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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.”

 

Porsche GT Team Scores Fifth Podium in the USA

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2017) – At the Laguna Seca Raceway in the dunes of Monterey, California, the new Porsche 911 RSR clinched its fifth podium result in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

 

At the wheel of the newly developed race car from Weissach, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) secured third in the GTLM class on Sunday on the 2.238-mile racetrack in California. After a gripping finale, they crossed the finish line only five seconds behind the winners. Their teammates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) in the sister 911 RSR took the flag in seventh place.

 

Laurens Vanthoor got the best start of the entire field. In the first lap, he promptly overtook three rivals in his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR to settle into fifth place behind Patrick Pilet, who had managed to gain two places. The Frenchman then launched a spectacular pursuit for the top spot, first overtaking a BMW, then a Ford. After a good half hour he was running in second place.

 

Laurens Vanthoor was poised to follow his lead, but a prototype’s careless maneuver not only blocked him from overtaking, but also threw him back three positions. With his teammate Gianmaria Bruni having to serve a drive-through penalty in the pits due to a non-compliant pit stop, the fight for top results continued without them.

 

In the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, however, Dirk Werner was on course for a podium spot. A fuel-saving strategy worked out for him after he took over the cockpit from Patrick Pilet and eventually began to pay off. For long stretches he was running in third, and he even managed to advance to second place. At times he was less than a second off the leader, and in a thrilling final phase defended his position with a spirited duel against his strongest pursuers. However, shortly before the flag he had to let a Ferrari overtake him. Nevertheless, it was enough for the winner of the Lime Rock race and runner-up at the Daytona to bring home another podium result at the penultimate race of the season.

 

Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “This podium at an exciting and highly competitive race is thanks to a good strategy and a 911 RSR that proved consistently fast on this demanding racetrack. The fact that we focused on preparing for the race during our days here rather than on fast lap times in qualifying proved to be the right decision. With this result under our belt we can now head to Atlanta. There, we’ll do everything at the season finale to finish two positions further up the field – and win the coveted North American Endurance Cup for Porsche.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was really close. In the end it was a pure game of chance with the fuel. We assumed that the leading BMW would have to pit, but he kept going. Dirk saved as much fuel as he could, but he couldn’t keep up with the Ferrari, which was following a different strategy. We did the best we could with what we had today, and, as always, we’ve enjoyed wonderful support from our team.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “It’s great to head home from Laguna Seca with a podium result. The entire team threw themselves completely into this race and improved the car even more. It was a fiercely competitive race, and fans really got their money’s worth. In the closing phase we all tried to conserve fuel and turn our laps without having to make a pit stop. My fuel light came on shortly before the flag, so that strategy worked perfectly. I think this is a great achievement for the team.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We had a great car for the weekend and a great tire strategy. Unfortunately we couldn’t turn it into a better result. We had a chance for the podium spot, but we made mistakes. We’ll now look closely at what happened and we’ll be back in the fight at the season finale at Road Atlanta.”

 

Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “We had pretty much everything going against us in this race. Our 911 RSR had the speed to run at the front, but bad luck struck and we made mistakes. Now we need to concentrate totally on Petit Le Mans and on winning the North American Endurance Cup for Porsche.”

 

Porsche GT Team Score Seventh and Eighth in Virginia

ALTON, Va. (Aug. 28, 2017) – After scoring the first victory with the new Porsche 911 RSR at Lime Rock and second place in Elkhart Lake, the Porsche GT Team was not able to fight for top positions on the Virginia International Raceway. At round nine of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the team’s and drivers’ intensive preparations and good performances went unrewarded.

After 92 laps on the storied 3.27-mile racetrack in Virginia, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) reached the flag in seventh place with the 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR (#912). Their team colleagues Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished eighth in the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911.

The tenth and penultimate round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 24 September at Laguna Seca in California.

Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “After the qualifying it was obvious that the race would be difficult for us. Because we have a significantly lower top speed than our opponents, we had to come up with a special strategy on this track with its long full-throttle passages. However, for our strategy to work, we needed safety car phases, and there weren’t any today. We tried everything, but all in all it was a very difficult weekend for us. I hope that the IMSA authorities will take a very close look at this race and draw the appropriate conclusions. Then I’m confident that we’ll be back up amongst the frontrunners at the next race in Laguna Seca.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “That’s obviously not the result we wanted to fly home with. Our 911 RSR ran well and I had a good feeling in the car. Everyone could see that we didn’t have the pace, especially on the straights. The effect was particularly noticeable on this racetrack.”
Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “Aside from the lack of top speed, the race for us ran without any problems. The team worked well over the entire weekend. What came out in the end, however, is frustrating, but it’s no reason to hang our heads. As a team, we have to pull together again and do better at Laguna Seca.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a difficult weekend. Especially for me because I made mistake in Corner 5 and I ended up in the grass. But even without this setback, we were still simply not fast enough.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “As expected, the race was difficult. As always, we were well prepared. But our pace was not good enough, especially on this racetrack, where our lack of engine power was particularly noticeable. For the time being we have to accept this, but I hope the situation looks better again for the last two races.”

 

Second Podium for New Porsche 911 RSR

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2017)  At the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed its second podium result at its third race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On the spectacular city course in the port district, where the pits are just a stone’s throw away from where the docked ocean-liner giant “Queen Mary” lies anchored, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France) secured third place on Saturday with the No. 912 car. In the sister 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, last year’s winner Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished sixth.

The race set against a postcard-perfect backdrop of sun, sea and palms is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix for good reason. Despite the short race duration of just 100 minutes, the completely walled and fenced 1.968-mile street circuit demands everything from the drivers, and on the grandstands and balconies of high-rise apartments, keen sports car fans mingle with famous stars. The simple reason for the high number of prominent celebrities is that Hollywood is virtually just around the corner.

The race was as spectacular as the backdrop. After just one lap, the leading trio in the particularly competitive GTLM class clashed – which opened the door for Laurens Vanthoor. Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, the Belgian, who was the winner of the 2016 Macau Grand Prix is no stranger to narrow city circuits, moved into the lead. Vanthoor held onto the top spot for almost 45 minutes until the first pit stop – no other GTLM vehicle stayed out on the track as long without a tire change. It was only while handing the 911 RSR off to Kévin Estre that the position was lost. Running in fifth place, the Frenchman then took up the chase again. In the final laps of a race that had seen no less than five safety car phases, events turned truly dramatic: Kévin Estre advanced to fourth place and kept his cool in the hairpin just before the finish line: In stop-and-go traffic he overtook another competitor in the last seconds to secure the second podium result for Porsche in North America’s premier racing series.

In the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, two former Long Beach winners had to line up at the back of the field; Patrick Pilet (2016) and Dirk Werner (2015) were unable to take part in the qualifying session due to an accident during practice and were therefore relegated to the very back of the 35-strong field. Putting in a spirited drive, Patrick Pilet ploughed his way through the pack and as he came into the pits he was running in eighth position. Dirk Werner gained another four places during his stint and was even looking good for a podium spot. However, a drive-through penalty imposed by the stewards of the meeting for making contact with another competitor put a sudden halt to his charge.

Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on May 6 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “It takes a while to digest such a race. It was turbulent and difficult to keep oversight. Finishing in third place at the end was pretty good. Still, you’re left feeling that there could have been more. Thanks to a good strategy and fast pit stops we managed to gain ground, particularly with our number 911 car, which had started from the very back, but because of the drive-through penalty it wasn’t enough for a podium result.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “That was a crazy race with highs and lows. We suffered a setback on Friday when our number 911 car that was damaged during practice, but the team worked brilliantly to repair the car in time to compete. The race started turbulently. We were able to take the lead at a relatively early stage, which suited our strategy perfectly. At the next safety car phase we then split the strategy, like most other teams, and that also worked well. As far as the result is concerned, we definitely did the best we could under the circumstances, but no one needs such a rollercoaster of feelings every weekend.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a dramatic race with a lot of incidents. The safety car had to be deployed often. There were a lot of collisions and drive-through penalties, and then the front-runner loses the race in the final lap because several cars didn’t make it around the bend. That’s pretty crazy.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Patrick got us back in the race with great overtaking maneuvers. We were lucky with the caution phases and by mid-way through the race we were already running in the top four, but then we were handed a drive-through penalty and our fight for a podium spot was over. It’s a shame for the team who worked so hard through the night to repair our 911 RSR. Those guys certainly deserved a better result.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a difficult race. We actually did everything right with our strategy. We were leading, but then lost places due to the many safety car phases. In my first lap I was hit quite hard in the rear. After that I had hardly any downforce, but I kept fighting and was rewarded in the bizarre final lap.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We actually didn’t expect to be on the podium, but we’re happy to take it home. My teammates told me a lot about Long Beach, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so turbulent here.”

Porsche and CORE Renew GT Partnership

LE MANS, France (June 17, 2016) – During the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche has renewed the contracts with Manthey Racing and CORE autosport after many years of successful collaboration.

 

With Manthey Racing, Porsche recently won the 2015 GT championship titles for manufacturers, drivers and teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), and paralleled this with three GT titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the USA and Canada with CORE autosport.

 

“With the Le Mans 24-hour race, we chose a very special event to extend the contracts with our key GT-motorsport partners officially and in good time,” said Porsche Head of Motorsport Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser at the signing of the contracts. “With Manthey Racing and CORE autosport we will continue our close ties to two of the very best teams in the campaigning of our GT vehicles. Together, we have achieved a great deal in recent years and we want to achieve even more in the future.”

 

Manthey Racing will continue to run race operations for Porsche Motorsport in the WEC, with CORE autosport doing the same in IMSA.

 

“We’re proud that Porsche will stand behind our team in the coming years and thus trusts us to contest the WEC on behalf of Porsche Motorsport,” said Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey Racing at Le Mans.

 

Jon Bennett, owner of CORE Autosport, said: “Everyone at CORE is thrilled to continue our relationship with Porsche. Our partnership started with a Rolex 24 at Daytona victory and continued with multiple championships. We are prepared to offer more of the same.”

 

As the most successful manufacturer in the history of the prestigious long distance classic, Porsche is again represented by a large contingent at Le Mans. In the strongly supported GT classes, a total of seven 911 RSR tackle the world’s toughest automobile race: The Porsche Motorsport factory squad fields two 911 RSR with the overall Le Mans winners Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and with five 911 contenders campaigned by customer teams. With the two 919 Hybrid in the LMP1 class, Porsche is represented at Le Mans by total of nine vehicles and 16 works drivers.