All posts in “2017 Petit Le Mans”

Two Titles in the North American Endurance Cup for New 911 RSR

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2017) – At legendary Road Atlanta, the maiden race season for the Porsche 911 RSR in the USA and Canada drew to a close with a significant success: Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner secured the GTLM-class title in the prestigious Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

 

The long-distance classics of Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen as well as Saturday’s Petit Le Mans in the US state of Georgia count towards the world’s toughest performance and reliability competition in GT racing. With the 911 RSR, developed from scratch by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach for the 2017 season, the Porsche GT Team also won the team classification. Finishing second in the manufacturers’ classification, just one point off taking home the title, Porsche beat strong competition from Chevrolet, BMW and Ferrari. At the four long-distance races of the North American Endurance Cup, teams and drivers had to underline their consistency and reliability over a total of 52 hours.

 

Petit Le Mans on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit also marked the last round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, North America’s premier sports car race series. In the hotly contested ten-hour race, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) joined forces with a third driver, overall Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain), to bring home sixth place in the GTLM class after 392 laps. This result was enough for the drivers and the Porsche GT Team, who travelled to the race leading the points table, to win the North American Endurance Cup. After spending long stretches on course for a podium spot, their teammates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were ultimately flagged off as fifth in the sister 911 RSR. The third driver in this car was Earl Bamber (New Zealand), another outright Le Mans winner from Porsche’s factory squad.

 

During its maiden race season in the USA and Canada, the new Porsche 911 RSR had already notched up numerous successes. Its first victory came on 22 July at Lime Rock, with four podium placings at Daytona, Long Beach, Elkhart Lake and Laguna Seca as well as pole position at Mosport.

 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “We’ve clinched the first title for the new 911 RSR at this race. By winning the North American Endurance Cup for drivers and teams, we’ve shown that we were always at the front at the right time for the major endurance races and, hence, have underlined the reliability of our car over the season. For a maiden season with a completely new car, this was a good performance.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Winning the North American Endurance Cup is a great team effort. I’m thrilled to take this trophy home to Weissach as a thank you to everyone who has worked on the new 911 RSR and has supported us this season so brilliantly. This race was very tough for us. We had to fight hard to defend ourselves against the strong opposition. I’m pleased we managed it.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Our main goal at this race was to win the North American Endurance Cup. We did that and I’m delighted for everyone in our team. It was a difficult season, and this final race, with its many incidents and safety car phases, was anything but easy. That makes this success all the more thrilling.”

 

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “It was wonderful for me to be a part of this team again on this legendary circuit and to support Patrick and Dirk in their bid to win the North American Endurance Cup. The fact that it’s also the first title for the new 911 RSR makes it even more valuable.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We didn’t have the pace today to seriously fight for victory. We tried everything, we had a great strategy, but it wasn’t enough. I’m pleased that our teammates have won the North American Endurance Cup. That’s a terrific achievement. Now we’re looking ahead to 2018 and we’re all determined to come back even stronger.”

 

Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “What a tough fight. We lost time with the pit stop incident, when our 911 RSR caught fire briefly. However, thanks to a perfect pit stop strategy, we were able to make up that lost lap. The many spirited duels were huge fun.”

 

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “It was great to drive the new 911 RSR at Road Atlanta. Our long runs were good, we only had problems at the restarts. Still, we fought to the flag. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to reward ourselves with a podium result.”

 

CORE Concludes IMSA Season with Top Five Finish

CORE autosport completed its 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar season with a hard-fought fifth-place finish at Petit Le Mans. Drivers Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, and Nic Jönsson survived a high-attrition race and successfully rolled the dice on fuel in the team’s final appearance in the GT Daytona category.

Starting from 17th on the grid, Bennett advanced as high as 11th in his opening stint that started in the wet and ended dry. Through both of his stints Bennett had strong restarts and kept the car out of trouble.

Smart strategy from the timing stand kept Jönsson and Braun on the lead lap through their middle stints. The team eventually ran into trouble when Jönsson was hit from behind by a Prototype. Thankfully there was no serious damage and the team continued to press ahead and break into the top 10.

The team cracked the top five shortly after the sun went down at Road Atlanta. Braun was tasked with closing out the race and held onto fifth while saving fuel and maintaining a gap to sixth-place. A late yellow helped Braun save just enough to make it to the checkered flag without issue.

CORE ends its 2017 season with five, top-10 finishes in GTD, including a season-best of fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team now looks ahead to 2018 and its debut in the Prototype class with an ORECA 07 LMP2.

“I’m super proud of the team. We had a strong car all week. Our team executed flawlessly. We had amazing stops. Colin and Nic did a tremendous job inside the car. Pretty much, it was a mistake-free 10 hours, which is pretty unheard of in sports car racing. I’m proud to have a top-five finish to go along with our fourth-place finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca a few weekends ago. I’m so proud of our team.

 

“It’s always a learning process to go from one platform to another. There’s a lot of potential to unlock, but you have to understand the car and learn what it likes and doesn’t like. I’m pretty proud of how our organization continued to polish and optimize our performance in the Porsche. All of the hard work began to show at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and then here. I’m really happy to finish with our Porsche GT3 R really strong here at Petit Le Mans.”
– JON BENNETT

 

“It was a great race for us – we finished in the top five. From start to finish, we just had a good solid race. Nic and Jon did a really great job in the car, and we had a really great strategy. The guys did a nice job on pit road. It all played out for us. There wasn’t anything majorly lucky but then again there wasn’t anything unlucky. We were able to come away with a really great finish. My time in the car was good. We had great pace and were able to pass the fourth-place guy but we were stuck a lap down, unfortunately. I felt like we had pace to be right there in second or third place. I felt like we had a really good car and had a great event. I’m proud of the progression all year.

 

“The yellow flags were tough. It was easy to get off sequence and find yourself caught under green and having to pit while another guy catches a yellow and doesn’t. You loose a lap quickly that way. That’s inevitably how we ended up a lap down. It’s pretty much a roll of dice. But then again, at the end, we got a yellow that we needed to make it on fuel, so it all worked out.

 

“The best part about the race was the last restart. I was able to pass Jeroen Bleekemolen on the restart and pull out a nice gap on Townsend Bell who was racing us for fifth place. I love doing the restarts. They’re a lot of fun, especially at night with all of the lights flashing and stuff going everywhere.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

“It’s great to be back with the team again. I joined them for all of the endurance races this year. It’s been a great run with a top team like this. I haven’t been in the car since the race at Watkins Glen, but I was able to log some consistent laps in night practice and fully settle into the car. We had a good run where we gained a lap back and got up to second, but then I got punted off in Turn 7 by a Prototype, which was completely unnecessary. I gave plenty of room for him to go by at the exit, but he must have not seen me. All in all, I feel pretty good about the run. We finished in the top five and the team finished in fourth place at the prior race. It shows that the program really came to gather and had the car working for them. I’m pleased to be a part of this group.”
– NIC JÖNSSON

Petit Le Mans Qualifying

CORE on Eve of Final IMSA Race of 2017

CORE autosport will make its final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start of 2017 tomorrow, October 7, at the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R qualified 17th on the GT Daytona grid for Saturday’s 10-hour race.

 

Petit Le Mans represents not only the final race of the 2017 IMSA season for CORE, but also the team’s final race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. CORE announced last month that it will switch to the Prototype class in 2018 with an ORECA.

 

Jon Bennett qualified the Porsche 17th on the grid with a lap of 1:23.379. He will take the green flag in tomorrow’s race and share the car with Colin Braun and Nic Jönsson.

 

Live TV coverage of the Motul Petit Le Mans begins at 10:30am ET on FS1 with continuing coverage on FS2 at 11:30am and 5:30pm.

 

“The car has been getting better and better all week. At some level, I’m quite happy with the qualifying results. Personally, I need a little more pace. The car is engineered well, and it’s handling well. Colin and Nic both have excellent pace.

 

“Tomorrow is a long race and I think we’re poised for success. The key will be to stay somewhat invisible and out of trouble until the sun goes down. Then it becomes a 90-minute sprint race until the end. We’ll have Colin and Nic in the car at that time, and we’ll have an excellent chance at our best result of the year.”

– JON BENNETT

IMSA Season Comes to a Close at Petit Le Mans

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Oct. 3, 2017) – It’s time for the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend at Road Atlanta.

 

CORE autosport will close out its 2017 season with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans endurance race. Nic Jönsson will once again join Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for driving duties in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

The team comes into the season finale off of its season-best finish of fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. There, CORE led the most GT Daytona laps before having to pit for a splash of fuel.

 

The Motul Petit Le Mans is also the final race in the Patron North American Endurance Cup, which is composed of the IMSA season races that are six hours or more in length.

 

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE won Petit Le Mans in the PC class with Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins in 2012.
  • CORE has earned four podium finishes in total at Petit Le Mans, all of them in the PC class.
  • This will be CORE’s last race in GTD. The team recently announced its move to the Prototype class for 2018.

 

 

 

“We were all pleased to see the CORE and Porsche colors leading the GTD field for much of the race at Laguna. We all have been pushing through our personal limits to improve our competitiveness in GTD. It was great to see the effort generate results.

 

“I believe we all embrace the basic physics of long races. While it is important to be fast and aggressive at all times, there is a bigger picture in play that involves smart choices, self-control, and a bit of luck. Our ultimate goal is to keep the car off the TV broadcast until the end!

 

“The hardest part of PLM, like the Rolex 24 and Sebring, is understanding the bigger strategy of peaking in the final minutes of the race. You need to resist the urge to attack too soon and be fast and aggressive while keeping the big picture in mind.

 

“I think a fair goal is to always improve upon your last result. If we accomplish this goal at Petit Le Mans, we should all be soaked with champagne late Saturday night.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

“I feel like the momentum we bring from Laguna is a good thing. We don’t really change our approach or how hard we work based on prior results, but a good race is always boosts everyone’s spirits. The guys have been working extremely hard and I feel like it’s going to be a helpful thing going into the last race of the season for sure.

 

“The longer races are an opportunity to execute good strategy and pit stops and smart racing. Those are things that, as a team, we’re good at. Also, in terms of a driver package, I feel like that’s an area where we excel. Jon’s done a great job in the long races and over the past couple years, we’ve had some great guys joining us and it will be no different with Nic at Petit.

 

“The hardest part of Petit is the intensity of the race. It’s a relatively short lap. It’s easy to get behind. It’s not a super long race where you have a ton of time to make it up. It’s a really interesting mix of length of the track, distance of the race and the cadence of the race. It’s unlike Sebring and Daytona. Even though it’s only a few hours shorter than Sebring, it has a totally different flow to the race.

 

“Closing out the season with a win would be great. It’s been an up and down year, not by any fault of our own. I’m hopeful we can have a trouble-free event and show what we’re capable of doing. I know if we can do that, we’ll be right in the mix to contend at the end of the race.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

 

“Compared to Daytona and Sebring it’s a shorter lap. I think the track is more physical; you don’t have a lot of time to rest. The track is a little more narrow, so you have to have a lot of patience. The darkness lasts an hour to an hour and a half and usually it brings quite a bit of excitement, because it can be hard to see where exactly the other cars are.

 

“CORE had been very successful in the PC class for a number of years and they changed to a completely different formula. That takes some time to adapt, not just for the drivers, but also for the crew. CORE is a very professional team and we had really good pace right away at Daytona and Sebring, unfortunately we didn’t have luck on our side. The crew has become more accustomed to the car and they do phenomenal pit stops.

 

“CORE has done a great job adapting to GTD this year and I think they showed that with a strong result at Laguna a couple weeks ago. Hopefully the momentum from Laguna will carry to Petit and help us finish the season with a podium.”
– NIC JÖNSSON

 

 

Motul Petit Le Mans | October 5 – 7

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VENUE

Track Length: 2.54-miles, 12 turns

Race Length: 10 hours

 

SCHEDULE (All times Pacific)

Thursday, October 5

11:10am – 12:10pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

3:15pm – 4:15pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

7:30pm – 9:00pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)

 

Friday, October 6

11:40am – 12:40pm: Practice 4 (All Classes)

2:30pm – 3:15pm: Driver Autograph Session

4:20pm – 4:35pm: Qualifying (GTD class)

 

Saturday, October 7

8:30am – 8:50am: Warm Up (All Classes)

9:45am – 10:45am: Open Grid

11:05am – 9:05pm: Motul Petit Le Mans

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, October 6

4:10pm – 5:50pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, October 7

10:30am – 11:30am: FS1

11:30am – 2:30pm: FS2

5:00pm – 9:30pm: FS2

LIVE Race International:

10:55am – 9:05pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com