All posts in “Patrick Pilet”

First Win for New Porsche 911 RSR

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 23, 2017) – The race weekend at Lime Rock Park could not have ended better for Porsche: The new Porsche 911 RSR celebrated its historic first victory at the racetrack in Connecticut. On Saturday, Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner won round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, North America’s premier sports car race series.

 

The race car, which Porsche Motorsport designed from new at Weissach, had already posted three pole positions previously. In the fiercely competitive and gripping race from start to finish, Porsche managed to beat its strong rivals from BMW, Chevrolet and Ford. Since Lime Rock was exclusively for GT vehicles, this meant that the Porsche pilots in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR were also the overall winners. In the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team, their teammates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) clinched second place, making the weekend perfect for Porsche with a double victory.
When the 24-strong field of the GTLM and GTD classes took off on the short 1.474-mile race track in the idyllic rural region of Connecticut, conditions were cloudy and not as hot as Friday’s temperatures. In the two free practices and the qualifying, teams and drivers had had to contend with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Traditionally, Lime Rock is a two-day event. Racing is not permitted on Sundays as a church service is held in a small chapel close to the track. The crew of the Porsche GT Team coped well with the overtime hours in the heat and were rewarded with pole position for the 911 RSR. The squad watched from the pit wall as polesitter Gianmaria Bruni made a catapult start off the line to pull clear of the field.

 

On this short track where overtaking is extremely difficult, Dirk Werner also got away cleanly at the start to make up one position, which had the Porsches running in positions one and two at an early stage. After an unintentional detour off the track, Gianmaria Bruni had to come in for an earlier than scheduled first pit stop to remove grass from the radiator. He managed to hand the 911 RSR over to his teammate Laurens Vanthoor while still in the lead. Dirk Werner pulled into the pits for a service and driver change immediately behind him. Patrick Pilet took the wheel of the #911 vehicle, and promptly rejoined the race in front of his teammate. Hence, shortly before the halfway mark of the two-hour and 40-minute race, he was in the lead, with Laurens Vanthoor behind him in second place. With the Porsche duo fending off all attacks from their pursuers, this order remained to the flag. After 181 laps of Lime Rock Park, the double victory for the new 911 RSR was achieved – the greatest success of the season so far.

 

Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “The maiden victory with a new car is always a particularly emotional moment. And if you can bring home a double victory and even overall victory, then that makes you incredibly proud. I’m proud not only of our team here in the USA, but also of our colleagues in Weissach and our sister team in the WEC. This success belongs to us all. We can now build on this over the rest of the season. In the race, our 911 RSR was faster than the competition when the temperatures were initially high, but found it a little tougher once it cooled down. In terms of our race strategy, we again did very well today. For the most part, our cars had a clear run. On this short racetrack where overtaking is very difficult, that proved to be a key to success.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Incredible. We had to wait so long for this victory but now it’s finally happened. The entire team worked brilliantly this weekend. This circuit suits our 911 RSR well and we immediately found a super setup. It was a tough battle over the whole distance. Our car was consistently fast today, but you always have to stay fully focused. With so many cars out on the track you inevitably swap paint with your rivals. Luckily, everything went well. It was a fantastic weekend. We’re now going to enjoy our success and then attack again at Road America in a fortnight.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “We’ve worked towards this day for a long time. We had to cope with several setbacks this season, but we never threw in the towel. It’s wonderful that the first win for the new 911 RSR has finally come. And the fact that it’s my first win as a Porsche works driver makes this achievement very special. This racetrack certainly has it all. Because it’s so short, it’s a constant fight for positions and nonstop overtaking maneuvers. The fans definitely enjoyed it. We did too. It’s a great day for Porsche.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “I’m pleased for Porsche. The first win for the new 911 RSR as well as our second place is a great result. It was a dream come true for me. We started from pole and held the lead over long stints. But then we had to pit early after a minor excursion onto the grass. Personally, I’m somewhat disappointed, but that’s racing. The important thing is the win for Porsche. I’m thrilled that I could contribute to this double victory.”

 

Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “I’m delighted for the squad and for Porsche. The maiden victory for the new 911 RSR plus second place – that’s a fantastic result of which we can all be very proud. We’ve worked very hard towards this day. The race from pole position went well for me until shortly before my pit stop when I suddenly lost the rear and ended up on the grass. That put an end to our fight for victory. Congratulations to my team colleagues.”

 

Best-Placed 911 RSR Finishes Sixth at Watkins Glen

It was not a race for the faint-hearted. Right up until shortly before the end of Sunday’s six-hour race in Watkins Glen, the battle for victory in the GTLM class was still raging. The new No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR was well-positioned in third place, just seconds behind the leader. However, the result of race five of this season’s IMSA SportsCar Championship was then turned on its head. Rather than being able to mount a final attack on the leaders, Gianmaria Bruni was forced to return to the pits due to a puncture. The Italian appeared to be punctuating his debut as a Porsche works driver with a podium, but he and teammate Laurens Vanthoor (Belgian) ultimately had to settle for sixth place.

 

In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, the No. 911 car, Partick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished seventh. The fact that seven of the eight cars led the race on at least one occasion bears testimony to just how fiercely contested the GTLM class was once again in Watkins Glen.
 
The No. 911 car was well placed for much of the race at the iconic 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International circuit in upstate New York. After the first hour of racing, Patrick Pilet, who started from fifth, had climbed into third place in temperatures as high as 86F. A few laps later, he was running second.
 
He handed the 911 RSR over to his teammate Dirk Werner in second place. The German was still second at the halfway point of what proved to be an exciting and dramatic sports car classic, in which numerous yellow phases repeatedly caused the field to bunch together. But then it happened: he spun off the track in the chicane and damaged his rear-right tire. Werner did manage to regain control of the 911 RSR in the run-off zone, which was a generous size at this section of the track, and was able to return to the pit lane. He did, however, lose a lap, and with it any hope of a top result.
 
Laurens Vanthoor took responsibility for the start in the second 911 RSR, before making way for Gianmaria Bruni during the first pit stop after 34 laps. The new Porsche works driver completed his first race laps in the 911 RSR and was able to climb into fourth place. Laurens Vanthoor then enjoyed even more success: the Belgian took the lead for the first time after four hours.
 
The scheduled pit stop just a few laps later did initially drop the No. 912 car back into fourth place, but Gianmaria Bruni soon got the car back on course for a podium, moving into third place in his second stint. With just two laps remaining, the leading GLTM trio was separated by a matter of seconds. However, before he was able to try his luck and mount an attack, a damaged tire dashed the Italian’s hopes.

 

Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “The 911 RSR was set up very well for the race. We had banked on the temperature being hot, and that worked out superbly. We were very competitive today. However, we then made a mistake as a team and were also unlucky with tire damage. You cannot do much about that, but the combination of factors was simply too much to win such a difficult race against such strong opposition. The pace was there. That was not the issue today. We will build on that and push hard again next week in Canada.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was not our weekend. We were running second when a mistake cost us the race. We were unable to make up the lap we lost. Maybe we might have had a chance of doing so if it had rained harder at the end. Despite this, we will look ahead, as the pace was good. We will drive in Canada in a week’s time. That circuit is very well suited to the 911 RSR. We saw that during testing.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “I spun in the chicane, after which the rear-left tire was damaged. It is a shame that the race had to end like that for us. It was very unfortunate. The 911 RSR was running very well and the team worked hard to support us, as it always does. Everyone deserved a better result than that.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We should really have been challenging for the win at the end. The 911 RSR had the necessary pace. However, everything suddenly went against us. We will now try to do better in Canada.”

 

Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “I am both disappointed and happy at the same time. Disappointed because we had a lot of bad luck and did not get the result we deserved, despite a good performance. I am happy because we showed today what great potential we have as a team. It is a shame that two punctures and a drive-through penalty cost us what would almost certainly have been a podium. I overtook a GTD car, when I was suddenly shown the yellow flag. However, I was already past. I dropped straight back in behind it, but the stewards took a hard line. That was my first race for Porsche, and my first race after an eight-month break. I cannot tell you how much I have missed this feeling.”

 

Best 911 RSR Narrowly Misses Podium at COTA

AUSTIN, Texas (May 7, 2017) – After a successful start to the season in the USA, the new Porsche 911 RSR narrowly missed out on securing its third podium result in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin. With the 510 hp racing car, which is a totally new development of Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) secured fourth in the GTLM class after holding the lead at one point. In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) took the flag in eighth place.
 
Patrick Pilet got off the line well at the 3.4-mile Grand Prix circuit near the capital of Texas. When several cars became entangled during the sprint to the first turn, Pilet managed to avoid the melee and launch a pursuit race from fourth place. First he snatched third and several laps later he overtook another competitor. After almost an hour of racing he was in the lead. This pace, however, could not go on. His teammate Dirk Werner, who took the wheel of the 911 RSR, was first shunted by a GTD car, and was then handed a 60-second penalty for running the red light at pit exit. As a result, all hopes for a possible podium finish were dashed. After two hours and forty minutes, Patrick Pilet finally took the checkered flag in fourth place.
 
The Turn 1 accident put an early end to the race for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR shortly after the start. Wolf Henzler, who replaced Kévin Estre (France) at Austin so that the Frenchman could contest the WEC round in Spa, rejoined the race in fifth after the first stop for repairs. However, associated damages required longer repairs in the team garage. When Laurens Vanthoor finally returned to the racetrack, he was too far behind to make up any positions.
 
Round five of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on July 2 at Watkins Glen in upstate New York, following a break after the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 
 
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “Everything actually ran according to plan with the 911. Our strategy to strengthen the car in the practices worked perfectly. We managed to take over the lead. In the middle stint, however, we were shunted by a GTD car, which affected the rear aerodynamics. The penalty for not seeing the lights in the pit lane was the final straw. Although we continued to fight our way back up, it was not enough for a podium. Now we have time to analyze the first third of the season. This is what we’ll do and after the summer break we’ll be back in full force.”
 
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “This race was pretty disappointing. We had the best chances to do well here, but it was our own fault that it didn’t succeed. We make mistakes that shouldn’t happen. I hope things go better for us at the next race in Watkins Glen.”
 
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “We had the chance for a podium result here. It’s a shame that we didn’t managed to use it. At the exit of the pit lane I was alongside a BMW and I didn’t notice – for whatever reason – that the pit lights were red. The resulting penalty cost us the race, what’s more I had already been sent into a spin by a GTD car prior to this. All in all, it wasn’t a great race for us.”
 
Wolf Henzler (911 RSR #912): “I didn’t imagine my first race this season with the 911 RSR would be like this. In the very first corner after the start, a Ford and a Ferrari had a big encounter and that set off a chain reaction. When I sped up right behind a Corvette, it suddenly spun. I couldn’t avoid it and we collided. Our 911 RSR was so badly damaged that the resulting repairs cost us all chances of a good result.”
 
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “By the time I climbed into the car for my stint, the race was as good as over for us. That was not a great weekend for us. We’ll now go testing and hopefully we’ll return stronger after the summer break.”

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.”

Brilliant Strategy But a Lot of Bad Luck for Porsche GT Team

SEBRING, Fla. (March 19, 2017) – At the 12 Hours of Sebring, the new Porsche 911 RSR was on course for a podium result until shortly before the finish. Then, a tire puncture and drive-through penalty put an end to Patrick Pilet’s spectacular late-race charge.

 

The Frenchman had fought his way through the field in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR and was poised to snatch the lead. After 334 laps on Sebring International Raceway, the legendary airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, the Porsche works driver and his teammates Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) ultimately had to settle for seventh place in the GTLM class. In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Richard Lietz (Austria) took the flag in eighth place.

 

The 65th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, which started in summer temperatures of over 77F, treated fans to gripping racing from start to finish, particularly in the strongly represented GTLM class, which was packed with drama. Before the final pit stop the field was still running close together. Right up until this time, Porsche’s strategy to setup the 911 so that it would perform at its best in the cooler hours of the evening unfolded brilliantly. But during a tire change, an impact wrench suddenly gave up the ghost, resulting in a longer pit stop than planned for the No. 911 car. As a consequence, Patrick Pilet fell down the field from second to fifth place.

 

The Frenchman, who started the season with a second-place finish with his teammates at the 24 Hours of Daytona, refused to give up. Putting in breathtaking overtaking maneuvers and turning the fastest race lap, he battled his way up the order in a very short time to retake second place and was within striking distance of the leader. His spirited final charge, however, came to an abrupt end 33 minutes before the finish. Due to a tire puncture, he had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop, and after the front left tire was changed he drove over the hose of the wheel gun. The drive-through penalty that he received for this destroyed all hopes of clinching his second podium result of the season.

 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “We witnessed a very dramatic race and up until 33 minutes before the end, everything was looking good. We had a tough fight for first place with the Corvette but then suffered a slow puncture on the front left tire. We had to pit and change the tire and after that we could forget about victory. With our number 912 car, the unplanned pit stop due to a leaking damper cost us three laps and all chances of winning. This car was also running very well.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Our plan was to have the best car at the end of the race. This meant that it wasn’t so easy driving during the heat of the day, but once it cooled down we were very clearly the fastest on the track. The team did an excellent job. The strategy had been perfect. After the last pit stop we had a good chance to win. The tire puncture was annoying. It wasn’t pit crew error, it was just bad luck.”

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “The pace of the car was very good and under normal circumstances it would have been enough to win here. Patrick was running in a very good position when he got the puncture. It’s hard to lose the fight for victory like this. Still, we had a great weekend and we put in a good race. The performance of the entire team was outstanding and we were so close to winning our first race.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #911): “It’s really disappointing. The team had done such a great job and we had a very good strategy. We knew that we would get stronger in the second half of the race when the temperatures cooled down, and that worked perfectly, too. Patrick’s flat tire cost us the victory. That was just simply unfortunate.”

Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a tough race. Our car had the pace to run with the leaders. The track worked better for us in the second half of the race when it got cooler. Unfortunately, we then had the problem that cost us three laps. We were able to make up one of those laps, but we couldn’t do any more than that.”

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR # 912): “Our pace was very good. Unfortunately, we lost three laps because of a leaky damper. Because there were comparatively few caution phases, we weren’t able to make up much ground in the final hours.”

Richard Lietz (911 RSR # 912): “Sebring is merciless, but we knew this beforehand. We had a good car and I enjoyed driving here with my teammates. We did our very best, but unfortunately we had the problem with the rear left damper. Things like this can happen, particularly on a bumpy circuit like this one. We were well prepared, we did a great deal of testing here in Sebring, but sadly it ultimately wasn’t enough for a better result.”

 

911 RSR Takes Second Place in Race Debut

At the 24 Hours of Daytona, Porsche factory drivers Patrick Pilet, Fred Makowiecki and Dirk Werner secured second place with the 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team factory squad. After 634 laps on the demanding Daytona International Speedway, they were just 2.988 seconds shy of claiming victory.

 

The 55th running of the Daytona 24-hour race proved tremendously challenging for drivers and teams, especially during Saturday night with steady rain and unusually cool temperatures. The race was repeatedly interrupted by safety car phases after many pilots lost control of their vehicles on the rain-soaked course and ended up trackside.

 

The longest of the 21 safety car phases lasted over two hours. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the race director made the decision for safety reasons due to the flooding on the racetrack. More than two hours – even the safety car ran out of fuel.

 

In the first race hours on the storied racetrack featuring two fast banked corners and a twisty infield, the 510 hp 911 RSR racers, designed from scratch by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, lost time and positions due to six unscheduled tire changes. After the problem with the right front tires was solved by further optimizing the setup, both 911 RSR began to re-establish their rhythm. When heavier rain made conditions even more difficult, they fought their way to the top of the GTLM class and led the field over many laps on the 5.729-kilometre-long speedway.

 

Sports car fans did not let the bad weather spoil their fun and witnessed breathtaking fights for positions over the entire race distance, with constantly changing cars in the lead.

 

The race showed that the level of competition in the GTLM class is enormous. None of the vehicles of the five automobile manufacturers contesting this category could build a convincing lead over the course of the race. When the sun came up on Sunday, the field was as close as it had been the night before. Both 911 RSR had turned consistently fast laps to secure a good starting position, only to have an unscheduled pit stop for repairs on the right front suspension throw the No. 912 vehicle out of contention for a podium spot. Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Richard Lietz (Austria) ultimately took the flag in sixth place.

 

However, their team colleague Patrick Pilet crowned his impressive final stint after an ongoing four-way battle with Ford, Ferrari and Chevrolet with a well-deserved second place. Thanks to this result, he secured a good position for Porsche in the North American Endurance Cup, for which the long distance classics of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans in addition to Daytona count.

 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “That was an incredible race and a great debut for our new 911 RSR. We were only two seconds off victory after 24 hours, but that doesn’t matter in this case. It was an extremely tough race, a fantastic fight for victory. Despite the bad weather conditions, the fans were treated to everything that makes racing so exciting. Both 911 RSR made it to the finish well and without any real problems.”

 

Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “I’m incredibly proud of my boys. The entire team spent 18 months giving their utmost so that we could tackle this race with a competitive car. Whether in Weissach, with our tire partner Michelin, or with our squad, every single person did everything they could. Today we reaped the rewards for this.

 

“It was an extremely gripping race to the finish. In the beginning we had some slight problems with the tires because we first had to find out where our limit was with the setup for the decisive final phase, but we never gave up and we fought back. The fighting spirit shown in the team made this possible. I’m incredibly proud of our works driver squad. They are our greatest asset. These guys don’t make any mistakes and always deliver top performances.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a typical Daytona race. I knew that not a lot would happen in the first 20 hours and the decision always goes down to the wire. That’s why I didn’t take too many risks, and didn’t fight for every position come what may. I possibly made some team member nervous by taking this approach, but I knew exactly how things work here. Then during the last two hours I pulled out all stops and squeezed every last ounce out of the 911 RSR. Now I’m pleased. It was the maiden outing for our new car and the one little drawback was that we didn’t win. Still, it was an important step. Now I’m looking forward to Sebring.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “That was a very emotional race for me; my first as a Porsche works driver. It certainly wasn’t for the fainthearted, particularly in the final phase. Patrick really gave everything he had and a couple of times I thought he might even win, but only a fraction was missing at the flag. Still, it was virtually a perfect race. The team worked really well together and the potential of the new 911 RSR makes us very optimistic. I take my hat off to the people who developed this car.”

 

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #911): “Congratulations to the entire team. What a great start to the season. The time that was invested in developing the new 911 RSR has paid off. The concept is good and it works. Of course not everything ran smoothly today, but we never gave up and we always fought back. One thing is certain – we’re back in the game.”

 

Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “That was a really cool race. Seven cars within ten seconds after 24 hours – you don’t get that very often. We were there when it counted, but not quite enough to have a say in the fight for victory. The whole team did their utmost. Daytona was just the beginning.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR # 912): “Daytona was my first race for Porsche, my first with the 911 RSR and the first in the USA. Everything actually went well, even though there’s room for improvement as far as the result goes. But I didn’t make any mistakes and that’s important. I wasn’t totally happy with my performance, I can do better, but I still have a bit of time. The car has potential and that makes me optimistic for the rest of the season.”

 

Richard Lietz (911 RSR # 912): “That was a great debut for the new 911 RSR. The car ran almost perfectly. The entire squad again worked together like clockwork. This gives Porsche a great foundation for the rest of the season. Now I’m curious to see how we perform at Sebring.”

Porsche Finishes 1-2 in Texas Heat

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 17, 2016) – At the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) won the penultimate GTLM race of the IMSA SportsCar Championship with the Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche North America works team. With five manufacturers, this category is the most hotly contested. Their teammates Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) clinched second with the 470hp winning racer from Weissach, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. After Long Beach, this is the second win this season for the 911 RSR in the USA.

In temperatures reaching 95 degrees, Pilet got the best start on the 3.4-mile circuit in the hills near the Texas capital. At the wheel of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, the defending IMSA GT champion snatched one position in the first lap and slotted into second place behind the leading Ferrari. Making the most of his slipstream, Frédéric Makowiecki (No. 912) also swept past the rival. These three then proceeded to pull clear of their pursuers, putting both 911 race cars on course for podium results shortly after the start.

At the first pit stop, Tandy took over driving duties from Pilet, with whom he had won the Long Beach race earlier this season. On the 27th lap, he moved into the lead of the GTLM field. In the second 911 RSR, Bamber maintained third place. In lap 35, the Ferrari again took the lead, but the 911 RSR kept the frontrunner under heavy pressure. With 25 minutes left in the two-hour and 40-minute race, the Ferrari had to make an unscheduled pit stop, thus handing the lead at the hottest race of the year to Porsche. In the final phase, Bamber overtook his leading teammate and secured the first win of the season for he and Makowiecki in the most important sports car championship on the North American continent.
 
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “That was an incredibly exciting race: a heated battle in which the tires played a major role. We profited somewhat from Ferrari’s bad luck, but we then drove a clean race to the flag. All in all it was a great performance from the drivers and teams under difficult conditions. I’m very pleased.”
 
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR No. 911): “A fantastic success for Porsche. I got away well off the line and passed the Ford. After that the race ran problem-free. Our car has proven hugely consistent over the entire season. We were able to successfully utilize the strength of the 911 RSR under these extreme conditions.”
 
Nick Tandy (911 RSR No. 911): “This race was perfect for Porsche. With the exception of the Ferrari we could control the whole field. I’m also delighted for our teammates in the 912. They really deserve this win. For us it was great to be back on the podium.”
 
Earl Bamber (911 RSR No. 912): “This victory belongs to the entire team. We saw today that the 911 RSR was the most consistent car over the distance under such extreme conditions. First and second place – a great success for Porsche.”
 
Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR No. 912): “We didn’t necessarily have the fastest car today, but we could maintain a decent pace over the entire race distance. We’ve been working towards this win over the whole season. Finally everything came together. This is precisely the motivation we need heading to the season finale at Road Atlanta.”
 

The eleventh and final round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on October 1st on the storied Road Atlanta

Porsche Back on Podium After Gripping VIR Race

DANVILLE, Va. (Aug. 29, 2016) – In the sweltering heat of VIRginia International Raceway, Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) kept a cool head. At the wheel of their 470 hp Porsche 911 RSR, the pair clinched third place after a gripping pursuit through the field at round nine of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. For Porsche, this marks the first podium result in the most important sports car racing series on the North American continent since May 1st. Back then, they also finished third at the Laguna Seca round with the GT racer, which was developed in Weissach based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. In the sister 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche North America works team, the Long Beach winners Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) earned vital championship points for sixth place.

Spectators lining the tradition-steeped 5.263-kilometre race circuit in Virginia were treated to some action-packed racing, despite the absence of the Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes. In hot summer temperatures reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers delivered tough duels for positions, particularly in the GTLM class in which five automobile manufacturers battle for victories and titles. After the first round of pit stops, Earl Bamber took over driving duties from Frédéric Makowiecki in the No. 912 and was running in third place. After a difficult qualifying, the Frenchman had taken up the race from the ninth grid spot but made up ground with consistently fast lap times. Patrick Pilet took over from Nick Tandy and was sitting in fifth. But in the 48th lap, the two left the track in quick succession and lost positions. Patrick Pilet had to return to the pits to remove pieces of grass that he’d collected on his No. 911 from his excursion into the grass.

Despite this setback, the Porsche pilots didn’t give up. In a dramatic closing stage of the race, which was shortened by the one and only caution phase in the entire two-hour and 40-minute race, Earl Bamber took up the charge again with the No. 912 and, after a spirited chase, brought it to a successful conclusion by reclaiming third place. Patrick Pilet, who had at times fallen back to eighth place, finished the race in sixth.

Round ten of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 17 September on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin in the US state of Texas.

Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “That was a great performance from the entire team. The fact that they performed excellently in such heat over the entire weekend deserves every respect. In the middle stint we had our work cut out for us with both 911 RSR. Our drivers pushed the limits and both left the track briefly. But for the last stint we had everything under control again. Although luck wasn’t on our side recently at Road America, today the late caution phase worked in our favor. Now we can travel to the next round in Austin feeling very optimistic.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Of course we had expected a better outcome. The 911 RSR ran well and the team gave us excellent support. Unfortunately, I made too many mistakes. I probably just wanted too much and that didn’t go well. It’s a shame because we had a chance at the podium.”

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “That race was really intense. After the start I enjoyed some great fights for positions with other cars and it was huge fun. Halfway through the race I lost some time unfortunately, but by the end Patrick was running strongly again. Although it didn’t work out with the much anticipated podium result, at least we earned important points towards the championship today. Hopefully we’ll finish on the podium in Austin.”

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “What crazy final laps. At last we’ve achieved another podium for Porsche, the last one was a while ago. The fans witnessed an exciting and eventful sports car race. It was exactly what they wanted. In Austin, we now aim to continue from where we left off.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “This race was an emotional rollercoaster. We had difficult moments, we had great moments – and ultimately we had the necessary race luck. It’s a great feeling to stand on the podium again. I’m very proud of our team. We had a perfect race strategy and super fast pit stops. That was a solid effort.”

Race result:
1. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 90 laps
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 90
3. Bamber/Makowiecki (NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 90
4. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 90
5. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW M6, 90
6. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 90
7. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 90
8. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW M6, 89
9. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, 86