ALTON, Va., (Aug. 20, 2018) – At Round Nine of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) secured fifth place in the Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 912. A technical issue after an hour put an early end to the race for the sister car shared by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Patrick Pilet (France).
Although Pilet took up the race from second on the grid for the Porsche GT Team, the first grid row did not bring any luck for the number 911 vehicle. After handing the car off to Tandy, the 33-year-old had to park the car trackside with damage to the drive train while running in the lead.
The 510hp Porsche 911 RSR driven by Bamber and Vanthoor received a drive-through penalty after an incident in the first lap. In the two-hour and 40-minute race, the pair doggedly worked their way forward from the back of the field. At times, Vanthoor looked good for a podium result on the 3.27 miles, and ultimately saw the flag in fifth place after 88 laps. This puts Porsche third in the manufacturers’ classification.
Steffen Höllwarth (Porsche Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship):
“That was a day with more lows than highs. Our number 912 car made contact with another vehicle in the first lap, which resulted in damage to a rim and we had to pull out prematurely. On top of that, there was a drive-through penalty. In the end we finished fifth. We implemented an aggressive strategy to put the 911 amongst the frontrunners. After about an hour there was a technical defect in the drive train. But it wasn’t all negative: Our strategies were great, and the team put in perfect pit stops. We’ll be back in full force at Laguna Seca.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911)
“The engineers put a well set-up car on the track for us today. Everything came together perfectly. I drove economically to conserve fuel so that we could stay out longer. Our strategy worked perfectly, as well, because we were running at the front when we had to retire unfortunately.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911)
“Obviously we’re very disappointed that we couldn’t score any points. We could have actually won, because the team implemented a terrific strategy that propelled us to the front. While I was in the lead I suddenly noticed that something was wrong and I lost power. And that was the end.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912)
“Everything was okay at the start of my stint. Earl, however, was nudged in the first lap and I’m sure that’s what caused the damage. After driving for a while, the diffuser played up more and more. That was disastrous, of course, because the downforce at the rear axle got increasingly less. In the end the car was virtually undriveable and I’m pleased that we actually made it to the finish.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912)
“I gained a position right at the start, but then someone hit the rear of my car. We were handed a drive-through penalty and that threw us to the back of the field. Laurens then had to deal with the after-effects of the collision and couldn’t do better than fifth place.”