• Porsche Peak. Porsche Presence at Pikes Peak Continues with New Models. • Porsche Points. Formula E Team Scores Points Entering Final Two Events in Berlin. • Ten-Tops. Porsche Privateer Programs Earn Ten SRO Class Victories at Sonoma. • WEC Restart. Porsche GT Team and Customers Prepared for Return of World Endurance Championship.
Event Story Lines.
Peak Porsche. Porsche Presence at Pikes Peak Continues with New Models.
Porsche first appeared in The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo in 1958. The German marque won its class for the first time in 1960 and has since left its mark on the “Race to the Clouds” capturing 27 class victories and twice turning the quickest time for the overall win. In 2020, the sports car manufacturer will return to contend in four divisions for honors as the fastest among its peers up “America’s Mountain”. The 98th running of one of motorsports truly unique events is scheduled for Sunday, August 30. Pikes Peak will be the scene for both the return of storied names to the 12.42-mile Colorado Springs, Colorado race course as well as new faces. Thirteen Porsche-built sports cars will anchor the 51-car entry list.
One of the most exciting entries to carry the Porsche crest is the No. 11 Porsche 935-19 which “Mountain Master” Jeff Zwart (Aspen, Colorado/Long Beach, California) will pilot up to the 14,115-foot finish line. The eight-time winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (1994-’98, 2002, 2010, 2015) saw the benefits of using the limited production track and race car for his return to the “Race to the Clouds” in the Time Attack 1 Division.
The Porsche 935-19 is a single-seat race car based on the Porsche 911 GT2 RS road car. The lightweight 3,042 lbs. (1380 Kg) rear-engine machine is powered by a 700 HP, 3.8-liter flat-six boxer engine with twin-turbochargers. The seven-speed PDK gearbox transfers the power to the rear-wheels only. The weight-optimized bodyshell is created from an aluminum-steel composite with carbon-fiber and Kevlar parts added to improve aerodynamics and overall stability. Zwart, a recent inductee into the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame, successfully tested the car at Willow Springs Raceway (California) earlier this summer.
The one-make Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama comprises four entries in 2020. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the previous generation Cayman GT4 race car are both eligible to compete in the division. Appropriate performance balancing will assure an equal field. All cars within the division will utilize Yokohama’s ADVAN A052 high-performance, street legal tires. Yokohama is a longtime partner of PMNA and supported the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division the past two years as well. The Japanese tire manufacturer is also the sole-supplier to the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA.
Colorado Springs’ own George Hess III will be behind the wheel of a 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport as will first-timer Charles “Chas” Wirken (Mesa, Arizona). Kathryn Mead (Austin, Texas) will be in the newest Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, model year 2019, for her debut at Pikes Peak and the sole female competitor in the field this year. Veteran Blake Williams, who lives in Murrieta, California, but representing Australia in this year’s event, will race a 2018 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Zwart will reprise his role as coach to the four invited drivers. Zwart’s experience has proven invaluable to division drivers since its inception in 2018. Travis Pastrana (Davidsonville, Maryland) currently holds the division-record up the mountain with a time of 10-minutes, 33.897-seconds accomplished in 2018.
Privateer Porsche entries are a hallmark of the world’s most famous hill climb and 2020 will be no exception. Japan’s Akio Kobayashi, a veteran Porsche racer, has entered a modified 2000 model year Porsche 911 GT3 in the Pikes Peak Open division. Chris Strauch (Colorado Springs, Colorado) will pilot a 1970 Porsche 914 “wide body” in the same division. Fellow Colorado Springs resident Fred Veitch will also race in the “Open” division with a 2001 Porsche 911 “TT” (type 996). Don Wickstrum will bring a 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car from Monroe, Wisconsin to challenge for “Open” honors.
Joining Zwart in Time Attack 1 will be a pair of Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport race cars as well as two modified Porsche 911 models. The purpose-built Porsche Motorsport machines will be raced by Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame member David Donner (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and David Donohue (West Chester, Pennsylvania). Donohue is not only a Pikes Peak class winner and record setter but also a 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and 24 Hours of Daytona overall winner. He finished second in the Pikes Peak Open division, fourth overall, in a modified 911 GT3 R race car in 2019. Andy Kingsley (Buena Vista, Colorado) will drive a 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo in the division while Robert Prilika (Larkspur, Colorado) will guide a 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car up Pikes Peak in the Unlimited division.
The first Pikes Peak Hill Climb was run in 1916 on a gravel circuit carved up to the Mountain’s summit. By 2012, the full 12.42-mile, 156-turn circuit was paved over, up to the 14,115-foot pinnacle. The race itself starts at the seven-mile marker giving competitors a 4,725-foot elevation change during their timed run.
Dr. Daniel Armbruster, President and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“Pikes Peak has such a long motorsport history in North America that it is only natural Porsche wishes to strengthen our legacy here. Pikes Peak allows us to showcase the versatility of our Clubsport line, both the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, in a very special and unique location. Through this ultimate testbed, we have made the public aware of not only how performance-oriented each of these track-only models, is but also how versatile as well. We are able to do this with ‘turn-key’ race cars from Porsche Motorsport. Pikes Peak is very special and we are proud to face its challenges each year, as it represents a thorough test for our race cars.”
Jeff Zwart, Driver, No. 11 Mobil 1/Michelin/Road Scholars Porsche 935-19.
“I have been coaching the Porsche GT4 Clubsport class at Pikes Peak the last few years and I wanted to continue coaching but also race again this year. That meant I needed something which was not too complicated to run. Underneath the amazing 935 bodywork and Porsche Motorsport chassis, there is basically the Porsche 911 GT2 RS road car which allows it to be a full ‘turn key’ race car with plenty of power delivered for the horsepower. I have run Pikes Peak in all of its configurations, meaning full dirt, half dirt/half asphalt and now full asphalt. After 16 years at Pikes Peak and 12 different Porsche models, I like when there is a good story involved. The 935 is built to maximize performance in the current Pikes Peak conditions. So, naturally when the new 935 was released I was attracted to it visually and the stories it could tell. At the same time, it seems like a great package to take on Pikes Peak. I really look forward to driving a full factory-built package with the latest upgrades and in the 935 bodywork. It should really be something special to drive.”
Megan Leatham, Executive Director, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
“Porsche has been winning on Pikes Peak for decades. We’re excited to watch our elite competitors as they demonstrate what’s possible when they challenge America’s Mountain in a variety of Porsche race cars. For the first time, members of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame will return to competition following their induction. David Donner and Jeff Zwart’s vehicles will sport white Gran Turismo windshield banners to honor this milestone.”
Porsche Points. Formula E Team Scores Points Entering Final Two Events in Berlin.
After four races of the six-race 2019/2020 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season finale in Berlin, Germany, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team earned its fourth top-ten result. The “works” team claimed valuable points in the first two-thirds of the grand season finale with André Lotterer (Germany) earning a season high finish of second-place – the program’s second podium finish of the year – on Thursday, August 5. On Friday, August 6, the German factory driver finished in ninth-place and earned a fifth-place in the No. 36 Porsche 99X Electric on Saturday, August 8. He added an eighth-place finish on Sunday at the Berlin-Tempelhof circuit.
With two races remaining, Lotterer has 59 points in the drivers’ standings and is in seventh-place overall. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is in eighth-position in the team standings and also has 59 points.
After four races in five days, drivers and teams now look forward to a short break before the season enters the final stretch on Wednesday, August 12 with the last race scheduled for August 13. In the meantime, the Berlin-Tempelhof circuit will be adjusted for the final double-header. The last two races of the year will take place on a new track layout.
Ten-Tops. Porsche Privateer Programs Earn Ten SRO Class Victories at Sonoma.
Porsche privateer race teams earned ten class victories at Sonoma Raceway in California, August 6 – 9. The tally includes an overall race win for NOLASPORT in Race 1 of the SRO GT4 America SprintX series. The New Orleans, Louisiana-based operation was responsible for three total wins over the course of three races across two classes using the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport race cars. Wright Motorsports swept the Am class weekend in the SRO GT World Challenge America with two wins with the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R race car. GMG Racing brought six Porsche customer race cars to the 2.51-mile race course in California’s “wine country”. The James Sofronas-lead operation secured a Pro/Am class win in Race 2 of the GT3-spec race series – third-place overall – with the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R race car. GMG also swept both 40-minute races of the GT Sports Club Iron and Titanium categories using the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport to give the veteran race team a total of five class victories for the weekend.
James Sofronas, Driver/Team Principal, GMG Motorsports.
“What an unprecedented weekend. Running eight cars with over 12 drivers and an unbelievable staff supporting this effort. I can’t thank the entire team and crew for all the hard work to pull this off. With over 30 personnel supporting eight cars, we had multiple wins, podiums and a lot of success. A big part of that was Porsche Motorsport. I am very happy with the results but thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and the competition with my friends, who also happen to be my clients. That’s half the fun in racing; spending time with fellow competitors you enjoy racing with.”
Sean Gibbons, Driver, No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“Amazing, amazing, amazing weekend. My first race weekend at Sonoma and the NOLASPORT / OGH Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport was so balanced it made it possible for us to come away with two class victories and a second even in the low grip conditions. To accomplish that as a team with my friends and sponsors from Trattore Farms cheering us on was just incredible.”
WEC Restart. Porsche GT Team and Customers Prepared for Return of World Endurance Championship.
The 2019-2020 season of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) resumes after more than a 24-week break due to the coronavirus pandemic. On August 15, round six of the WEC will be held at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Porsche tackles the six-hour race with two of the latest 911 RSR race cars. The defending world champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) share the cockpit of the No. 92 car, with their teammates Richard Lietz (Austria) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) joining forces in the No. 91 Porsche. The factory squad returns to the internationally famous race facility with positive memories. Last year, Porsche claimed an early world championship title in the LMGTE-Pro manufacturer’s classification. Currently, the title defender ranks second in the class after five races. The customer teams Dempsey-Proton Racing, Project 1 and Gulf Racing field five of last season’s 911 RSR in the LMGTE-Am class at the series’ return to racing.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is located in the far east of Belgium close to the German border. Opened in 1921, the 4.35-mile (7.004-kilometer) racetrack featuring 21 corners undulates through the Walloon countryside – not surprisingly, the circuit is also known as the “Ardennes rollercoaster”. Fast turns like Raidillon, Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are as notorious as the La Source hairpin at the end of the start-finish straight.
The engineers in Weissach, Germany were able to improve the ca. 515-hp Porsche 911 RSR-19 compared to its extremely successful predecessor model primarily in areas of drivability, efficiency, ergonomics and serviceability. Approximately 95 percent of all components are new. The 911 RSR-19 is powered by a 4.2-liter, six-cylinder boxer engine.
After scoring second-place at four of the five rounds held prior to the lockdown, the reigning WEC champions Christensen and Estre rank third in the WEC drivers’ classification. Lietz and Bruni, the winners of the season-opening round in Great Britain, sit in fifth-place. The latest Porsche 911 RSR underlined its potential at the previous races of the 2019/2020 season with pole positions in Japan, China and Bahrain.
At the WEC restart, Dempsey-Proton Racing fields two Porsche 911 RSR from the 2017 model year. At the wheel of the No. 77 car is Porsche works driver Matt Campbell (Australia), team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and the Italian Riccardo Pera. Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak (Thailand), Ricardo Sanchez (Mexico) and Lucas Legeret (Switzerland) share the cockpit of the No. 88 sister car. The German customer operation Team Project 1 also campaign a pair of 2017-generation 911 RSR. The No. 56 cockpit is shared by Laurents Hörr (Germany), Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and Matteo Cairoli (Italy). American Ben Keating (Tomball, Texas), Felipe Fraga (Brazil) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) drive the No. 57 car. Gulf Racing entrusts the No. 86 vehicle to the all-British crew Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Andrew Watson.
Practice for the event begins on Thursday, August 13 with additional practices and qualifying held on Friday. The six-hour race will take the green flag on Saturday, August 15 at 7:30 a.m. ET in North America, 1:30 p.m. CEST time in Belgium. Live coverage of the event can be seen in the United States on MotorTrend TV beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“The wait for the next round of the World Endurance Championship is now over. I’d like to pay a big compliment to the WEC organizers on successfully laying the foundations for the restart. In the upcoming races, we still have the best chances to defend our titles. Preparations for the final rehearsal before the 24 Hours of Le Mans went well. We’re aiming to score our second win of the season at Spa-Francorchamps.”
Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC.
“We were able to use the compulsory Corona-related break to work through many details and we’ve also completed successful test drives. We’ve further improved the drivability and the balance of the 911 RSR and honed the team’s processes. In the first race after the long break, it’s important that we get back to our usual routine quickly. We want to earn as many points as possible in Belgium and we aim to win.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We can finally contest the WEC again – but unfortunately without any spectators. Still, the main thing is to compete again. Everyone in the team feels highly motivated and wants to achieve a good result. We’re heading to Spa very well prepared. The podium is our minimum target.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Spa-Francorchamps is one of my favorite racetracks on the WEC calendar. I can hardly wait to finally race again. Richard Lietz and I are eager to achieve more race victories and podium results with the new 911 RSR. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to be careful and comply with the guidelines, but we’re very well organized in this respect, as well.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We had a crazy race at Spa last year with snow, rain and sunshine. Still, we reached the podium and managed to secure the manufacturers’ title for Porsche – that was fantastic. Obviously, everything will be very different this year. We’re competing at a different time of the year and it’s the first WEC round after the coronavirus break. We’ll miss the spectators and we’ll all be wearing facemasks. With the new 911 RSR, we want to move closer to the top of the championship.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It’s important that we come back strong after such a long break. We’re still in the running for the title and we want to catch the championship leaders. During the break, we tried to keep in touch with each other and give good feedback so that we could continue to improve. We went testing with the new 911 RSR. It felt good to work with the Manthey squad again and to prepare for the races at Spa and Le Mans.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the WEC again with Christian Ried and Riccardo Pera. We want to push hard to achieve another top result and put the team on the podium.”
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing. @PorscheTeam
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Porsche Sprint Trophy USA West. @PorscheSprintTrophyUSAWest (Instagram)
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE
*Image courtesy of Jeff Zwart