• Panorama Podiums. Porsche Claims Two Class Wins at Bathurst 12 Hour • Alegra’s World Challenge. Alegra Motorsports Announces 911 GT3 R PWC GT Program.
Event Story Lines.
Panorama Victory. Porsche Claims Two Class Wins at Bathurst 12 Hour.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) customer team Black Swan Racing won the Pro-Am class in the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia over the weekend. By finishing third-overall, the No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R was the highest finishing Porsche and the top professional-amateur combination in the enduro at the Mount Panorama Circuit. With this result, Marc Lieb (Germany), Timothy Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and Luca Stolz (Germany) crowned the strong performance of the four 911 GT3 R at the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). All four of the German marque’s GT3-specifaction customer car entry finished in the top six after a gripping race against tough competition.
Black Swan looked to be the likely winner based on fuel mileage and strategy before the race ended early as a result of a serious accident shortly before the checkered flag. Grove Motorsports secured the second class victory for Porsche taking home the Class B trophy with a 911 GT3 Cup car. Black Swan has committed to the full four-race schedule with their distinctive green, silver and black GT3 R. The season concludes October 28 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California on October 28.
The thrilling showdown of the long distance classic on the storied racetrack 125-miles west of Sydney was packed with drama. With 47 minutes left on the clock, Frédéric Makowiecki (France) was running in the lead in No. 911 Manthey-Racing’s 911 GT3 R. The team then decided on an early pit stop, however, this strategy was foiled when the race was red-flagged. Ultimately, the Frenchman and his teammates Dirk Werner (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) finished sixth – one position behind the world endurance champion and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand), who shared driving duties in the No. 991 Craft Bamboo Racing 911 GT3 R with Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France).
At the wheel of the class defending No. 12 Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Competition Motorsports, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell and his Australian compatriots David Calvert-Jones and Alex Davison crossed the finish line in fourth-place. Unlike the two competitors ahead of them, all 911 GT3 R racers had enough fuel on board to complete the entire race distance. The termination of the race ended this advantage.
The twelve-hour race in the Blue Mountains is traditionally an event for early risers. When the 49 vehicles headed off on the tradition-steeped circuit, it was just 5:45 in the morning… and pitch black. Nevertheless, the Porsche pilots were ready to race, despite the early start and the fact that they were not able to tap into the full potential of the 911 GT3 R during the previous day’s qualifying. As such, they took up the race from far down the grid.
Putting in a spirited charge, each team made up lost ground from the start. In the North American-Australian coalition team of Competition Motorsports, the Class B winner from 2017, Porsche’s only North American factory ace Long moved into the lead after four and a half hours. His teammate also continued the charge with consistently fast lap times and a perfect pit strategy. In this way, the 911 GT3 R fielded by Manthey-Racing, made up no less than 21 positions and was running fifth at half distance. The 911 GT3 R campaigned by the American team Black Swan Racing worked its way from the 25th grid spot to position eight. Competing for honors in the premier A class at the Bathurst 12 Hour aside from Porsche were Audi, Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG.
As the current Pirelli World Challenge champion, Long was very familiar with the 911 GT3 R and hence was the first Porsche pilot to lead the field around Mount Panorama. In the second half of the race, Dumas, later Campbell and finally Makowiecki took a turn at the lead. Strategically, the 911 GT3 R was prepared for almost all eventualities – but not for an early end to the race.
Grove Motorsports triumphed in the B Class. The cockpit of the 911 GT3 Cup was shared by Ben Barker (Great Britain), the father-son duo from Australia Stephen and Brenton Grove as well as Daniel Gaunt.
Round Two of the Intercontinental GT Challenge is the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium contested on July 28 – 29.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“That was an extremely exciting race characterized by many safety car phases. This made it all the more astonishing that we got all four 911 GT3 R to the finish of this red-flagged race without any problems whatsoever. Four Porsche in the top six – but unfortunately not in the positions we had aimed for. Still, we can take many positives home with us from this season-opener of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. We’re not where we want to be with the pace and the qualifying results, but we can still be very happy with the efficiency and the strong team performance. We all very much hope that the driver who had the accident that led to the cancellation of the race is okay.”
Marc Lieb, Driver, No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This race was typical of Bathurst. Lots of accidents, lots of drama. We did exactly what we set out to do, and that’s to get through without any problems and bring the car home in one piece. We succeeded. We may not have been the fastest Porsche out there, but we had a super strategy. So we’re pretty pleased. This is a huge success for the team, particularly considering that it’s their first time in Bathurst.”
Timothy Pappas, Driver/Team Principal, No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“That was a fantastic race. We travelled all the way from the USA and we really enjoyed Bathurst. To win the Pro-Am class and to stand on the podium in third overall is one of the biggest successes in my career. I’d like to also thank Porsche. I’m proud to be part of Porsche’s motorsport history.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver, No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“What an incredible race. The drivers and teams didn’t make one mistake, and that’s not easy in Bathurst. We didn’t expect to climb the podium in third overall. It’s a dream.”
Luca Stolz, Driver, No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“First, thank you to the team. That was my first race on this fantastic racetrack and my first race with the 911 GT3 R. Initially it was difficult, but then I got used to it and I had a lot of fun.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 12 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“A great team result for Porsche. Our race was good to the end and we had a very promising fuel strategy. A class victory would have been possible at least. The race suspension then threw everything upside down. Still, congratulations to Black Swan Racing for their well-deserved podium and class victory.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 12 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“During my last stint I drove one qualifying lap after the other. In the end we had the speed to be up the front, however the red flag thwarted those plans. Thanks to the team. Hopefully we’ll be back next year and then we’ll go for victory again.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 991 Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“If it hadn’t been for the early termination of the race, our strategy would have worked and we would have made it through to the flag. Then perhaps victory would have been on the cards.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We knew that we first had to bond as a team. We’ve never raced together before, and now we’re contesting the Intercontinental GT Challenge together. Bathurst was completely uncharted territory for us. We managed to improve step by step from the first practice, and towards the end of the race our 911 GT3 R was running better than it had over the entire weekend. We started from 26th on the grid and came sixth – we can be proud of this team effort.”
Ben Barker, Driver, No. 4 Grove Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“What an incredible, dramatic and crazy race. We scored the class win, that’s a fantastic result for this great team. Brenton Grove contested his first ever endurance race next to his father. It’s great how he performed on this difficult racetrack.”
Alegra’s World Challenge. Alegra Motorsports Announces 911 GT3 R PWC GT Program.
Alegra Motorsports will be entering the full season of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge Championship in both the GT and GT-X class. The Tampa, Florida-based team will be fielding the same Porsche 911 GT3 R that brought the Carlos de Quesada-owned effort several podium finishes in the 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and helped them win the coveted Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona in the GTD class.
The driver lineup for the 2018 season will include Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen (Denmark), who drove for Alegra in several races last season, including the win at Daytona and a second-place finish at Petit Le Mans. Christensen will be backed up by veteran Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia). Pumpelly is no stranger to Alegra. The veteran racer drove for the team last year at select events while also anchoring the team's strategy calls. Most recently, Pumpelly charged to victory in the first race of the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driving an RS1-run Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with Dillon Machavern.
The 10-weekend, 19-race Pirelli World Challenge calendar will visit some of the most demanding circuits in North America including St. Petersburg, Circuit of the Americas, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Road America and Watkins Glen.
Carlos de Quesada, Team Principal, Alegra Motorsports.
"We had an outstanding season last year and are looking to build on that success. We’re thrilled to have Michael back in the driver's seat, and with Spencer on the roster we're solid."
Porsche Cars North America. @Porsche
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Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing @Porsche_Team
Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI #PorscheRennsport
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
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Bathurst 12 Hour #B12Hr
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
Intercontinental GT Challenge @IntercontGTC
Future Porsche Events.
Pirelli World Challenge
Event: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Streets of St. Petersburg
Dateline: St. Petersburg, Florida
Date: Friday - Sunday, March 9 - 11, 2018
Track Length: 1.8-miles, 14-turn
Race Duration: Two Races, 50-minute
Class: GT (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
GTS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GT. 1 and 2 of 9
GTS. 1 and 2 of 8
Next Round: Grand Prix of Texas, Austin, Texas, Circuit of the Americas, March 23 - 25, 2018
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Event: 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Wednesday – Saturday, March 14 – 17, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 12-Hours
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. 2 of 11
GTD. 2 of 11
Next Round: BUBBA Burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach, Long Beach, California, Long Beach Temporary Street Course, April 13 – 14, 2018
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Event: Sebring 120, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Friday, March 16, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 2-Hours
Class: GS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GS. 2 of 10
Next Round: Mid-Ohio 120, Lexington, Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, May 12, 2018