Coke Is It! Porsche To Run Hometown Retro Livery at Petit Le Mans.
As the 50th Anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) comes to a close at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) will turn to an Atlanta neighbor to help celebrate and commemorate the sports car racing series’ Golden Anniversary. The twin Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR race cars will carry a familiar red and white livery in the 22nd Running of the Motul Petit Le Mans that will immediately invoke fond memories of IMSA’s first heyday of the 1980s. The annual 10-hour endurance classic at the Braselton, Georgia-area race track – held October 9 – 12 – will see the “works” Porsche race cars wear the hometown jersey… Coke Is It!
Beginning in 1980, Bob Akin Motor Racing-prepared Porsche race cars carried Coca-Cola themed liveries for seven years and the timeless connection of these iconic brands lives and breathes again as North America’s premier sports car racing series closes its fifth-decade of competition. Following the German brand’s tradition of honoring its successful programs of the past, the livery for the factory Porsche 911 RSR GTLM class entries at this year’s IMSA finale centers on the legendary Coca-Cola 962 that took the Akin-led team to its most famous win at Sebring in 1986. Wearing the Coke “wave”, also known as the “Dynamic Ribbon”, on the hood, flanks and rear bumper, the two factory entries will look identical with the exception of their number plate and windshield banner.
The Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR shared by 2015 overall Petit Le Mans winners Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) as well Frédéric Makowiecki (France) will carry a white windshield banner on the No. 911. The No. 912 of Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) will have the black banner on their windshield. Each car will have the familiar and era appropriate “Coca-Cola” on the hood and “Coke Is It!” on the rear quarter panel. Like the popular 962 of the time, both cars will feature white BBS wheels.
Few brands are more recognizable than Coca-Cola and Porsche. Internationally acknowledged as leaders in their respective industries, each company enjoys an unparalleled visual and cultural identity.. With PCNA headquartered in Atlanta, and Coca-Cola’s entire corporate history spent in the Georgia capital, it is a natural fit for the pair to come together again on the 2.54-mile race course outside of Georgia’s capital city.
The similarities of the two hallmark companies do not begin or end in Atlanta. Each enjoys a shape so uniquely tied to its brand they are internationally trademarked and instantly recognizable. The silhouette of the 911 has carried true since 1963. Its dimensions may have changed but there is no mistaking the profile of the German brand’s most famous sports car. Coca-Cola’s “contour” bottle enjoys the same immediately identifiable traits as the Porsche. Designed and developed in 1916, the Coke bottle shape remains forever linked to the soft drink powerhouse. Today, both flowing shapes are visual and tactile representations of their companies.
Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta opened in 1970 in part due to the financing of Arthur Montgomery, Jr., then president of the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Always a “Coke track”, the recently replaced tower and media center facility carried the familiar Coca-Cola branding high on its sides for decades. Porsche moved its North American headquarters to the Peach State in 1998 and opened its Experience Center adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2015. Coca-Cola began in 1886 and has grown from a small soda fountain in downtown Atlanta to one of the world’s most recognizable brands in the ensuing 133 years.
Pedro Mota, Vice President of Marketing for Porsche Cars North America.
“Last fall, we kicked off the IMSA 50th Anniversary celebration with the fan-favorite Mobil 1 livery at Petit Le Mans. We began the 2019 season by highlighting still another longstanding and successful relationship with the famous red, white and blue ‘sweeps’ of Brumos Racing and Hurley Haywood. Now, as one last tribute to honor IMSA on their Golden Anniversary, we are bringing back yet another memorable livery… a local favorite: Coca-Cola. As an added benefit, we get to fondly recall Bob Akin, the gentleman who first brought Coca-Cola and Porsche together with the customer 935 and 962 race cars he successfully campaigned.”
Jim France, NASCAR Chairman/ IMSA Chairman.
"I can't think of a better way for fans to celebrate the final race of IMSA's 50th Anniversary season by seeing two of the most iconic brands in the world – Porsche and Coca-Cola – bring back an unforgettable livery. Bob Akin was one of a kind, much like Porsche and Coca-Cola, and to see this livery at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for this year's Motul Petit Le Mans will certainly be exciting for everyone."
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“We are keen to add to the celebrations of IMSA’s 50th anniversary at the final round of the season in a very special way. I’m very curious to see how the fans will respond to our two Porsche 911 RSR in Coca-Cola colors. The special vehicle liveries of the past few months have yielded us numerous successes. We won at Road Atlanta last year, we won Le Mans in 2018 and we won at Sebring this year. We would be happy for things to continue like this.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“The anniversary season for IMSA comes to an end with a big highlight. It’s fantastic that two such strong brands like Porsche and Coca-Cola are working together. We definitely want to continue our shared success story that began in the 1980s. It would be a dream come true if we could secure the title with a top result – especially considering that it will be the last race outing for this version of the Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA series.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
“This year has been one highlight after the other for us. We’ve notched up many successes in the first half of the season with our cars finished in the Brumos livery. Last year we were successful at Petit Le Mans with our Porsche 911 RSR flying the Mobil 1 colors. These special designs have given us many outstanding moments. And this should also be the case with the red and white Coca-Cola paintwork at the season finale on the Road Atlanta racetrack.”
Hometown Ties. Porsche, Coca-Cola and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
• Few brands are more recognizable than Coca-Cola and Porsche. Internationally acknowledged as leaders in their respective industries, each company enjoys an unparalleled visual and cultural identity that is hard to equal. With PCNA headquartered in Atlanta and Coca-Cola’s entire corporate history spent in the Georgia capital, it is a natural fit for the pair to come together again on the 2.54-mile Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta race course outside of Georgia’s capital city.
• The similarities of the two hallmark companies do not begin or end in Atlanta. Each enjoys a shape so uniquely tied to its brand they are internationally trademarked and instantly recognizable. The silhouette of the 911 has carried true since 1963. Coca-Cola’s “contour” bottle enjoys the same immediately identifiable traits as the Porsche. Designed and developed in 1916, the Coke bottle shape remains forever linked to the soft drink powerhouse. Today, both flowing shapes are tactile and visual representations of their companies.
• Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta opened in 1970 in part due to the financing of Arthur Montgomery, Jr., then president of the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Always a “Coke track”, the recently replaced tower and media center facility carried the familiar Coca-Cola branding high on its sides for decades.
• In 1909, Asa G. Candler, founder of The Coca-Cola Company, developed the Atlanta Speedway. The track, built in the same year as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, became nationally recognized. Today, the site is home to Atlanta’s Jackson Hartsfield International Airport; near which, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) headquarters now stands.
• The Porsche/Coca-Cola relationship began in 1980 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Race fan and Daytona-area Coca-Cola bottler Preston Root approached longtime Porsche racer Bob Akin to back the veteran’s Porsche 935. The bottler extended the backing to include the 12 Hours of Sebring – a race that also enjoyed Coca-Cola as its title sponsor. For the third race of the season at Road Atlanta, Akin left the Coca-Cola signage on the Porsche. Being Coke’s hometown, Kent Hill of the Coke’s Marketing Department saw the car and made the partnership official and nationwide. It lasted for seven-years.
• The Coca-Cola Porsche 962 debuted at Charlotte in May 1984. The car – ultimately becoming black and red to recognize additional sponsorship from tire partner Yokohama – would race through Road America 1987.
• Coca-Cola Bob Akin Motor Racing had its greatest moment at the 1986 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The red No. 5 with the sweeping Coca-Cola “Dynamic Ribbon” down its flat sides took overall victory in the race. Akin shared the machine with racing legend Hans Joachim-Stuck and Jo Gartner. This is the car that gave inspiration to the 2019 Petit Le Mans livery.
• Akin would enter his last professional race in the “Coke 962” in defense of the Sebring title in 1987. Bob Akin, Sr. passed away in 2002.
• A full-line of Coca-Cola/Porsche merchandise will be made available at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as well as through multiple Coca-Cola merchandise outlets.
• Porsche enters the final race of the season leading the GTLM class Manufacturer Championship while the Nos. 911 and 912 fight for class Team and Driver titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Porsche Sprint Champs. 911 GT3 R Takes IMSA Sprint Cup Title, 911 RSR Closer to GTLM Titles.
Porsche is the first champion crowned in the 50th anniversary season of the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA). By virtue of the brand’s GTD class success in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races under six-hours, Porsche added the WeatherTech Sprint Cup Manufacturer’s title to its legacy in North American motorsport. In addition, Zacharie Robichon earned the first IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup Championship Drivers’ title on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The Canadian captured the Driver laurels while giving Porsche the final push for Makes with a fourth-place run in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R he shared with Scott Hargrove (Canada) in the Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 15.
Meanwhile, in the GTLM factory class, the Porsche GT Team claimed seventh and eighth-place at the penultimate round of this year’s IMSA season. In an uneventful race without any caution flags, factory drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) grappled with a lack of grip in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, as did their brand colleagues Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) in the No. 911 sister car. Heading to the 22nd Running of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta season finale, Porsche holds a convincing lead in the GTLM manufacturers’ classification.
While this is Robichon’s first WeatherTech series title, the Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate won the 2018 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama championship. Park Place Motorsports with factory drivers Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) did not start the race following an accident during Saturday’s qualifying session.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“The race in the GTLM class was the worst we’ve experienced with our factory cars this season. For once we weren’t competitive and for the first time in twelve months we didn’t finish on the podium. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect our bid for the championship, as we’re heading to the finale at Road Atlanta as the big favorites. We won the Sprint Cup classification in the GTD class with the brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Congratulations to Zacharie Robichon on winning the title and a big thank you to our team at Weissach for developing a great GT3 car.”
Zacharie Robichon, Driver, Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“After a really tough race, here I am with my first title – that’s sensational. Our first Sprint Cup race at Mid-Ohio didn’t go at all well, but since then we’ve made huge progress. Our Laguna Seca race is proof of that. We weren’t at all familiar with the race track, so it was a journey into the unknown. The meticulous work of the team ensured that we could maintain a steady pace and achieve fourth-place. That was the most we could do today, and it was enough to win the title for Porsche and for me personally. A dream has come true for me today.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
“We struggled today to maintain a steady pace over a full stint and we could do little against our competition this time. Because there were no safety car phases in the race, our strategic options were also very limited. Under these conditions, we couldn’t do better than seventh and eighth. Luckily, at the end of the day, we got off lightly. Our main rivals in the championship also had problems to deal with. The current situation in the title fight looks good for us as we head to the final round of the season.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“This simply wasn’t our race. We already noticed in practice that it’d be difficult for us in terms of tire durability. Still, we tried our best in the race. We simply couldn’t do more. Now we’re looking ahead. It’ll undoubtedly be better for us at the final round at Road Atlanta.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“At Laguna Seca we experienced the exact opposite of the previous race in Virginia, where we brought home a convincing one-two result. But that’s how it goes sometimes in the fiercely contested GTLM class. When one small thing doesn’t work, you’re very quickly thrown back. That’s what happened to us today. I’m not surprised really because Laguna Seca has not been particularly kind to us in the past.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a tough race for us. To be honest, judging from the practice sessions, we’d expected this. Laguna Seca is simply not our favorite racetrack. Despite these disappointing results, we’ve taken another step towards winning the title. That means much more to us. Laurens and I have even managed to extend our lead. Now I’m very much looking forward to the grand finale at Petit Le Mans.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We still hold a clear lead in the championship. That’s the most important thing after such a difficult race. We had no real chance today because there was too much wear on the tires. I don’t know if we could have achieved more with a different strategy. It doesn’t matter now. We’re looking forward to the ten-hour race on the outskirts of Atlanta, which is where Porsche North America is based. We are keen to secure the championship title at our home race.”
Park Place Savings. Customer Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport Team Podiums.
Park Place Motorsports finished in third-place in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after fuel-saving strategy brought the No. 7 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport home on fumes. Driver Trent Hindman teamed with Alan Brynjolfsson to take the team’s second GS class podium finish of the year. The program earned its first GS class victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.
Trent Hindman, Driver, No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“How did we make that happen? Once again, Mike Johnson coming through with strategy. It was just a nice job by everybody: Mike, Alan and the whole crew. I’m glad we were able to capitalize on our good strategy today for a solid finish.”
Alan Brynjolfsson, Driver, No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“It was a really easy stint for me. My job was just to produce a clean car and hand it over to Trent who performed flawlessly. He was the only person in the entire field to do just one fuel stop. He was under a lot of pressure to fuel save and he was able to which ultimately put us on the podium.”
Mike Johnson, Director of Race Operations, No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“I think we did this almost exact same thing last year with the GTD car. We had a problem in the pits and just had to throw an audible. We knew we didn’t have the car to fight out front, so we had to do something totally different. We went with a fuel strategy gamble and it obviously paid off. We led the race for a few laps at the end. We knew those other cars were coming; they were going two seconds a lap faster. Trent did such an amazing job to hit the numbers we kept giving him and he crossed the line in third. It’s a great day, a lot of our competitors had a little bit rougher day, so I think it’s going to be a really fun battle in Atlanta.”
World Challenge Road America. Porsche Customer Teams to SRO GT Series Penultimate Round.
The SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America series enters its penultimate weekend at one of North America’s ultimate circuits: Road America. Three Porsche customer race teams have entered five of the German marque’s 911 GT3 R in Rounds 11 and 12 of the GT3-spec race series at Road America.
Coming into race week, Wright Motorsports has two of the international GT3-spec machines entered at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin race track. Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Porsche Selected Driver Scott Hargrove (Canada) will take to the No. 58 Porsche Consulting Porsche 911 GT3 R into battle while their Wright Motorsport sister car – the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche, will have Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York) driving as the Am in the Pro-Am class with Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia). Alegra Motorsports is scheduled to race at Road America with its Nos. 22 and 24 Porsche 911 GT3 R being shared by Daniel Morad (Canada) and Billy Johnson ( and Wolf Henzler (Germany) / Marco Holzer (Germany) respectively. The K2R Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R is the only single-car team entry for Porsche on the GT class roster with Kevin Millstein and Alex Barron in the No. 38.
The two, 90-minute races on the 4.048-mile track – known as “America’s National Park of Speed” – are scheduled for September 21 and 22.
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