All posts in “Porsche 911 RSR”

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.”

 

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