On the storied Road America racetrack at Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R scored second place in the GTD class at round eight of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (USA) shared the cockpit of the 500 hp customer racer, which Porsche built for worldwide GT3 series based on the production 911 GT3 RS sports car. With the 911 GT3 R fielded by the American Porsche customer team Park Place Motorsports, so far this season the pair have secured second place at the race in Detroit.
In the GTLM class, the most competitive category with five automobile manufacturers, the Porsche 911 RSR run by the Porsche North America factory squad were on course for a podium result with five minutes to go. In the most gripping race of the IMSA SportsCar Championship season so far, the crew managed to perfectly implement the insights gained during testing, practice and qualifying on this racetrack, but all hopes for a top result were dashed at the restart after the final caution phase. While fighting for victory, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) left the circuit in the number 911 Porsche 911 RSR. With the reigning IMSA GT champion Patrick Pilet (France), who had snatched the lead spot after an excellent start off the line, the pair ultimately had to settle for seventh place. Their team colleagues Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France), who joined the others at the front during the first hour of racing, were also robbed of a possible podium finish in the dramatic final phase. They crossed the finish line with the number 912 Porsche 911 RSR in fourth place.
Race quotes Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “What a fantastic race, which had it all. We put the pressure on right from the start and we could turn consistently fast laps. Everything that we had planned actually worked. A podium result would definitely have been possible. After the caution phase at the end we were very close to the front and Nick surprised the leader with a bold overtaking manoeuvre that could have handed him the victory. Unfortunately there was not enough room for three cars at that particularly spot, and the podium result that seemed so close was gone. All in all, this race was a ray of hope. We’ll continue to fight. Congratulations to the Park Place Motorsports customer team on achieving second place in the GTD class.”Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a very intense race. Nick’s move just before the flag was actually great. We could have won. He was holding a solid position – but then he was forced off. In spite of everything, we can all be proud this weekend. We’ve made great progress in terms of performance. Of course we want to continue improving, but we can build on this for the next races.”Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “Obviously I’m disappointed to have lost an almost certain podium position shortly before the finish. But the entire race was really tough with lots of contact. After the final caution phase, it would have been almost impossible to have fitted a piece of paper between the Ford, the Ferrari and me. I was determined to use my chance to win, which proved a little too ambitious and ended with my spin. But I see the many positive aspects. We had a good run right from practice to the qualifying and the race. Our lead underlined that we’re on the right track.”Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “We made progress here, but we still have to work on our performance. A podium result would definitely have been possible. It’s a shame that the race ended like this. Now we’ll concentrate on preparing for Virginia.”Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “Despite everything, it was a good race. We won’t give up and we’ll take a lot of important insights from this. Our class is so competitive that you simply have to drive at the limit to have any sort of chance. In my view, however, some of our rivals push too hard and are not pulled up for it.” Jörg Bergmeister (911 GT3 R #73): “That was a hard race. The podium came somewhat unexpectedly for us, but that makes it all the more fantastic. In the final phase I had resigned myself to finishing on fourth, but then two Audis in front of me made mistakes and, of course, I made the most of the situation.”
Round nine of IMSA SportsCar Championship will be held on 28 August on the Virginia International Raceway at Alton in the US state of Virginia.
Race resultGTLM class1. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, 70 laps2. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 703. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW M6, 704. Bamber/Makowiecki (NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 705. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 706. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 707. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 708. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW M6, 699. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 67
GTD class1. Bleekemolen/Keating (NL/USA), Dodge Viper GT3, 69 laps2. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 693. Nielsen/Balzan (DK/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 694. Lally/Potter (USA/USA), Audi R8, 695. Liddell/Davis /GB/USA), Audi R8, 6911. C. MacNeil/Müller (USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 6912. Farnbacher/Riberas (D/E), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 6913. D. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 69
Points’ standings GTLM class after 8 of 11 racesDriver1. Millner, Gavin, Corvette, 264 points2. Briscoe, Westbrook, Ford, 2513. Garcia, Magnussen, Chevrolet, 2234. Fisichella, Vilander, Ferrari, 2205. Bamber, Makowiecki, Porsche, 2195. Auberlen, Werner, BMW, 2196. Hand, Müller, Ford, 2097. Pilet, Tandy, Porsche, 2048. Edwards, Luhr, BMW, 192
Manufacturer1. Chevrolet, 262 points2. Ford, 2493. Porsche, 237 4. BMW, 2345. Ferrari, 230
Teams1. #4 Corvette Racing, 264 points2. #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 2513. #3 Corvette Racing, 2234. #25 BMW Team RLL, 2204. #62 Risi Competizione, 2205. #912 Porsche North America, 2196. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 2097. #911 Porsche North America, 2048. #100 BMW Team RLL, 192