• Porsche Textbook. Factory Effort Captures Full Slate of Class Titles in IMSA. • Talladega Days. Coca-Cola Porsche 911 RSR Does Demonstration Run Prior to NASCAR Superspeedway Race. • Vegas Lights. Porsche Customer Teams Close SRO Season at Las Vegas.
Event Story Lines.
Porsche Textbook. Factory Effort Captures Full Slate of Class Titles in IMSA.
The Porsche GT Team concluded the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 50th Anniversary season with GTLM class manufacturer, driver and team titles. At the final round of the season at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (Braselton, Georgia), the two Porsche 911 RSR race cars flying Coca-Cola colors finished in fifth and sixth-places in the all-factory team class. The 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans marked the 50th and final factory outing for the successful GT racer from Germany. The 510-horsepower race car won six of the eleven rounds on the 2019 IMSA calendar on the way to the Manufacturer Championship title. Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) were crowned the class drivers’ champions, with team honors going to the squad campaigning the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Fighting deep into the race for a podium result, the No. 912 with Bamber and Vanthoor, joined by Mathieu Jaminet (France), were spun in the closing lap by the overall race leader. The 2019 Champions would close the season with a fifth-place finish. The No. 911 sister car helmed by Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki (both France) secured a sixth-place at the end of the ten-hours of racing. As three-time race winners this year, Tandy and Pilet’s on-track performance secured the runner-up position in the drivers’ championship. In the GTD class, the Pfaff Motorsports customer team earned its third podium result of the season with the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The third-place finish for Canadian drivers Zacharie Robichon and Scott Hargrove along with Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) joins wins for the team at Lime Rock Park and Road America earlier this season.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“It’s a historic day for Porsche Motorsport. After winning the manufacturers’ and drivers’ world championship titles in the FIA WEC, we’ve now also secured the titles in the 2019 IMSA championship. Thanks to all the drivers and the entire Porsche team for their excellent performances. Our incredible team spirit and the common goal of winning races for Porsche have made this success story possible.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“That was definitely not our best race. We made a lot of small mistakes. Still, now it’s time to celebrate. We have every reason to party after winning all titles in the 2019 IMSA series. We’re now the champions of the FIA WEC and in North America – that’s something we can be extremely proud of.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
“Our competitors were better today. It didn’t go so smoothly for us. But we have our eye on the big picture. We’ve won the manufacturers’ title and claimed positions one and two in the drivers’ and team classifications. All in all, it was a phenomenal season. We’ll enjoy our successes, but we’ll also analyze today’s race.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The race wasn’t easy, because we lacked some speed unfortunately. We don’t yet know the reason for this. Still, it’s a great day for Porsche. Together, we won all the titles. Congratulations to Earl and Laurens on winning the drivers’ championship. I’m now looking forward to the party we’ll have to celebrate being crowned manufacturers’ champions.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“You can’t win every race. Today wasn’t our day. Still, we achieved our goal of winning the championship. Congratulations to the entire Porsche squad and especially to Earl and Laurens. After a great season, the guys deserve to be champions.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It was a perfect season for Porsche. If you take home all the titles in the enormously competitive GTLM class, then it’s proof of perfect teamwork, strong performances in the cockpit and an extremely competitive car. The Porsche 911 RSR has enabled us to secure many victories. The new 911 RSR has some big shoes to fill next season.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The race was simply exhausting because we had to fight over ten hours. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace to win today. Still, in spite of all the problems, we were within striking distance of the podium until the last lap. And that’s exactly what set us apart in this incredible season. Our perfect teamwork always gave us the opportunity to be right up the front when the going got tough. Now we’ll celebrate our titles.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I came to Porsche three years ago. I finally got the chance to drive in the USA. It’s something I’ve always wanted. The IMSA series was completely new territory for me. I had to get used to the race tracks, the processes and the car. Now I’ve won the title with my friend Earl. For me personally, a dream has come true.”
Mathieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a tough race. In the high temperatures in the first half of the race we weren’t fast enough. Only when the sun went down were we able to utilize the full potential of our Porsche 911 RSR. We fought to the last second, but it wasn’t enough. Still, the most important thing was to win the title – and that’s what we did. I’m proud to have contributed to this.”
Vegas Lights. Porsche Customer Teams Close SRO Season at Las Vegas.
Porsche GT3 and GT4 customer teams will close the SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) road course on October 18 – 20. The GT battles comes down to the final two rounds of the season with three Porsche 911 GT3 R customer race cars entered in the 90-minute feature races. This marks the first time that SRO has raced on the “roval” at LVMS and will have the added challenge of both GT races scheduled for Saturday, October 19 with the final race taking the green flag at 7:30 p.m. local time.
Leading the Porsche customer squads is the No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports entry for Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Porsche Selected Driver Scott Hargrove (Canada). The pair has already stood in victory lane for the Pro-Pro class earlier this season. Wright Motorsports also brings the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche 911 GT3 R with Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) joining Brooklyn, New York’s Anthony Imperato for the Pro-Am class. K2R Motorsports closes out its inaugural season in the Pro-Am class with veteran Indy car driver Alex Barron and Kevan Millstein in the No. 38 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The weekend will also see two 50-minute SRO GT4 America Sprint races – one on Saturday and one on Sunday – as well as a pair of GT4 America SprintX races. The 60-minute, two-driver format races will also run on Saturday and Sunday. The Sprint race entry list has seven of the German marque’s international GT4-spec contender, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport spread across seven teams. GMG Racing’s No. 2 entry will have Jason Bell while Park Place Motorsports brings the No. 7 for Alan Brynjolfsson’s pursuit of the international Porsche Cup to Vegas. Matt Brabham brings his racing family’s name to LVMS in the No. 20 CRP Porsche and Matt Travis slides behind the wheel of the NOLASPORT No. 46 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. TRG will have race winner Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 66 and Kevan Millstein will do double duty racing not only the K2R Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GT series but the No. 83 K2R-prepared 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the GT4 Sprint races. The famous Flying Lizard brand sees Michael Dinan racing the No. 210 Porsche in Sprint race.
The SprintX races will see seven more of the mid-engine road-based machines. For the 60-minute, two-driver races, GMG will pair Bell with team principal/driver James Sofronas in the No. 2. TRG, the longtime Porsche entrant, as two entries in the SprintX with Derek DeBoer and James Rappaport piloting the No. 17 and Chris Bellomo/Kevin Woods in the famous No. 67. Flying Lizard has the No. 21 on the entry list for Dinan and Robby Foley while NOLASPORT pairs Travis with Jason Hart for the longer GT4 race. BGB Motorsports has been a contender in GT4 races since the class’s inception and has Thomas Collingwood and John Tecce driving the No. 69. Park Place Motorsports enters Brynjolfsson and Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Trent Hindman in the No. 77 VOLT Lightning race car.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"Other than Daytona, rovals don’t factor into modern GT racing very often, but I have a lot of great memories racing at them. It’ll be my first time driving the oval in Las Vegas, but I’ve raced outside on the road course. From an objective standpoint, a victory to close out the season is the goal. There are a lot of unknowns, but we’re going to try to lead from the onset and finish the season strong.”
Scott Hargrove, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"Heading to Las Vegas finale with Wright Motorsports is going to be very interesting. The track layout hasn’t been run in the past. It’s an unknown for everyone, but I wouldn’t want to be in any car other than the No. 58 Wright Motorsports/Porsche Consulting Porsche. Having Wright Motorsports on our car and Patrick Long as my teammate will give us a strong shot at a solid result. The goal is simply to finish out the year strong.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m super excited to go into the last round of the SRO America championship with Anthony and Wright Motorsports. It’s a new track for everyone in the category. Going into the weekend there are a lot of unknowns because the particular track layout has never been raced on. The goal is to end the year on a high and get that top step. We’ve been so close on many occasions, but it’s always slipped away from us. Hopefully we can tick that final box in Vegas.”
Anthony Imperato, Driver, No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m excited to head to the SRO America finale with Matt [Campbell]. There are going to be a lot of unknowns in Vegas because of the new track layout. Our goal is to get our first win of the season and I’m confident that Wright Motorsports will give us the Porsche to get the job done."
Talladega Days. Coca-Cola Porsche 911 RSR Does Demonstration Run Prior to NASCAR Superspeedway Race.
Immediately following the conclusion of the 10-hour Petit Le Mans – and the finale to the 50th Anniversary season of IMSA – the Porsche GT Team did a safety check of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR GTLM class championship runner-up and loaded the Coca-Cola retro-liveried machine into a transporter to make the three-hour drive to Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. The 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class Manufacturer, Team and Driver Champions were invited to run two demonstration laps on the world-famous banking prior to the 1000Bulbs.com 500. Longtime NASCAR fan and Porsche Factory Driver Nick Tandy (Great Britain) fastened the belts and turned two laps of the oval just minutes before the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race on Sunday, October 13. While only at pace car speeds, it was an opportunity for IMSA, Porsche and Coca-Cola to show the multi-championship-winning factory sports car to over 100,000 NASCAR fans on hand.
This was a very special – and unexpected – swan song for the Porsche 911 RSR (model year 2017) as the 2019 model year Porsche 911 RSR is scheduled to make its North American competition debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. The highly popular relationship of Coca-Cola and Porsche encouraged Talladega and NASCAR officials to welcome the IMSA sports car champions, and their red and white 510-horsepower race car for demonstration laps before the legion of stock car fans. The crowd erupted when Tandy did an extended burnout leaving the garage area bringing the flat-six normally aspirated Porsche race engine to full-song before accelerating up and onto the banking fulfilling a longtime dream of his to run the high-banked oval. The 24 Hours of Le Mans-winner concluded the run with a second burnout filling the Alabama sky with white Michelin tire smoke.
While internationally recognized as one of the great homes of NASCAR stock car racing, the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway is not new pavement to Porsche. On August 9, 1975, Mark Donohue and Team Penske set the then fastest lap closed course track record at 221.160 mph in a Porsche 917/30. On September 7, 2005, Mark’s son David set three Grand American speed records at Talladega in a Carrera GT Super Sports Car: Closed Course at 196.301, Measured Mile at 198.971 and the Measured Kilometer at 195.755 mph. Comedian and “The Late Show” TV host Jay Leno set a standing start speed record of 156.603 mph.
Talladega Superspeedway – originally known as Alabama International Speedway – was actually part of the IMSA schedule in 1972, 1974 – 1976 and 1978. Porsche legends Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg combined for a GTU class win in the inaugural IMSA race in 1972. In 1978, as part of the IMSA schedule of the time, racing legend Peter Gregg swept the weekend in a Brumos Racing Porsche 935 taking pole position, fastest race lap and the overall win in the No. 59. The German brand also claimed the GTO class win with a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR and GTU victory with a Porsche Carrera. In the final IMSA race in 1978, 21 Porsche race cars were entered in the six-hour race on the infield road course that echoes the track layout of Daytona International Speedway.
Nick Tandy, Porsche Factory Driver.
“I’ve always been a circle track and NASCAR fan, so I was excited to be chosen for the opportunity. Both NASCAR and Talladega were incredibly kind in welcoming us, and even included me in the drivers’ meeting. The two laps were icing on the cake in front of all those racing fans!
I want to say thanks to Coca-Cola for helping make it happen, along with my team for turning the car around overnight after the 10-Hour race at Road Atlanta.”
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