• No Mid-Ohio Works Effort. Porsche GT Team Will Not Compete in IMSA Round Seven. • Porsche Podium. Dempsey-Proton Racing Earns Top Le Mans Finish. • Porsche Precaution. Porsche Limits Factory Driver Participants at Nürburgring.
Event Story Lines.
No Mid-Ohio Works Effort. Porsche GT Team Will Not Compete in IMSA Round Seven.
The Porsche GT Team will not participate in the seventh round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on September 27 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This decision was made as a result of three positive Covid-19 tests that were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend. As a precautionary measure, Porsche Motorsport will not be sending any team members who were in Le Mans to the Nürburgring 24 Hours. This ruling will also apply to the up-coming Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio, September 25 - 27. Factory drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) all competed in Le Mans. Porsche will be back in the competition for the eighth race of the IMSA season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10.
The decision will not impact the No. 16 Wright Motorsports effort in the GTD class. The Porsche 911 GT3 R race car shared by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) will compete in the Batavia, Ohio-based team’s home event as planned. The Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio is a two-hour and 40-minute sprint race. Long won at the track 2.258-mile natural terrain road course in 2009 driving a Porsche. The pairing is coming off its best finish, a third-place, at the most recent round of the championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Hardwick finished third in class at Mid-Ohio in 2019.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice Pres-ident Motorsport. .
"Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming race in Mid-Ohio. This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be travelling to the USA. This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken."
Porsche Podium. Dempsey-Proton Racing Earns Top Le Mans Finish.
The Porsche customer team Dempsey-Proton Racing finished this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a podium result. The Porsche 911 RSR race car shared by factory driver Matt Campbell (Australia), Riccardo Pera (Italy) and Proton team owner Christian Ried (Germany) finished the race with a second-place in the LMGTE-Am class. The Porsche GT Team, however, endured a great many challenges with the two latest-generation 911 RSR racers at the endurance classic in the northwest of France.
After just five hours of racing, the reigning world champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France), who received support from Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) in the No. 92, were thrown more than ten laps behind due to a power steering fault. More repair work over the following hours widened the gap in the LMGTE-Pro field to 15 laps. The vehicle ultimately crossed the finish line in sixth-place in its class.
The No. 91 sister car took the checkered flag at the Le Mans 24 Hours one position ahead of their teammates. Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), Richard Lietz (Austria) and the Frédéric Makowiecki (France) had managed to maintain contact to the leaders until early Sunday morning, only to have an electrical problem dash all podium dreams. The ca. 515 hp car driven by the winners of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) race at Spa-Francorchamps contested the 88th edition of the French endurance class decked out in a red and white livery. With this, Porsche commemorated the overall victory of the 917 KH 50 years ago in 1970, which marked the first of 19 overall victories so far for the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart.
The competition in the LMGTE-Am class provided gripping race action to the flag. After a final safety car phase, the field went green again with 24 minutes remaining on the clock. Three vehicles from two manufacturers fought for two podium spots. Factory driver Matt Campbell kept his cool at the wheel of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car. After impressive duels and slipstream battles, the young Australian came out on top, bringing the 510 hp 2019-spec 911 RSR over the finish line in second-place. Cairoli, however, narrowly missed out on claiming a podium step. After a close duel with a Ferrari, the Italian took the flag in fourth-place. The No. 56 car of Team Project 1, which Cairoli shared with last year’s winner Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and Larry ten Voorde (Netherlands), had even led the GTE-Am field over long stretches. However, a one-minute penalty threw the crew behind.
In the FIA WEC manufacturers’ classification, Porsche now ranks second after seven of eight rounds. In the drivers’ category, Bruni and Lietz lie in fifth-place, with the defending LMGTE world champions Christensen and Estre in fourth-place. The final round of the 2019 – 2020 World Endurance Championship season will be held in Bahrain on November 14.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“Our first outing with the Porsche 911 RSR-19 at Le Mans was anything but easy. We’ve learned a lot. After achieving pole position, we’d expected more from the race – but we were disappointed. We’ll combine our experiences, draw our conclusions and return stronger next year. Congratulations to our customer teams Dempsey-Proton Racing, Project 1 and Gulf Racing, who finished in the top-five of the GTE-Am class.”
Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC.
“We continued to optimize our Porsche 911 RSR throughout the practices and were rewarded with pole position. That was great. Not so great, however, was the start of the race. We immediately realized that we couldn’t keep up in terms of acceleration and top speed. These factors are particularly painful because we also lost more and more time in traffic. On top of that, there were too many technical problems. We’ve got a bit of homework to do. We’ll improve the car and our processes and then we’ll be back to attack at the final round in Bahrain.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“After claiming pole position on Friday, I never expected the race to be this hard. We gave our very best and drove a clean race. The team worked perfectly, but unfortunately, we lacked performance and the technical problems prevented a better result. At the final race in Bahrain, we want to show that we’ve learned our lessons.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a fight with highs and lows over many days. Despite intensive preparation and successful tests, the car wasn’t perfectly balanced. We got that under control quickly and finally secured pole position. However, in the race, we couldn’t maintain the pace of the frontrunners. We did our best to keep contact – until we were hampered by a minor technical problem. That’s just how it is at Le Mans sometimes. You shouldn’t let that get you down.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’m disappointed and exhausted at the same time. Le Mans is my home race and I really want to win here one day. We all invested enormous energy in this special event that only takes place once a year. It really hurts when things go wrong. This year it immediately became obvious early that the competition wasn’t as close as hoped. If you want to keep up, you always have to drive at the limit. Under such conditions, you get technical problems. That’s annoying, but that’s just how it is.”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We were surprised at the pace our competitors could set right at the start. We couldn’t really keep up, but we did our utmost. When the power steering malfunctioned during Laurens’ stint and we stood in the pits for more than ten laps, we had to relinquish any hopes. When you lack competitiveness and technical bad luck strikes, it won’t be a good day – that’s just the way it is.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It quickly became clear in the race that our performance compared to our rivals wouldn’t be enough to reach the podium. That was the first bitter pill to swallow. Then, a repair cost us twelve laps. That was the last straw for us drivers and the team members. Still, we pulled ourselves together and did our very best. This year’s experiences will help us to be much stronger in 2021.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We weren’t good enough. After the practice and the qualifying, we’d hoped for more, but the pace wasn’t enough to keep up with the competition. What’s more, technology threw us far back. The podium and victory were out of reach this year. We want to change that as soon as we can and celebrate again after next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
“Second-place is a dream result for us, because given the pace of the winners, we couldn’t do better. The drivers and our team did a great job. We can all be very proud. The final sprint after the last safety car phase was great fun. I just went all-out. We’ll celebrate second-place as if it were a win.”
Larry ten Voorde, Driver, No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.
“The race weekend was extremely exhausting. First, I competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans, which I won, and then I contested the 24-hour race. But I’m really happy that both events worked out so well. I pulled out all stops in my last stint to gain another position. It’s a shame it didn’t end with a podium result.”
Porsche Precaution. Porsche Limits Factory Driver Participants at Nürburgring.
Porsche has decided to send only a reduced number of participants to tackle the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in Germany. This affects the factory-contracted racing drivers as well as members of Porsche Motorsport and Manthey-Racing who worked at the 24 Hours of Le Mans September 19 – 20. The decision was reached when three people returned positive tests for COVID-19. Porsche had the routine tests done on Sunday at Le Mans. The precautionary decision was made in consultation with the Robert Koch Institute. This involves a total of nine racing drivers who were to drive the six Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars of four customer teams September 26 – 27 at the popular German endurance event. Furthermore, this means that the No. 911 Manthey-Racing car, dubbed “Grello” by fans, cannot be fielded. Porsche is in discussions with the affected teams to look for solutions so that the remaining 911 GT3 R race cars can compete in the event. More details to follow as they are available.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“People’s health comes first for us. Given the current situation, it’s very clear to us that we put the needs of many ahead of our sporting goals. We’ll do everything we can to give our customer teams the best possible support in the upcoming race by providing operational personnel and available works drivers.”
Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director Manthey-Racing GmbH.
“We made this decision with Porsche Motorsport. We, our ‘Grello‘ and the Nordschleife belong together. But under the circumstances, it’s obvious to us all at Manthey-Racing that the health of everyone involved in the 24-hour race takes priority.”
Affected Porsche customer teams and drivers:
KCMG (No. 18): Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas
KCMG (No. 19): Romain Dumas
Frikadelli Racing (No. 31): Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre
Falken Motorsport (No. 33): Thomas Preining
Falken Motorsport (No. 44): Matteo Cairoli
Manthey-Racing (No. 911): Julien Andlauer, Matt Campbell
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
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FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE
- Image courtesy of Porsche.