All posts in “Porsche 911 RSR”

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.”

 

Porsche 911 RSR Second at Road America

 ELKHART LAKE, WISC. (Aug. 7, 2017) – The new Porsche 911 RSR continues on the road to success in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. A fortnight after its maiden victory at Lime Rock, the 510hp racer from Weissach clinched second in the GTLM class in a heart-stopping finale on the legendary Road America racetrack.

After the 2:40-hour race on the 4.048-mile circuit close to Elkhart Lake in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were a mere six-tenths of a second off claiming victory. The pair also scored second at Porsche’s double victory at Lime Rock recently.

Their team colleagues and the winners of the Lime Rock race, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany), lost ground after a collision in the final phase and ultimately had to settle for eighth. The Porsche GT Team fields the 911 RSR which was developed from scratch specifically for this season on the basis of the high-performance 911 GT3 RS sports car.

At the wheel of the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, Gianmaria Bruni initially managed to advance from fourth to third place. In his slipstream, Patrick Pilet even overtook two competitors in the No. 911 racer. The two held onto these positions until the first round of pit stops.

For Porsche, the race remained rather unspectacular – until the last hour. Laurens Vanthoor, Gianmaria Bruni’s teammate, made the most of a short pit stop to snatch the lead. However, when the race went green after a safety car phase, he veered too wide and had to let the Ford past. In a gripping finale, he pulled out all the stops and tried everything to reclaim the lead, but was ultimately pipped at the flag. For Dirk Werner, who took over from Patrick Pilet, the restart was even more dramatic: after falling victim to an accident involving a Corvette, he ended up in the gravel and was robbed of a good result.

Round nine of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 27 August at the Virginia International Raceway in Danville in the U.S. state of Virginia.

Dr Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development Porsche AG: “The Porsche GT Team missed out on clinching the second-straight win by a fraction of a second on this fantastic racetrack. But once again, everyone put in a strong team effort. The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a blue ribbon sports car series. Fans witness gripping and fiercely contested races, especially in the GT categories. I found it interesting to follow the tremendous teamwork from the pits during the qualifying session.”
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “We kept improving over the whole race weekend. During practice we saw that we couldn’t match the pace of the fastest over a lap. So we concentrated on preparing for the race. That paid off. In the race we were up with the play until the end and we were in a position to fight for victory. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. Still, we’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made over the weekend. It’s a shame that our number 911 racer was virtually kicked out of contention in a collision in the first corner after the restart. This cost us a lot of championship points. This car, too, was totally competitive today. We’ll be taking a lot of positive insights with us to the next round in Virginia. Until then, we’ll focus on the things that still need working on.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “What a rollercoaster race. We came into the pits earlier than scheduled prior to a caution phase, because we suspected we had a tire problem, and that cost us the lead. We definitely had some luck on our side because there was nothing wrong with the tires. After the restart, I wanted to overtake a slower GTD vehicle but he blocked me and that led to a mistake. It’s annoying to lose the lead and possibly even victory because of this, but such things happen. Nevertheless, finishing second on this tricky circuit is a good result.”
Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “That was a really tough race. I got away well at the start, but the Ford managed to overtake me in corner three. The team had worked out a great strategy, which Laurens implemented almost perfectly after the pit stop. Right up until shortly before the finish I thought we might win. But second place is a great result and a good motivation for the remaining races of the season.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Our 911 RSR ran brilliantly again today, and the team provided great support. Unfortunately it just wasn’t our race. It’s a pity, because we were actually good enough to win at Road America, too, but we just couldn’t do it. Now we’ll try again in Virginia.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “In the closing phase of the race we still had every chance open to us. After the final round of pit stops I was running in fifth and I wanted to overtake the Corvette in front of me after the safety car phase. But, while braking, he pulled to the left in the last moment and forced me into the gravel trap. He was given a penalty, but that didn’t do us any good. I’m pleased for our team colleagues in the No. 912 car and I hope that we can make more out of our good possibilities in Virginia.”

 

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 The 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-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.”