• Porsche Podium. Spirited Run Earns Factory Effort Podium Place at Sebring. • Job Well Done. Driver Sebastian Job Is Big Winner of Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Round Six. • Archangel On High. First-Year Porsche Privateer Earns First IMSA Podium.
Event Story Lines.
Porsche Podium. Spirited Run Earns Factory Effort Podium Place at Sebring.
Porsche continued its streak of podium finishes at round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, July 18. Factory drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) earned a hard-fought third-place finish with the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR at the Sebring International Raceway in the two-hour, 40-minute Grand Prix of Sebring. The No. 911 sister car driven by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) took the flag in the fiercely-contested GTLM class in sixth-place. Porsche has advanced up the manufacturers’ rankings to second-place.
Vanthoor made a catapult start to the race, starting from fourth on the grid, the defending champion of the North American sports car series swept into the GTLM-class lead after just half a lap. The Belgian defended his top spot until the first pit stop. Uncharacteristically, while exiting the pit lane, both Porsche 911 RSR collided. A total of four cars were involved in the incident. Tandy in the No. 911 suddenly had to dodge two Corvettes, Vanthoor made contact with the team car, which resulted in the right front fender and bumper tearing off. Two repair stops and a drive-through penalty cost the No. 912 approximately 20-seconds. As a result of the contact, the No. 911 punctured the left-rear tire costing it one lap when it returned to pit lane for a replacement Michelin. Thanks to an optimal strategy, daring overtaking maneuvers and the fastest stints of all GTLM vehicles, Bamber and Vanthoor ultimately reached the podium in third-place. Sixth-place was the best that Tandy and Makowiecki could muster.
In the GTD class for race cars complying with the FIA GT3 regulations, the entry fielded by the Wright Motorsports privateer squad was also hampered by an incident. Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) battled his way up the order into fourth-place at the wheel of the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R race car, until a small mistake resulted in a spin and contact with the turn 13 wall. After extensive repairs to the rear and side of the 500+hp customer race car, there was little that factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) could do during his middle stint behind the wheel. The No. 16 vehicle crossed the finish line in ninth-place.
As a result of the GTLM class podium finish – the third-consecutive this season – Porsche moved up to second-place in the Manufacturer’s standing, just four points off the lead. The reigning driver champions Bamber and Vanthoor now rank second as they head to round four at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on August 2, with their teammates Makowiecki and Tandy in fourth-place.
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations, IMSA Championship.
“It’s a disappointing result. Our race pace was very good, but unfortunately, several things went awry in the pit lane incident. In such situations, it’s about tenths of seconds and positions. While pulling out of the pits, three vehicles made contact, and unfortunately two of them were ours. It was our fault. We’ll analyze it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. But ultimately, at least one car finished on the podium. These points were very important for the championship.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Porsche deserved a better result today. Our car was definitely capable of winning. Sometimes things happen in motor racing that aren’t perfect. We have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. We lost a lot of points today, but we’ll regard our strong pace as a very positive sign and take it with us to the upcoming race at Road America.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I was part of the top group after the start and was looking good in the race. After just 15 laps we decided to change drivers under yellow. I can’t explain what happened in the pit lane, but the incident obviously cost us a lot of points. Judging by how fast Nick was later on, it’s clear that we could’ve gone for victory had the incident not happened. Unfortunately, we can no longer change that.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It was a tough day and it shouldn’t have been. Our two cars were very strong, but unfortunately, the pit incident cost us a lot of time. Laurens drove very strong stints and our strategy was optimal. That’s how we managed to mitigate the damages as much as possible. Today’s race could have thrown a spanner in the works in terms of the championship, but thanks to this podium result, we’re still looking good. We’ll now take this positive aspect to the next round at Road America.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“What a shame that this mistake in the pit lane prevented us from achieving a better result. I haven’t yet been able to explain precisely how this incident happened. Communication was definitely not perfect. Still, we fought our way up to third-place and that yielded us vital points. I hope that our mistake quota has been fulfilled and we’re spared such things as the season continues.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“A result that doesn’t reflect the potential of the day. Ryan [Hardwick] did a heck of a job running in the top-four. He was really in the mix there and then a small, perfect storm of timing and he was in the wall. That was effectively the end of our day. We soldiered on and we will take it from there and on to Road America.”
Job Well Done. Driver Sebastian Job Is Big Winner of Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Round Six.
Although Jeremy Bouteloup from VRS Coanda Simsport and Alejandro Sánchez (MSI eSports) were the winners of the double-header event at Silverstone, Sebastian Job (Great Britain), sim racing for the Red Bull Racing Esport squad, moved to the top of the championship leaderboard. The move came following fifth and third-place finishes in the pair of sim races on his virtual home turf. The previous leader of the standings, Joshua Rogers (VRS Coanda Simsport), slipped down the rankings to fourth-place. The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup championship is in its second season of virtual one-make racing on the iRacing platform.
In the 15-minute sprint race, polesitter Jeremy Bouteloup (VRS Coanda Simsport) won the dash to the first corner in the digital version of the 485 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car all competitors use just ahead of Patrik Holzmann (Red Bull Racing Esport) and Alejandro Sánchez. The German driver for the Redline squad, Maximilian Benecke, slotted into fourth-place. Several positions behind the leading pack, a duel between Job and Rogers promised to be gripping. Before the Silverstone weekend, Rogers held a six-point lead over Job. During the race, Bouteloup easily managed to pull clear of his pursuers. Towards the end of lap three, both Sánchez and Benecke whipped past second-placed Holzmann in the same corner. While the leading trio pulled away from the field, a battle for fourth-place unfolded between Graham Carroll (Red Bull Racing Esport), Job and Rogers. On the final lap, Job threw caution to the wind and went head-to-head with Carroll through multiple corners to ultimately take the flag in fifth-place. At the front, Bouteloup celebrated his first win of the season ahead of Sánchez and Benecke.
The 30-minute main race quickly turned disastrous for the series leader Rogers. Early in the event, the Australian veered from the ideal line in a left-hand curve and lost control of his virtual Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer. When he rejoined the competition, his car was hit hard, sending him spinning from the racetrack. Carroll also became entangled in the incident and was shunted into a spin. Both were relegated far down the field. Sánchez, in the meantime, had taken the lead from Bouteloup, who dropped from first to fourth-place. With Benecke and Job, the Spaniard pulled clear of the field. Shortly before the flag, the leading trio were separated by just 0.2 seconds. Sánchez managed to defend his lead spot and celebrated his first win of the season ahead of Benecke and Job, who now ranks first in the championship.
In addition to second-place, Benecke celebrated a special record as he became the first driver ever to break the 11,000 iRatings barrier. This individual rating is an indication of the overall skill and success of each driver.
After the sixth race weekend of the season, Sebastian Job leads the championship classification with 219 points, followed by Maximilian Benecke (201 points) and Alejandro Sánchez (198 points). On August 1, the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup will be contested on the digital version of Georgia’s Road Atlanta race circuit. With its combination of long straights, ultra-fast curves and significant elevation changes, the rollercoaster circuit presents special challenges.
Alejandro Sánchez, Driver, MSI eSports.
“It feels incredible to finally win in this fiercely contested championship against such strong competition. We found a good setup for our car; it was very competitive. My focus was on conserving the tires, making zero errors and being fast where it counted. But things got very tight at the end. My goal for this season was to win and stay in the top five of the series.”
Maximilian Benecke, Driver, Redline.
“It feels great to be the first iRacing driver to break the 11,000 iRatings mark! The race went well. I fought extremely hard to defend my second-place, so I’m delighted with the result. Silverstone is a tricky circuit. To overtake, you have to wait for the driver in front of you to botch it up. I waited for 25 minutes, but Alejandro didn’t make a mistake. That’s why he deserves to win. I’m happy with my second overall in the championship.”
Sebastian Job, Driver, Red Bull Racing Esports.
“I’m satisfied with third-place in the race, which has elevated me to the top of the leaderboard. We tackled this race a little differently because we’d learned a lot about tire wear at the previous races. I was hoping that the guys in front would make a mistake, but it didn’t happen. So, I never got into the right position to take on Maximilian. Still, it was great fun.”
Archangel On High. First-Year Porsche Privateer Earns First IMSA Podium.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge returned to competition for the first time since January on Friday, July 17 at Sebring International Raceway. The No. 7 Archangel Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport raced to a podium-finish in the two-hour event with Alan Brynjolfsson (Tampa, Florida) and Trent Hindman (West Long Branch, New Jersey) sharing the neon yellow machine to a third-place result. The second-round of the GT4-spec series marked the best finish for Archangel Motorsports since its return to fulltime competition this year. It last ran as an entrant 17 years ago. The podium celebration had special significance to team principal Mike Johnson as the veteran race caller celebrated his birthday over the weekend.
The two-driver series, which uses production-based machines in its top GS class, will return for Round Three at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Friday, August 2.
Mike Johnson, Principal, Archangel Motorsports.
“It feels great to bring the Archangel Motorsports name back to the podium for the first time in 17 years, and it’s even more special to do it on my birthday. When this race was announced we figured it would be a bad race for the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, since it has struggled in the heat, but the team and Porsche Motorsport worked really hard to get us some new parts that made all the difference today. A big thank you to the folks at IMSA that got us back on the track after this long break. I’m sure it was no easy feat. Now on to Road America and the rest of the season.”
Alan Brynjolfsson, Driver, No. 7 VOLT Lighting Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“It was great to be back to racing and we shook the cobwebs off quickly. The VOLT Porsche ran great and we were consistently at the sharp end of a competitive IMSA field all weekend. The unusual race went along with the unusual race weekend with all the new Covid-19 procedures. I’m very proud of the great job our whole team did. Trent was brilliant, as was Mike Johnson on strategy. Chris Andrews, our stellar engineer and the whole team put together a great pit stop to help push us forward many spots. It was a team effort made extra special by giving our team owner, Mike Johnson, a podium on his birthday! Happy Birthday Mike!”
Trent Hindman, Driver, No. 7 VOLT Lighting Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“So far 2020 has proven to be such a strange year, so it’s no surprise that our first event back in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is any different in terms of going against the status quo. Changing track conditions, rain, weather delays, a red flag... there’s always something new and exciting being thrown at the Archangel Motorsports team. We leave Sebring with a very satisfying third-place finish, which came down to the way Alan and our Archangel Motorsports crew adapted to the ever changing conditions of this race. Everybody did a fantastic job and came together to bring Mike his first podium finish for Archangel in 17 years and present him with a trophy on his birthday. Happy Birthday Mike!”
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