LEXINGTON, Ohio (May 6, 2019) – The Porsche GT Team claimed its third-straight win at Round Four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The works drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor went up against strong opposition in the GTLM class at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and celebrated their second victory after Long Beach.
Last year, the pair in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR won the Mid-Ohio race.
Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) rounded off the strong team result with third place in their 510hp 911. Thanks to these results, Porsche has succeeded in extending its lead in all classifications of the IMSA championship.
In contrast to the free practice and qualifying, the race took place in sunny, dry conditions. The Porsche GT Team implemented its experience with the vehicle and tires perfectly and setup both Porsche 911 RSR for the changed weather conditions.
As the race progressed, the drivers were able to demonstrate their strengths over the long distance. Vanthoor (Belgium), who took up the fourth race of the season from second on the grid, handed his 911 off to Bamber (New Zealand) after around 50 minutes while running in second place. Thanks to the consistently high speed and perfect strategy, the New Zealander swept into the lead shortly afterwards. The No. 912 car held on to the lead to the flag.
The race for their colleagues in the No. 911 vehicle turned into a rollercoaster ride. When the race went green, Pilet jumped the start. Although the ensuing drive-through penalty relegated the vehicle far down the grid, a spirited charge through the field followed. Tandy came out on top after an intense duel with a BMW shortly before the flag and brought the No. 911 over the line in third place. For the first time in North America this season, both Porsche 911 RSR racers finished on the podium.
Steffen Höllwarth (Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “That was a perfect race with a sensational result. We had the fastest car over the distance. Our engineers did a great job with the setup. With Earl and Laurens everything is working perfectly at the moment. But the pursuit race of the sister car was just as strong. Victory, podium place, leading all classifications plus the fact that our colleagues in the FIA WEC have just clinched the world championship yesterday – it doesn’t get better than this. Now we’re looking forward to the next great challenge: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The day was perfect for us. It’s incredible that our run in Mid-Ohio continued seamlessly. We’re leading the championship, but that doesn’t mean we’re leaning back. The competition will certainly not make it easy for us. Before the next IMSA race we first have to tackle Le Mans in mid-June. Hopefully everything will continue to go just as brilliantly there for us, too.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “What a wonderful race! After the free practice in wet conditions, it was difficult to find a suitable setup for the changed conditions. But our team used its huge experience to do it perfectly. Our car was the strongest in the GTLM category over the distance. We’ve won Long Beach, we’ve won in Mid-Ohio – this year and last year – we’re on a fantastic roll. As far as I’m concerned, Le Mans can come now.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “After the jump start we launched a gigantic pursuit race. Nick, in particular, got the most out of the car in his stints, and I even had hopes of finishing on second place. Still, third earns us all-important points. Essentially, the overall result has put Porsche in an excellent position in the championship.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “That was an extraordinarily eventful race today. During my chase through the field I enjoyed some wonderful duels with the Ford and BMW drivers. It was huge fun. But right now I’m looking forward to our start at the Le Mans 24-hour race.”