Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Porsche Motorsport Schedule in North America. Upcoming Event.
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
Event: Grand Prix of Birmingham, Barber Motorsports Park
Dateline: Birmingham, Alabama
Date: Race 1. Saturday, April 22
Race 2. Sunday, April 23
Track Length: 2.38-miles, 15-turn
Race Duration: Two, 45-minute races
Class: Platinum (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2017)
Gold (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2014-2016)
Round: 3 and 4 of 14
Next Round: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York, June 29 – July 2, 2017
Event Story Lines.
Porsche Two-Three. 919 Hybrid Earns Two Podiums in WEC Opener.
Despite a well calculated but significant aerodynamic disadvantage, Porsche fought for the victory with the 919 Hybrid on Sunday at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. After six hours of racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season-opener on the challenging British Grand Prix circuit, the trio of Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) crossed the finish line just 6.173-seconds behind the winning No. 8 Toyota. The second Porsche 919 Hybrid of reigning world champion Neel Jani (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) finished in third-place.
The first race of the 2017 WEC was accompanied by typical cool and changeable British weather with rather low ambient and track temperatures of around 52-degrees (Fahrenheit) and occasional light rain. However, this did not hamper the atmosphere with 50,200 fans attending over the weekend.
The Porsche LMP Team – 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and world champion in 2015 as well as in 2016 – leads the manufacturers’ classification after the first of nine championship rounds on 33 points with Toyota second (26.5). In the drivers’ standings, the Porsche crews are currently second and third.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.
“This was a thriller for us as well as for the spectators. Due to our consequent decision for the low-downforce aero package, as expected we couldn’t be a threat in qualifying. Therefore, we are even happier about today’s second and third-place [finishes] with such a marginal gap to the winners. Our low downforce aerodynamic package now has its most difficult race behind it. We can very much look forward to the next race at Spa-Francorchamps. The fans there can expect to see even more from us. Thanks a lot to the entire team.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.
“Today’s second and third-place feels like a race win. I am very proud of every single team member in Weissach and here on site – it is amazing what this team achieved today. Despite the decision to come here with little aerodynamic downforce, both our cars were 100% reliable and very competitive. Additionally, our six drivers have again underlined what a high and balanced level they operate on. Congratulations to Toyota for a well deserved race win.”
Neel Jani, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“I was first in our car and at the start I struggled with some oversteer. I had two very big moments on lap one because the rear tires were not warm enough. Then, as expected, we were slower than the Toyotas but not by too much. It was all about managing the traffic on track and I had two situations that cost me a lot of time. On the second stint, when the tires were pretty used, it wasn’t easy to handle the front axle but still it was better than expected.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“It was good to have my first race with the team. I had no major issues but I’m still obviously in a learning process. The car requires a completely different driving style. Overall it was a positive race and better than expected as we thought we would be a lot weaker against the Toyotas.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“I felt comfortable with the car and all went well in my opening stint. It rained just after we had stopped for fuel. We had to do an extra stop for tires which was a shame and that dropped us down. The car was working well in the dry as well as in the damp. Before I came in to change from slicks [tires] to inters [intermediate tires], the track conditions were really tough. It was just a matter of trying not to crash. We rolled the dice on strategy with our car in my final stint by taking tires and although the pace was good, I couldn't pull back the time. That said, I'm really optimistic for the future after such a good run with both cars in this set-up.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“I had a good stint and the car was handling well. We had mixed and difficult conditions out there but we survived and managed to keep hanging on to the Toyotas and fight. We were actually competitive on a low downforce kit in Silverstone and this was excellent.”
Timo Bernhard, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“On my stint towards mid-race, it wasn’t really easy to find a good rhythm. I managed to follow the leading Toyota and the timing to change from slicks [tires] to inters [intermediate tires] was right, but it was pretty slippery out there. The necessary change back to slicks shortened the second half of my scheduled double stint from 29 to twelve laps.”
Brendon Hartley, Driver, No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“It was an action-packed first lap, getting the jump on Neel around the outside of Turn 3. He gave me room, which was good. I did my best to hang on to the Toyotas while at the same time trying to save a little fuel, which would open up our strategy. I was back in the car for the finish and it was very close, closer I think than many thought it would be but I was always optimistic. We took a gamble at the end by not taking tires to retain track position. Buemi was a little forceful although he'd have got through sooner or later but we can all be happy with second place.”
GT Podium. New Porsche 911 RSR Starts First WEC Season with Podium.
Much like its North American counterpart did in January, the Porsche GT Team and Porsche 911 RSR debuted in Europe with a podium finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opening round. The official Porsche “works” team in the WEC earned a third-place finish in the Six Hours of Silverstone. The result adds to the car’s worldwide tally of podiums. In four races – three in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the WEC first round in Great Britain – the entirely redesigned for 2017 RSR has captured three top-three finishes.
At the Silverstone, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) planted the No. 91 911 RSR third on the LMGTE-Pro class grid for the Easter Sunday race in front of more than 50,000 spectators. With four automobile manufacturers, this category is the most strongly represented and treated fans to 171 laps of thrills and spills right from the start.
The sky over the storied Silverstone Circuit in the British Midlands was overcast, a cold wind blew, and light showers fell especially in the second half of the race. However, this dampened neither the spirits of the enthusiastic British motor racing fans on the grandstands nor the pilots, who, instead of switching to wet tires on the partially wet track, stayed out on slicks and treated the spectators to gripping fights and spectacular overtaking maneuvers. The Porsche GT Team had used the entire qualifying session to prepare for the race and to save the Michelin racing tires. This season, only four instead of six sets of tires may be used per race weekend per a new regulations.
This strategy to focus on tire wear paid off. In the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR, Makowiecki made up three positions in the first lap; after nine laps he was already running in third-place. In his slipstream, his works driver colleague Michael Christensen (Denmark) turned consistently fast lap times in the No. 92 and was within striking distance of the frontrunners. After just half an hour, the Frenchman was in second-place with the Dane in third. In his pursuit of the leader, Makowiecki didn’t let the first drops of rain halt his charge. After 26 laps, he snatched the lead for the first time, which he then had to reclaim again and again over the course of the race. After two hours he handed the 911 RSR off to Lietz. In the No. 92, Kévin Estre (France) took the wheel and continued to chase down the front group. However, at just over the halfway mark, he had park his 911 RSR with a technical problem.
Makowiecki on the other hand seemed unstoppable. When the safety car was deployed a good two hours before the finish, he took over driving duties from Lietz and promptly turned the fastest lap of the race. With one hour and twelve minutes to go, he pulled into the pits as the leader. Even as he pitted for a splash-and-dash fuel stop shortly before the finish he was still running at the top. Since his rivals had already made their final pit stops at this stage, Makowiecki returned to the race action in fourth-place. Still, with a breathtaking final push in the final laps he managed to take-back third-place.
In the LMGTE-Am class, Porsche also had every reason to celebrate. With the 911 RSR campaigned by the customer squad Dempsey Proton Racing, the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) joined forces with his German teammates Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst to claim third-place after a dramatic final lap. Matteo Cairoli was also one of the pilots who secured second in the 911 RSR of Proton Competition at the season-opening round of the European Le Mans Series ELMS at Silverstone the day before. The LMGTE-Am category utilizes 2015 model year RSRs rather than the newest machine from Weissach.
Round Two of the WEC will be contested on May 6 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.
“That was a great race in the GTE-Pro class; extremely close and with spectacular overtaking maneuvers. It was a great advertisement for our sport. The spectators were truly given their money’s worth. Strategically, it was a very tough race, which was made even more interesting by the caution phases. It’s a shame that our number 91 contender had to retire with a technical problem, which is as yet unidentified. But basically we have the pace and that makes us confident for the next race. The GTE-Am class was also gripping from start to finish. In the final dramatic lap, our Dempsey Proton Racing customer team also clinched third-place, and they were rewarded for their strong team performance.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It was a very difficult race, particularly my stint with slicks in the rain. We can be very pleased with a podium place. Still, it was definitely a great and promising start to the WEC season.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We concluded this extremely tough race with a well-earned podium spot. In some situations we simply had luck on our side, but that’s just part of a strong and balanced field. Finishing third is more than we could have expected after our qualifying. Now we can build on this performance for the next races.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We were running well with our 911 RSR right from the start. Our strategy was to conserve our tires until the last two hours of racing. Everything actually ran according to plan. But towards the end of my double stint I suddenly lost power. A short time later I saw smoke and flames. It’s a shame that our first WEC race ended like this for our new 911 RSR.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The race started really well for us. Our strategy to use the qualifying to prepare for the race and save our tires worked brilliantly. This put us in the position to overtake several competitors and then match the pace of the frontrunners. At times we were in third place. That was all very positive. So we’re now looking ahead and we’re excited for the next race at Spa.”
Matteo Cairoli, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
“What a way to start my first WEC season. The race was a fantastic experience for me. I’m totally thrilled with third-place. In the last lap we had a little luck on our side, but we all deserved this podium result.”
Thundering Opener. Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA Opens Season.
Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA staged its opening event of the 2017 season this weekend with a double-header at Thunderhill Raceway Park that featured a 33-car entry for the Easter Weekend event. While both races ran under green flag conditions from green to checkered flag, it was a tale of two different races.
Saturday’s opening round ran under ideal conditions, with 18-year old series debutante Max Root demonstrating both patience and speed on his way to taking a breakthrough victory in his first series race start.
Sunday’s race ran under a steady rain, with two-time series champion Loren Beggs, who finished second in the first race of the weekend, converting his pole position into a big victory in his 911 Designs Diamond class machine.
The event was the first operated under the guidance of Series Director Steven Costello, who brings a lifetime of experience to the role – including working on the TWR Le Mans project that became the 1996 and 1997 Le Mans 24-winning Porsche WEC-95. Costello was also joined by Race Director Randy Buck as Competent Motorsport has continued to grow to provide a positive race experience for the many drivers and teams that have made the growing series the focal point of their competition programs.
Race 1 Winners
Diamond Max Root GT Teknik
Diamond Masters Tom Haacker TruSpeed Autosport
Platinum Ray Shahi TruSpeed Autosport
Silver Sean Mcallister Competition Motorsports
Silver Masters Steve Goldman Competition Motorsports
Race 2 Winners
Diamond Loren Beggs 911 Design
Diamond Masters Bryce Ward WR Winward Racing
Platinum Ray Shahi TruSpeed Autosport
Silver Jeff Kearl Rearden Motorsport Co.
Silver Masters Martin Brauns Flying Lizard Motorsports
Greg Franz, President, Competent Motorsport.
“It was great to kick our season off with a race like that – a lot of clean passing and some very good dicing all the way through the field. We have a very big field this weekend, and we’ve had some great feedback from our competitors about the changes we’ve integrated ahead of this season to make the weekends even better. So we are very happy to be back at the track and to be getting this season going again!”
Porsche Neurology. Calvert Named Medical Advisor to Pirelli World Challenge.
Porsche competitor Preston Calvert, driver/owner of the Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R in SprintX and 911 GT3 Cup in the Sprint Championships GT Cup class, has been named by WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge, Medical Advisor for North America’s premier sprint racing format GT Production-based road racing series. He will also direct the series’ new mTBI Screening Program for driver safety.
Calvert, a nationally recognized Neurologist and Neuro-Ophthalmologist for over 30 years, will serve as an advisor to the Pirelli World Challenge Safety Team.
In addition, the Potomac, Md., physician will work closely with Marcus Haselgrove, WC Vision vice-president, Competition, and Peter Roberts, Pirelli World Challenge chief steward, as an advisor for the emergency medical services for racing venues in the 2017 PWC schedule.
Calvert won both rounds of the SprintX weekend at Utah Motorsports Complex last year with Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Michael Lewis (Laguna Beach, California). In 2017, Calvert joins 2016 GT Cup Champion Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) in the Calvert Dynamics 911 GT3 R fighting for the Pro-Am class victories in SprintX. The first race in that championship comes April 28-30 at VIRginia International Raceway.
All In Alabama. GT3 Cup Challenge USA Rounds Three and Four Coming to Barber.
Jake Eidson began his racing career in karts, and moved up steadily through the formula car ranks. As the recipient of the first-ever IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, which helped Eidson secure a full season behind the wheel of a Porsche in the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, you had to wonder: How would the open-wheel driver perform in a race car that has fenders?
Quite well, we learned, after Eidson, a 21-year-old from Littleton, Colo., finished first and second in the pair of races at Sebring International Raceway last month that opened the season. He brings the points lead to the series' debut at Barber Motorsports Park April 22-23 as part of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend.
And since Barber Motorsports Park is the home of the Porsche Sport Driving School, Eidson might get a little personal coaching from the school's chief instructor, Hurley Haywood. The winningest sports car endurance racer of the modern era, Haywood has five victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Eidson, driving the Kelly-Moss Road and Race No. 24, will need all the help he can get. He can expect tough competition from Trenton Estep of San Antonio, Texas, who finished second and third at Sebring in the JDX Racing/Hertz No. 3, and from Corey Fergus, who placed third in the second race at Sebring. The Columbus, Ohio racer will be driving the US LED/BYERS/Moorespeed No. 00 car.
Sebastian Landy of Great Falls, Va. had a fifth-place average finish at Sebring in the Forto Strong Coffee No. 49, which is prepared by the legendary Alex Job Racing team. They will be contenders once again at Barber.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA will run two 45-minute races - the first at 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday, April 22, and the second at 8:45 a.m. CDT on Sunday, April 23.
There are two separate classes, but both compete at the same time: The Platinum class is for 2017 model Porsche 911 GT3 cars, while the Gold class is for Porsche 911 GT3 cars from 2016, 2015 and 2014. The difference in speed isn't that much - there was at least one Gold class car in the overall top 10 of both races at Sebring.
Sunday's IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama race will stream live at IMSA.tv at 8:35 a.m. CDT.
Walter Mitty Life. Porsche Backs 30th Annual “Mitty” at Road Atlanta.
Nearly 100 Porsche racecars are on the entry list for the 40th Anniversary of The Classic Motorsports Mitty. To help celebrate four decades of vintage racing, the storied historic race weekend, April 20-23, the German brand – whose North American headquarters is in nearby Atlanta – has been named the official marque of the race in 2017. Porsche racing legend Hurley Haywood will be honored as the event’s Grand Marshall.
Though Porsche racers are a staple of “The Mitty” each year, the status has given opportunity for additional Porsche-related activities including on-track parades for owners, one-make feature races, social events and more.
While Haywood (St. Augustine, Florida) – a three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans and five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona-winner – still occasionally pilots vintage Porsches at historic events, his duties will be contained to an official capacity on behalf of organizers, Historic SportsCar Racing (HSR) and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA). The Mitty joins the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where Haywood was the Grand Marshall earlier this year, and the Rolex 24 where he is a past Grand Marshall and was honorary starter at this year’s race in Daytona.
Fans visiting the Braselton, Georgia-area track will have the opportunity to view first-hand, on-track and in the open paddock, Porsches from the company’s motorsport history. Porsche 356s, 911s, 914s, 944s, 962s and more will be on display as well as racing. Of special significance is a 1955 Porsche 356 cabriolet – the oldest car on the entry list – a trio of 1970’s-vintage Porsche 911 IROC racers and a green Leyton House-liveried Porsche 962 owned by Angus Russell. The Group C-spec 962 is chassis No. 114 that ran with the German Kremer Racing team.
Renée Brinkerhoff brings her very special 1956 356A to the 2.54-mile road course in preparation for another historic and special event, the 2017 La Carrera Panamericana. Brinkerhoff’s entry had suffered substantial damage while competing in the 2015 edition of the famed Mexican race. While she and the crew overcame the damage to finish that year’s race, the car returned to The States where it underwent a total restoration for competition. The car is making its debut at The Mitty in advance of its return to Mexico for the 30th anniversary running of La Carrera Panamericana in October.
911 South of the Boarder. Jeff Zwart To Take Porsche Off-Road in Mexico
While the current generation of Porsche racecars wait until their next professional event, historic Porsches are taking-up the slack of the youngsters. The 40th Anniversary of The Classic Motorsports Mitty is taking place on the pavement this weekend at Road Atlanta. Even further south, legendary filmmaker/photographer and eight-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner Jeff Zwart and Cameron Healey will take a Rothsport-prepared Porsche 911 (type 964) to compete in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off road race. The car, dubbed the “Desert Flyer”, will compete in the "Vintage Production Car" category of the cross-country race. The event weekend is scheduled for April 21 and 27.
The National Off Road Racing Association's (NORRA) event this year is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first Baja event that became the Baja 1000. Zwart, renowned for his work in commercial filmmaking and advertising as well as photography for magazines such as Road & Track, has raced in the Baja 1000 four-times, winning his class in 2003. It is fitting tribute that the “safari” style Porsches attack the Mexican desert. Following the event, which is a full-on race and not a vintage demonstration, the car will be on-display at 'Luftgekuhlt 4' event in Los Angeles, California on May 7. Luftgekühlt is a private annual one-day experience celebrating the culture of Porsche, specifically air-cooled Porsches.
Porsche Entries at Barber Motorsports Park.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Total Car Count: 22 Porsche entries will be competing in the Rounds Three and Four of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
Platinum Class. 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. 15
Gold Class. 2015-2016 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. 7
The event entry list can be found at:
Porsche Cars North America. @Porsche
Porsche GT Team (North America) @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing – 919 Hybrid. @Porsche_Team
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #911Cup
Porsche 919 Hybrid. #919hybrid
Barber Motorsports Park #HIGPA
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3CAN
PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East @CaymanGT4CSEast #GT4CSE
Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA @PirelliCupUSA
Future Porsche Events.
Pirelli World Challenge
Event: Grand Prix of Virginia, VIRginia International Raceway
Dateline: Alton, Virginia
Date: Race 1. Saturday, April 29th
Race 2. Sunday, April 30th
Track Length: 3.27-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: Two, 60-minute Races
Class: GT-X/GTA-X (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
GTS-X (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
GTS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GT-X/GTA-X. 1 and 2 of 10
GTS-X. 1 and 2 of 10
GTS. 3 and 4 of 10
Next Round: SprintX, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Bowmanville, Ontario Canada, May 19-21, 2017
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
Event: Circuit of the Americas 120, Circuit of the Americas
Dateline: Austin, Texas
Date: Friday, May 5
Track Length: 3.4-miles, 20-turn
Race Duration: 2-Hours
Class: GS/GT4 (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
GS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport)
Round: 3 of 10
Next Round: Continental Tire 150, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York, June 29 – July 2, 2017
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Event: Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown, Circuit of the Americas,
Dateline: Austin, Texas
Date: Saturday, May 6
Track Length: 3.4-miles, 20-turn
Race Duration: 2-Hour, 40-minutes
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. 4 of 11
GTD. 4 of 12
Next Round: SportsCar Classic, GTD Class Only, Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan, June 2-3, 2017