Round eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the US state of Wisconsin took off with a surprise for the Porsche Penske Motorsport team: Because the pole-sitting Cadillac failed to turn up on the grid in time after an accident during warm-up, Matt Campbell inherited the front spot. During his stint, the Australian proved unbeatable. After just three laps, he had increased his advantage at the front to more than four seconds. Campbell then continued to pull clear of his pursuers, stretching the gap to well over ten seconds before handing the car off to his teammate Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian then defended the top spot uncontested to take the flag in first place. In the end, hybrid prototype from Weissach crossed the finish line with a 4.635-second lead.
The No. 6 sister car only managed to tap the huge potential of the Porsche 963 in the first half hour. In the early stages, Nick Tandy worked his way through the field to fourth place, only to be struck by a major setback: a puncture in the right rear tyre. The UK driver carefully limped back to the pits for an unscheduled stop – which cost him around two minutes. With no full course yellows, it proved impossible to close the gap in the action-packed race. Ultimately, Tandy and his teammate Jaminet finished seventh.
“Congratulations to the team and our drivers: That was a flawless team effort,” says a delighted Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “After a difficult first day of practice, we consolidated our efforts to turn things around and tapped the huge potential of the Porsche 963 in qualifying and the race. This was possible thanks to the perfect synergy between the crew at the track and the team back in Weissach. Everyone put in a strong performance. The pace of our number 6 was great too. Unfortunately, a puncture destroyed all hopes – that’s how it goes in motor racing sometimes. I take my hat off to our customer teams in the GTP class, who put in a clean performance and fast lap times here.”
“Everyone did an excellent job,” states Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “We didn't have the pace on Friday, but we saw today that the team worked together to perform well in the race. Both cars had great pace. Unfortunately, our number 6 entry lost positions due to a puncture early in the race, but at least it managed to get back into the same lap as the leader. Matt and Felipe did a perfect job in the No. 7 car – and that effort earned us our victory. Now we've won one race each with both cars. That’s fantastic. We also closed the gap in the manufacturers’ championship.”
In the manufacturers’ standings, Porsche has advanced to third place. With two more races remaining, the gap to the top is only 47 points. In the drivers’ championship, Tandy/Jaminet and Campbell/Nasr rank fourth and seventh respectively and still have an outside chance of winning the title.
The two Porsche 963 racing cars fielded by customer teams delivered strong and flawless drives. Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and his Dutch teammate Tijmen van der Helm set an impressive pace at times in the No. 5 JDC-Miller MotorSports car, even matching the pace of the factory squad. The car decked out in its bright yellow livery concluded the race in fifth place overall. The identical GTP model campaigned by Proton Competition finished its IMSA series debut in eighth with works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Englishman Harry Tincknell.
GTD Classes: Porsche customer teams finish towards the back of the field
The customer teams in the two GT classes had no chance to fight for the podium. In the GTD-Pro category, Pfaff Motorsport’s 911 GT3 R piloted by Austrian Klaus Bachler and Frenchman Patrick Pilet finished fourth. In the GTD class, the identical nine-elevens from Wright Motorsports, AO Racing and Kellymoss with Riley finished ninth, eleventh, 13th and 14th.
The next GTP round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on 17 September at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The American racing series will make its maiden guest outing on the so-called “Brickyard” – which is a combination of the oval outer track and an infield course. Formula 1 used this track layout between 2000 and 2007.
Drivers’ comments on the race
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “For us, it was of course a big advantage that we were allowed to start from pole position after the Cadillac had an accident in the warm-up. On this track, it makes a huge difference which side of the grid you start on. There’s a lot of dirt off the racing line, but fortunately, we managed to avoid this and turned considerably faster opening laps than our pursuers. Our Porsche 963 was really great to drive in the race – that was somewhat of a surprise after our difficulties on Friday, which makes our performance all the better. I’m thrilled about our first victory with the number 7 car in the IMSA series.”
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “Thank you to the whole team! It was an outstanding effort from everyone. Matt put in a strong first stint and positioned our car solidly at the front of the field. I gave everything at the end to defend that position. It was anything but easy because the Acura in second place had fresher tyres. On top of that, the situations with passing slower cars were often extremely tricky. But it all worked out – finally!”
Mike Rockenfeller (Porsche 963 #5): “We started from ninth place and finished in fifth – we can live with that. Our race pace was really strong. I had some tough battles during my stint and didn’t always agree with the decisions of some of my colleagues, at some points, things got really tough. It was difficult to stay calm in the car at all times. On the other hand, of course, it was a joy to be able to fight at this level in the top class.”
Harry Tincknell (Porsche 963 #59): “After only being able to turn very few laps in the race at our WEC event in Monza, things finally went better here. I learned more about the car today than on all the previous days combined. The basis of the Porsche 963 is extremely good – we’re only a little behind in terms of the setup because the time for making adjustments and gaining experience was too short. Now, we’ll analyse all the data and draw our conclusions. If we were to do another race tomorrow, we would be considerably faster – without a doubt.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “We always give everything, push to the absolute limit, but under these conditions, we had no chance. We’re lacking top speed and the power to accelerate out of the corners fast enough. That’s very frustrating. As a team, we delivered an absolutely flawless performance. So that wasn’t the reason. Now, I’m looking forward to a few days off. Hopefully, in Indianapolis, we’ll have found our rhythm.”
1. Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 80 laps
2. Blomqvist/Braun (UK/USA), Acura #60, 80 laps
3. Taylor/Albuquerque (USA/P), Acura #10, 80 laps
5. Rockenfeller/van der Helm (D/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 80 laps
7. Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 80 laps
8. Bruni/Tincknell (I/UK), Porsche 963 #59, 80 laps
1. Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 73 laps
2. Hawksworth/Barnicoat (UK/UK), Lexus #14, 72 laps
3. Garcia/Taylor (E/USA), Corvette #3, 72 laps
4. Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 72 laps
1. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), BMW #1, 72 laps
2. Iribe/Schandorff (USA/DK), McLaren #70, 72 laps
3. Skeen/Grenier (USA/CDN), Mercedes-AMG #32, 72 laps
9. Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 72 laps
11. Hyett/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 72 laps
12. Brule/Udell (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 71 laps
14. Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 70 laps
All results: imsa.alkamelsystems.com.
The Porsche Penske Motorsport works team’s two Porsche 963s will start the eighth race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season from positions two and seven. In qualifying at Road America in the state of Wisconsin, Matt Campbell drove a sensational lap in the No. 7 hybrid prototype: The Australian lapped the 6.515-kilometre circuit in 1:47.798 minutes and missed pole position by just 0.068 seconds. Briton Nick Tandy qualified seventh in the sister car. The Porsche 963 cars of the customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition will start the race from positions nine and ten.
Qualifying for round eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season took place under cloudy skies and pleasant temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius. On asphalt that was only slightly warmer, the drivers needed several warm-up laps to bring the tyres into the optimum operating window for their pole position attempt. Matt Campbell waited patiently behind the wheel of the #7 Porsche 963 and only launched his attack with three minutes left on the clock. With some significant improvements in all three sectors of the track, the Australian works driver managed to catapult from eighth to second place. Nick Tandy from the UK also improved in his final laps and finished seventh in 1:48.332 minutes.
“Second place on the grid is a positive surprise for us. We hadn’t expected that,” comments a pleased Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “It probably helped us that the temperatures didn’t rise too high in qualifying. It’s also supposed to be cloudy and cool on race day. Those are promising conditions for us. Matt turned a very good lap. We expect to be in a good position for the race. I’m looking forward to it – not least due to the fact that four Porsche 963s are racing at the same time in the GTP class for the first time.”
“It was clear for all to see that we were not yet at our best on the first day at Road America. But our team did an excellent job after the practice sessions,” Jonathan Diuguid sums up. The Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “With the help of our colleagues from Weissach, we’ve made significant progress and the car is now running much better. Matt put in a great lap. Theoretically, even pole position would have been possible, as the sum of his best sector times shows. Nick was a bit further back, but I’m sure we’ll see both cars putting in a strong performance in the race.”
At the helm of the No. 5 car from customer team JDC-Miller Motorsports, German Mike Rockenfeller finished ninth in qualifying. The identical Porsche 963 campaigned by Proton Competition with the starting number 59, which celebrates its debut in the IMSA series at Road America, finished tenth with works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy.
GTD classes: Porsche customer teams without a chance in qualifying
In the two GT classes, the customer teams had a tough run with their up to 415 kW (565 PS) Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the GTD-Pro category, Klaus Bachler qualified the No. 9 car from Pfaff Motorsports on the fifth grid spot. In the race, the Austrian shares driving duties with the experienced Frenchman Patrick Pilet. In the GTD class, the identical cars from AO Racing, Kellymoss with Riley and Wright Motorsports will lined up in positions twelve, 13, 14 and 15.
The eighth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Elkhart Lake in the state of Wisconsin will start on Sunday, 6. August at 10:10 a.m. local time (5:10 p.m. CEST). Outside the USA and Canada, the 2:40 hour race can be watched on a free livestream on imsa.tv.
Drivers’ comments on qualifying
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “On Friday we didn’t find our rhythm, especially in the first two sectors. Before qualifying, we made extensive changes to the setup – that definitely paid off. Many thanks to everyone involved in that process. I gave everything in the hunt for top times and was really pushing the limit. It’s a shame that I missed out on pole by such a narrow margin. But from second on the grid, anything is possible in the race.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 963 #6): “I’m feel positive about the qualifying. We’ve made considerable progress compared to the practice sessions on Friday, the gap to the top is now much smaller. But personally, I’m not completely satisfied. When my tyres were just in the optimal operating window, I encountered a lot of traffic on the track. Overall, we’ve learned a lot today. We’ll now use these insights to prepare for the race.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Porsche 963 #5): “It was a disappointing qualifying for me. We’d made some changes to the car before the session – that backfired. That’s what happens when you don’t have the experience yet. We always have to try a lot of things. We should’ve left the car as it was on Friday. Suddenly, we had a lot of understeer and a twitchy front axle in qualifying. It was very difficult for me to get a clean lap under those conditions. I had hoped for more, but a lot can still happen in the 2-hour 40-minute race.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #59): “Our starting position is completely fine. We mustn’t forget one thing: After our debut in the FIA WEC in Monza, we transported the car to the USA and are now starting in the IMSA series without any testing – that’s anything but a walk in the park. On the first day at Road America, we encountered some problems, which caused us to lose critical practice time. We’re making steady progress and want to have a clean race.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “We worked systematically in the practice sessions and came up with a really good setup for our car. I managed a mega lap in qualifying – I couldn’t squeeze any more out of the car. Now we’re focused on the race. It’s over 160 minutes, so a lot can happen. We’re well prepared and have an extremely strong team. Hopefully, we can still get far ahead. I expect a lot of spectacles with four different car classes in the race. Besides, there might be some rain on Sunday, which would reshuffle the cards again.”
1. Derani/Sims (BR/UK), Cadillac #31, 1:47.730 minutes
2. Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 1:47.798 minutes
3. Bourdais/van der Zande (F/NL), Cadillac #01, 1:48.036 minutes
7. Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 1:48.332 minutes
9. Rockenfeller/van der Helm (D/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 1:49.212 minutes
10. Bruni/Tincknell (I/UK), Porsche 963 #59, 1:49.460 minutes
GTD Pro class:
1. Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 2:02.918 minutes
2. Gounon/Juncadella (F/E), Mercedes-AMG #79, 2:02.975 minutes
3. Taylor/Garcia (USA/E), Corvette #3, 2:03.143 minutes
5. Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 2:03.634 minutes
1. Snow/Sellers (USA/USA), BMW #1, 2:03.291 minutes
2. Iribe/Schandorff (USA/DK), McLaren #70, 2:03.382 minutes
3. Montecalvo/Telitz (USA/USA), Lexus #12, 2:03.950 minutes
12. Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 2:06.496 minutes
13. Hyett/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 2:06.776 minutes
14. Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 2:07.372 minutes
15. Brule/Udell (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 2:08.001 minutes
All results: imsa.alkamelsystems.com.
Porsche Penske Motorsport is keen to return to its winning form in round eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the 2:40-hour race at Road America in the US state of Wisconsin, the works team’s two Porsche 963 are determined to again fight for podium places.
Porsche Penske Motorsport heads to the eighth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with a clear goal: After some mediocre results recently, the team wants to build on the good performances from the spring with the two Porsche 963 at Road America. In the 2:40-hour race on the Road America circuit, which is highly popular with fans and drivers, the two driver crews hope to finish on the podium and bring home a bundle of points towards the championship. In the team standings, the crew sharing the No. 6 factory car currently occupies fourth place. The gap to the top, however, is only 63 points. There are 350 points for a race win and 35 for pole position.
“After our unsatisfactory results in the FIA WEC and the IMSA series recently, we have to turn things around quickly,” asserts Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “We want to get back on the path to success, and at least achieve podium results. I’m confident that we’ll be able to match the pace of the competition in the GTP class at Road America. The racetrack is a big challenge for the drivers and engineers. I hope that we were able to gain a small advantage during our test drives in June and turn the full potential of the Porsche 963 into a top result.”
“Our test results and the lap times in the IndyCar Series in June made one thing very clear: Road America has become much faster thanks to the new asphalt,” summarises Urs Kuratle ahead of the eighth round of the season. The Director of Factory Motorsport LMDh adds: “The surface offers a lot of grip and that traction will only continue to build throughout the weekend due to the rubber left on the track. We need to take this into account in figuring out the optimum setup for the race. I’m confident that our on-track test will help us greatly, especially in this regard.”
“The IMSA championship is heading into the home stretch, and Road America will be a crucial part as the Porsche Penske Motorsport team chases the GTP Championship over the final three races of the year,” describes Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “Road America will be a unique challenge as it has undergone a full repave in the offseason. This serves as a reset and erases some of the historical characteristics of this long and unique track. All of the notes from previous years won’t directly apply. We had the ability to test in early June at the circuit to get some exposure to the ideal setup for the new surface, but the track surface will continue to evolve all the way up to the race weekend. Road America one of the most scenic and beautiful road courses in the country, so it would look good to have one of our Porsche 963s in Victory Lane and bring home a 1-2 finish for the entire organization.”
Road America near the town of Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin is a favourite among many drivers. The 6.515-kilometre circuit featuring 14 turns blends perfectly into the parklike landscape. The undulating course offers several overtaking opportunities and several daring passages – one of which is the so-called “kink” on the back straight, an extremely fast right-hander with minimal run-off zones. The facility, which lies around 25 kilometres west of Lake Michigan, was opened in 1955.
The extremely popular racetrack was resurfaced for the 2023 season and the already high average speeds of up to 215 km/h (2022 DPi class qualifying) will rise. The enormous increase in grip became obvious in June during the IndyCar series guest appearance: From a standing start, the single-seater cars were three seconds faster per lap than last year.
The works cars
The cockpits of Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two Porsche 963s will be crewed by this season’s regular drivers with Englishman Nick Tandy and Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet sharing driving duties in the No. 6 car. At Long Beach in April, the duo claimed the first victory for Porsche’s new LMDh prototype. Currently, Tandy and Jaminet occupy fourth place in the drivers’ standings and are within striking distance of the top. Their brand colleagues Matt Campbell from Australia and Felipe Nasr from Brazil rank seventh with the No. 7 Porsche 963. Porsche currently sits fourth in the manufacturers’ championship.
The customer teams
In the top GTP class, Proton Competition will field the Porsche 963 for the first time. The squad owned by the German entrepreneur and race driver Christian Ried will tackle Road America with works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and the experienced UK driver Harry Tincknell. “During our debut with the Porsche 963 at the FIA WEC race in Monza, we learned a lot and our pace was immediately very good. We now want to use those insights in the IMSA series and get as far to the front of the field as possible at our first event,” explains team owner Christian Ried. “We have a strong team and an experienced, fast driver crew. The ingredients for possible success should be there.”
The customer team JDC-Miller MotorSports also contests the GTP class with another ca. 515 kW (700 PS) Porsche 963. Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and Dutchman Tijmen van der Helm take turns in the cockpit of the American team’s hybrid prototype. The squad from Minneapolis, which finished the last two races in fourth place overall, regard the event at Elkhart Lake as a home race.
Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R will line up on the grid in the GTD-Pro category. The No. 9 car fielded by the Canadian customer team is shared by Austrian Klaus Bachler and Patrick Pilet from France. Last year, the team finished second here. In the GTD class, three other customers campaign a total of four up to 415 kW (565 PS) GT3 cars from Weissach.
Drivers’ comments before the race
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “We’re currently lying fourth in the championship. That’s not ideal, but at least the gaps to the front are relatively small. The first four crews are not separated by much at all. So, our goal must be to rake in as many points as possible at Road America to make up some positions in the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ standings. We’ve gone testing on the track and that’ll be very helpful.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “Road America is one of my favourite circuits in the USA. I always love driving there. We did a test at Road America right after the race weekend at Le Mans. That was hugely important because the track was re-sealed at the beginning of the year. We gained some important insights in terms of performance but still have work ahead of us. Adapting the setup over the weekend for the race will be one of the keys to our success.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #59): “The event at Road America throws a huge challenge at us drivers and the entire team. After six years, I’m finally returning to the track where my great journey with Porsche began. I’m hugely grateful that Christian Ried and Porsche Motorsport are giving me this opportunity in the GTP class. I can’t wait to tackle the IMSA Championship together with my colleague Harry in the Porsche 963.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “Road America is the longest track on the IMSA series calendar and it’s a really cool circuit. The fresh asphalt offers a lot of grip on the racing line, but if you stray from the line, it’s extremely slippery. That’ll be exciting when we overtake slower traffic. I’m hoping we can fight among the frontrunners with our Porsche 911 GT3 R. A class win would be perfect – in the context of the championship as well. We’re currently in fourth place, but the gaps aren’t big at all. Anything is still possible with a top result at Road America.”
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 -7 hours)
Friday, 4 August
11:05 am – 12:35 pm: Free practice 1
3:15 pm – 5:00 pm: Free practice 2
Saturday, 5 August
1:15 pm – 1:30 pm: Qualifying GTD-Pro/GTD
2:05 pm – 2:25 pm: Qualifying GTP
Sunday, 6 August
08:00 am – 08:20 am: Warmup
10:10 am – 12:50 pm: Race (2:40 hours)