us. We briefly lost ground during the safety car phase, but countered this again on the track. We’re now leading in the manufacturers’ championship, and, in third place, we still have good chances of clinching the team and drivers’ championship. That was a wonderful weekend. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this.”
For the Porsche customer teams in the top GTP class, the race did not yield the hoped-for results. JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Porsche 963 finished the race in eighth place, with the identical car from Proton Competition in ninth.
GTD classes: Pfaff Motorsport loses winning chance at the start
In the GTD Pro category, the Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by Pfaff Motorsports headed into the race from pole position. However, the chances of another class victory were lost a few seconds after the start. Shortly before the start, the Austrian Klaus Bachler switched lines at the wheel of the No. 9 vehicle. For this rule violation, the race director imposed a drive-through penalty and Bachler was unable to recoup the time lost. The Austrian and his French teammate Patrick Pilet finished the “Battle on the Bricks” in fourth place. In the GTD class, the customer cars fielded by Wright Motorsports, AO Racing and Kellymoss with Riley finished in the midfield.
In the manufacturers' standings, Porsche heads to the final round of the season next month with an eight-point lead at the top. Tandy/Jaminet rank third place in the drivers’ championship just five points shy of the leaders. Round eleven of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on 14 October at Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. The ten-hour season finale is called “Petit Le Mans”.
Drivers’ comments on the race
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “As expected, the start was close and spectacular. I was trapped between our sister car and the Cadillac. I thought about what the best solution might be in this situation and I decided to brake a little earlier. That was exactly the right course of action. I took the corner well, the others didn't. During my stint, I managed to maintain the lead. At one point things got a little exciting, but ultimately, we finished in first and second. It’s a banner day for Porsche and the entire team.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 963 #6): “The event in Indianapolis is an absolute highlight for the team and the entire Penske group of companies. To achieve a double victory at this venue, of all places, is simply unparalleled. The fact that we’re now leading the manufacturers' championship is equally as impressive. Thanks to our success, we still have realistic chances of winning the drivers’ championship title. I’m absolutely thrilled with this win – it was very emotional.”
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “A double success at the home race is of course an ideal result. I managed to manoeuvre our car into the lead, but later lost this position during the pit stop. In the last stint, I was no longer able to really attack and had to settle for second place. It was a lot of fun lapping the slower traffic. There was a lot of action out there – great for the spectators.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Porsche 963 #5): “We experienced a difficult weekend – from the first practice session to the finish line. During the race, an Acura shunted me onto the grass, which was completely incomprehensible and stupid. That cost me two positions. I’ve known the guy driving the car for a very long time. I’ll see you in Atlanta!”
Harry Tincknell (Porsche 963 #59): “I’m very proud of everyone in our team. After the two works cars, we had the third fastest vehicle in the competition. Our pace was impressive. During the race, the aim was to negotiate our way safely through the huge field. I love that! Driving in heavy traffic is exactly what makes long-distance racing so fascinating for me. Unfortunately, a drive-through penalty set us back by around 45 seconds and as a result, we crossed the finish line in ninth place. I’m already looking forward to the ‘Petit Le Mans’.”
1. Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 113 laps
2. Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 113 laps
3. De Phillippi/Yelloly (USA/UK), BMW #25, 113 laps
8. Rockenfeller/van der Helm (D/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 113 laps
9. Bruni/Tincknell (I/UK), Porsche 963 #59, 113 laps
GTD Pro class:
1. Gounon/Juncadella (F/E), Mercedes-AMG #79, 104 laps
2. Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 104 laps
3. Hawksworth/Barnicoat (UK/UK), Lexus #14, 104 laps
4. Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 104 laps
1. Ward/Ellis (USA/D), Mercedes-AMG #57, 104 laps
2. Goikhberg/Spinelli (CDN/I), Lamborghini #78, 104 laps
3. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), BMW #1, 104 laps
6. Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 104 laps
8. Brule/Udell (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 104 laps
10. Hyett/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 104 laps
11. Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 103 laps
Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two factory-run Porsche 963 will tackle the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season from the front grid row. Australian works driver Matt Campbell qualified on pole position at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his French colleague Mathieu Jaminet set the second quickest time. Klaus Bachler was successful in the GTD Pro class, with the Austrian clinching pole position at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Pfaff Motorsports.
Porsche Penske Motorsport headed into the qualifying session for round ten of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with high expectations. Driving the No. 7 Porsche 963, Matt Campbell set the fastest times in both free practices on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. In the 20-minute qualifying session, the Australian lived up to his role as a hot favourite, with Campbell turning a blistering pole-setting lap in 1:13.672 minutes. In the No. 6 car, Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet claimed the second grid spot in the identical hybrid prototype from Weissach.
Under cloudy skies and in temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius, the works team’s two Porsche 963 waited in the pit lane for two minutes at the start of the session. Campbell and Jaminet then patiently warmed up the tyres to attack in the second half of qualifying. The Australian promptly topped the leaderboard and improved his lap time again on his second attempt. With four minutes remaining, Jaminet was in third, then advanced to second position – scoring a perfect result for Porsche Penske Motorsport.
“For the second time this season, we locked out the top two grid positions. That makes me really proud,” says Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “It’s obvious that the interaction of the team is getting better and better. This involves not only the crew in the IMSA series but also the team in the FIA WEC. The drivers also put in perfect drives. On Friday we still had some issues to work on, which we did successfully – and the result reflects this. We’re excited for the race. First of all, many thanks to everyone in Weissach, in Mooresville and to all the partners who played their part in today’s success.”
“The team did a perfect job. We were very strong in practice and underlined this in qualifying,” says Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “We have perfectly implemented the insights that our team gained at the FIA WEC race in Fuji. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s global programme with its involvement in the World Championship and IMSA series is working well. Tomorrow we want to score maximum points and reduce the gap in the driver, team and manufacturer standings so that we can boost our championship chances. We have the speed, now need to call it up on Sunday.”
The two Porsche 963 campaigned by the Proton Competition and JDC-Miller MotorSports teams will tackle the penultimate race of the season from the back of the GTP grid. Works driver GIanmaria Bruni from Italy clocked strong lap times in the first half of the session at the wheel of the No. 59 car run by the German customer team Proton Competition but was ultimately unable to make any decisive improvements and finished in ninth place. The 19-year-old Dutchman Tijmen van der Helm qualified tenth in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports car.
GTD classes: Porsche 911 GT3 R from Pfaff Motorsports on pole position
In the GTD Pro category, the Canadian team Pfaff Motorsports secured its second pole position this season. Facing heavy traffic in the 22-strong field of GT cars, Klaus Bachler was the fastest driver in his class with a time of 1:23.140 minutes. The Austrian shares the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R with the experienced Frenchman Patrick Pilet. In the GTD class, the identical nine-elevens campaigned by the customer teams Kelly-Moss with Riley, Wright Motorsports and AO Racing will head into the race from positions nine, ten, 13 and 16 respectively.
Round ten of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Indianapolis starts on Sunday, 17 September at 1:10 pm local time (7:10 pm CEST). Outside the USA and Canada, the 2:40-hour race can be viewed via a free live stream on imsa.tv.
Drivers’ qualifying quotes
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “This pole position means a lot to the team because Penske owns the track. Everything ran perfectly for us in the free practice sessions and qualifying. Still, I expect race day will be hard work. It’s a very short track and there are a lot of cars in five different classes. It’ll definitely be hectic, very tight and spectacular. We need to be careful and not risk collisions. If we can stay out of trouble, then we should be good for a decent result.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “Pole for the sister car, second place for us – a brilliant result. I’m happy because, at the beginning of the weekend, we were far away from the leaders with our No. 6 car. The team did an excellent job and made us significantly faster compared to Friday. Our car runs much better now. Based on this, second place was a positive surprise. We head into the race from an ideal starting position. Hopefully, we can turn that into a top result.”
Tijmen van der Helm (Porsche 963 #5): “We’d have preferred to secure a grid position further up the field, but unfortunately that didn’t work out. Still, we made further progress with the car. We’re constantly learning. Let’s hope we manage to continue this trend in the race and close the gap to the competition. I’m pretty pleased with my drives, although there is still some room for improvement. I’m looking forward to the race and am excited to see what will happen on Sunday.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #59): “That was an interesting qualifying. I actually expected we’d be a little quicker, but we had some minor problems with our car during qualifying. First, I had to start the car again, then I was too fast in pitlane and was called in for a drive-through penalty. During my laps I also had to change a lot of settings – so I had my hands full. Let’s see what we can do in the race. In any case, it’s a great result for Porsche.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “What a great qualifying! Starting from pole position on a circuit like Indianapolis is of course great for the start of the spectacle on Sunday. I expect a very tough race. We’ll encounter more than 20 GT cars on the track, plus vehicles from the GTP, LMP2 and LMP3 classes – a lot can happen. Our goal is clear: We want to turn our pole position into a victory. Our team is strong, the car handles beautifully. All the ingredients are there to be successful.”
1. Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 1:13.672 minutes
2. Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 1:13.824 minutes
3. Blomqvist/Braun (UK/USA), Acura #60, 1:13.864 minutes
9. Bruni/Tincknell (I/UK), Porsche 963 #59, 1:14.306 minutes
10. Rockenfeller/van der Helm (D/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 1:14.632 minutes
GTD Pro class:
1. Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 1:23.140 minutes
2. Gounon/Juncadella (F/E), Mercedes-AMG #79, 1:23.290 minutes
3. Hawksworth/Barnicoat (UK/UK), Lexus #14, 1:23.345 minutes
1. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), BMW #1, 1:23.075 minutes
2. Skeen/Grenier (USA/CDN), Mercedes-AMG #32, 1:23.424 minutes
3. Gallagher/Foley (USA/USA), BMW #96, 1:23.657 minutes
9. Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 1:24.210 minutes
10. Hyett/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 1:24.246 minutes
13. Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 1:24.663 minutes
16. Brule/Udell (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 1:25.957 minutes
Full results: imsa.alkamelsystems.com
Porsche Penske Motorsport is eager to improve its championship chances at the tenth and penultimate round of this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Next weekend, the North American sports car racing series will celebrate its premiere at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The works team runs two Porsche 963 in a bid for overall victory in the top GTP class. The customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition field a pair of identical hybrid prototypes, with four partner teams campaigning a total of five Porsche 911 GT3 R in the two GT classes.
Porsche Penske Motorsport tested extensively in preparation for the 2:40-hour race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Works drivers Nick Tandy from the UK, Mathieu Jaminet from France, Matt Campbell from Australia and Brazilian Felipe Nasr completed a total of 485 laps on the 3.925-kilometre circuit in the two Porsche 963 at the end of July – another test outing followed in mid-August. After these tests, the factory squad heads to the penultimate race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next Sunday (17 September) well prepared. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s aim for round ten is to close the gap to the leaders in the championship. The fight for the title will go down to the wire at the finale at Road Atlanta (“Petit Le Mans”) in mid-October.
“The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is now entering its critical phase,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “We have a chance to win the championship in both the team and driver standings. We want to earn maximum points in the upcoming race and position ourselves well for the big finale at Road Atlanta. Our team has prepared meticulously for the upcoming challenges in Indianapolis during tests and in the simulator. I’m confident that our works cars and the two customer-run Porsche 963 will fight among the frontrunners. I also hope that our partner teams will be competitive in the two GT classes.”
“The track layout in Indianapolis poses a major challenge with its fast oval sections and the slow, very twisty infield,” says Urs Kuratle. The Head of Factory Motorsport LMDh adds: “Our test drives at the legendary ‘Brickyard’ were successful. We have collected important data and gained many insights that will help us find the optimal setup for the cars. Our goal is clear: We want to be at the front and collect as many points as possible so that we have a good chance of winning the manufacturer, team and driver titles at the big finale at Road Atlanta.”
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known as one of most the iconic racetracks around the world. The history of this track is second-to-none, and Team Penske’s IndyCar record of 19 Indianapolis 500 wins adds to that history,” comments Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “The road course circuit at Indy provides a perfect opportunity to showcase the speed and technology of our Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s, and compete for a chance to add our name to the record books. We’ve had a couple of tests here, and hope to be up to speed on this unique track layout which features long straights and slow-speed technical corners. With only two races remaining in the IMSA season it is important to come out of Indy with a good finish for our team and to keep moving one step closer to the top of the championships that are still in play for 2023.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the US state of Indiana is one of the world’s oldest permanent racetracks. The facility – nicknamed the “Brickyard” due to the paved start-finish line – was built in 1909 as a four-kilometre (2.5-mile) oval track. The famous Indy 500 is contested every year in the arena, which can seat almost 260,000 spectators and is the highlight of every IndyCar season. At the end of May this year, the American Penske driver Josef Newgarden added his name to the list of winners of the classic.
For its Indianapolis debut, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races on the 3.925-kilometre Grand Prix Road Course under the title “Battle on the Bricks”. This combination of long straights, fast oval passages and tight infield features 14 turns. From 2000 to 2007, Formula 1 made guest appearances on a similar layout. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been owned by the Penske Entertainment Group since 2020 and is therefore part of Roger Penske’s corporate empire.
The works cars
This year’s permanent crew will share the cockpits of the two Porsche 963 fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport. Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet share driving duties in the No. 6 entry. In April, the duo clinched the first victory for Porsche’s new LMDh prototype in Long Beach. It currently ranks fourth in the championship. Their brand colleagues Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr lie in seventh place. In their No. 7 car, they recently won the IMSA race at Road America. Porsche ranks third in the manufacturers’ championship.
The customer teams
In the top GTP class, the two customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition each tackle the 160-minute race with one Porsche 963. Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm from the Netherlands helm the No. 5 car fielded by the US team. Proton Competition’s No. 59 vehicle will be driven by Porsche works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Englishman Harry Tincknell.
Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R contests the GTD Pro category. The Canadian customer team’s No. 9 entry is driven by the Austrian Klaus Bachler and Patrick Pilet from France. The duo clinched class victory in Sebring in March with works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium. In the GTD class, three additional customers will field a total of four GT3 vehicles from Weissach.
Drivers’ comments before the race
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “Since Watkins Glen, we’ve been struggling with our number 6 crew. We’ve lost ground in the championship and we urgently need to reverse this downward trend. Now, we’re racing in Indianapolis for the first time. We’ve done two tests there and the car felt really good. Hopefully, our Porsche 963 will match the pace of the frontrunners. It would be important for Nick and me to notch up another success – for us and the whole team. A win would significantly improve our chances in the title fight and really lift the spirits before the season finale.”
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “It’s simply great that IMSA has added a race in Indianapolis to the calendar. For the first time, the fast GTP prototypes can show what they are capable of there – it’ll be spectacular. The track belongs to Roger Penske’s group of companies, so it’s really ‘Captain’s Country’. It would be perfect if we could give him, the team and everyone at Porsche another victory. The last time we won was at Road America. We’d like to repeat such a triumph and preferably finish on the podium with both Porsche 963.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Porsche 963 #5): “The track is steeped in rich tradition and history; I think the setting is just great. A few weeks ago, I competed there in NASCAR. Now I get to refamiliarise myself with the Porsche 963. That won’t be a problem at all. We took part in the official IMSA test with our car. That should help us to start the weekend with a good setup. We were fast at the previous round at Road America. I hope we can repeat this performance on the demanding and very technical track in Indianapolis.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #59): “I know the Indianapolis circuit. I was there with Formula 1 in 2004, but that was a very long time ago. We drove a different track layout then so everything is new for me this year. I’m very eager to drive the Porsche 963 on this legendary track. It’s sure to be a lot of fun. At the same time, Harry and I and our team are facing a big challenge.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “I’ve been to so many races in America, but never to Indianapolis. It’s a legendary venue with a great history. I’m really looking forward to racing there at last. First of all, it’ll be about exploring the track. On paper, it looks like the course isn’t too difficult to learn, but it certainly has its quirks. Let’s see how our Porsche 911 GT3 R fares on this layout with its long straights. In any case, we want to get back on the top step of the podium as soon as possible.”
Overview of cars and drivers
GTP class (Porsche 963):
JDC-Miller MotorSports #5: Mike Rockenfeller (D) / Tijmen van der Helm (NL)
Porsche Penske Motorsport #6: Mathieu Jaminet (F) / Nick Tandy (UK)
Porsche Penske Motorsport #7: Matt Campbell (AUS) / Felipe Nasr (BR)
Proton Competition #59: Gianmaria Bruni (I) / Harry Tincknell (UK)
GTD-Pro class (Porsche 911 GT3 R):
Pfaff Motorsports #9: Klaus Bachler (A) / Patrick Pilet (F)
GTD class (Porsche 911 GT3 R):
Wright Motorsports #77: Alan Brynjolfsson (USA) / Trent Hindman (USA)
AO Racing #80: PJ Hyett (USA) / Sebastian Priaulx (UK)
Kellymoss with Riley #91: Alan Metni (USA) / Kay van Berlo (NL)
Kellymoss with Riley #92: David Brule (USA) / Alec Udell (USA)
The schedule (local time, CEST -6 hours)
Friday, 15 September
4:40 pm – 6:10 pm: Free practice 1
Saturday, 16 September
8:55 am – 10:40 am: Free practice 2
1:00 pm – 1:15 pm: Qualifying GTD-Pro/GTD
1:50 pm – 2:10 pm: Qualifying GTP
Sunday, 17 September
8:00 am – 8:20 am: Warmup
1:10 pm – 3:50 pm: Race (2:40 hours)