• Porsche Victory. Porsche GT Team Secures Record-Extending Win at Petit Le Mans. • Back to the Streets. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Returns to St. Pete. • Porsche Podcast. Formula E Tech Lead Recaps and Looks Ahead. • First to the Cup. Team Hardpoint and Earl Bamber Motorsport Announce Porsche Carrera Cup North America Program.
Event Story Lines.
Porsche Victory. Porsche GT Team Secures Record-Extending Win at Petit Le Mans.
Porsche has continued a longstanding winning streak and extended an event record by winning the 23rd running of the Petit Le Mans. By virtue of the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR crossing the finish line at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta at the head of the GTLM field on Saturday, October 17, Porsche maintains its streak of winning at least one IMSA sports car race event every season for well over 30-years. In addition, with the victory by Porsche factory drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Matt Campbell (Australia), the German sports car maker has extended it manufacturer record to 24 class wins – including one overall win – at the 10-hour endurance race. The victory helps strengthen the “works” program’s position in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Michelin Endurance Cup point standings as well.
The trio of factory drivers won the ten-hour race at the historic track northeast of Atlanta, Georgia by a narrow 1.779 seconds. The second Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France), became entangled in an accident in the turbulent final phase and reached the finish line in fifth-place. After nine of eleven races, Porsche ranks third in the GTLM manufacturers’ championship.
Due to the yellow flag segments, the frontrunners in the GTLM class never lost sight of each other over the entire Petit Le Mans distance – which covered an impressive 1,094.74-miles in ten-hours. Throughout most of the event, the competitors lapped the 2.54-mile (4.088-kilometer) natural terrain road course separated by just a few seconds. Depending on the individual pit-stop cycle, the lead changed multiple times. The No. 912, with 2019 class champion Vanthoor behind the wheel, turned the fastest lap of all GTLM teams. The race ended under a yellow flag slowing the pace and progress in the last 15-minutes.
In the equally hotly contested GTD class for customer teams, the seven fastest GT3-spec vehicles were within one lap at the checkered flag. The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by privateer Wright Motorsports and driven by “works” driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) and Jan Heylen (Belgium), took the flag in fourth-place. The final caution stopped Heylen’s frenzied push to overtake third-place. Directly behind Wright in fifth-place was the 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by the Pfaff Motorsports. The No. 9 “Plaid Porsche” of the Canadian Porsche dealer returned to the series for the first time since the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Canadian-based car was shared by Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany), Norwegian Dennis Olsen and 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup champion Zacharie Robichon (Canada).
The next and penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on November 1, 2020, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. It will be the last “sprint” race of the season at two-hours and 40-minutes.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
“What a fantastic result for the team. We’ve suffered many setbacks during this IMSA season. This victory at ‘Petit Le Mans’ is the reward for all the hard work that everyone in the team has done. That includes both the team here in the USA and our Weissach squad.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
“The monkey’s finally off our back. Those were some tough and intense ten hours with ups and downs. We had to deal with some minor setbacks, but we didn’t let it ruffle our feathers and were in the right place at the right time in the end. I’m thrilled for the boys. Unfortunately, in the fight for GTLM victory, the number 912 car was involved in an accident while lapping a GTD vehicle, otherwise we could have brought home an even better result. Still, a huge compliment to the whole team. Today we benefited from the necessary racing luck several times, which has evaded us in the past. We’re happy with this victory and we’re looking forward to the last two races of the season.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Petit Le Mans was extremely exciting, especially towards the end. We ran a risky strategy to maintain contact with the leaders. There were one or two incidents early on in the race, but the last few hours ran perfectly. After the problems that we’ve had this year, we would’ve been happy with a podium finish. To see Fred actually cross the finish line in first place was a very emotional moment.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That result was totally unexpected. Normally in such a race, we wouldn’t have been in a position to fight for the GTLM victory, but we were in the right place at the right time. This is a very special moment for me. I’ve already won Petit Le Mans with Nick . This time Matt was part of our team and he did a great job. We attacked over the entire distance, and we couldn’t have driven even a tenth of a second faster.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Quite honestly, I never expected the race to go like that. We experienced ups and downs, but ultimately, we drove a fantastic race. This win is something very special. I’m over the moon.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’m disappointed. We lost about 15 seconds at the final pit stop when we were hampered by another vehicle. After the last safety car phase we were running third and we had only three laps to go. After I quickly squeezed past a Corvette, I wanted to overtake a GTD car. After pulling level with the car, the other driver suddenly turned in. Our cars touched and we both spun. It was a risk, of course, because ultimately, I wanted to win. I think if I faced a similar racing situation, I’d make the same decision. But it simply didn’t work.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I’m sorry that our day ended like this because it would’ve been great to achieve a one-two for Porsche. After the problems we faced, Laurens put us back at the front with a great drive. Unfortunately, we weren’t rewarded for this. Still, it’s great for the team that we scored our first win of the season.”
Mathieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We experienced a difficult race with many setbacks and bad luck. We’ve worked hard and kept coming back. It’s such a shame that our day had to end like this. Still, I’m really pleased that Laurens came out of the accident unscathed. The number 911’s victory is a tremendous success for Porsche and the entire team.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Fourth-place finish. We had a good charge at the end. There was a ton of strategy and contact between all the classes. It was one of those finishes that you wanted a few more laps, but I’m proud of the effort. The guys were flawless in the pits all day. We had the pace and it was a good points day. We retained second-place in the team points and sit third in the driver standings. We just have to keep putting these solid positions on the board and let the year take its own shape.”
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Fourth-place at my hometown race. I’ll take it. It’s a shame because I think we were very close to battling for another podium. Our podium streak has ended, but our championship hopes are more alive than ever. We’re four points out of the lead and looking forward to finishing the season at tracks that we’re strong at: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Sebring International Raceway. I’m looking forward to taking this championship fight to the final lap.”
Jan Heylen, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a really cool race. I’m really happy that I could do it with the team. We were hoping for a podium, and it was definitely within our grasp, but we had a couple of things that didn’t come our way right at the end. The car had really good pace when the tires were hot, but we weren’t as good as some on cold tires out of the pit. I think that’s where we gave up a possible win or podium. We had the speed to win the race, but not on cold tires. It’s something we need to look into and see what we can do better for the next run. It was a crazy race. It was flawless for our team. We had good pit stops, and nobody made any mistakes. It’s tough to have everything go well and have the pace to compete for a win and not come away with a podium. It’s a little disappointing, but it was a really good points day for the team. In the end, that was the big picture. Now we have two races left and the team is in the best position to try to win the championship now. That’s exciting and we all did a good job.”
Steve Bortolotti, Team Manager, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We performed well all things considering. Ultimately, we would be lying if we didn’t think that would happen after nine months off. However, the whole team did a great job mitigating those mistakes and keeping ourselves on the lead lap. Having multiple debris-related punctures didn’t help but sometimes bad luck just comes. It is just so great to be back. It was not our cleanest performance but we are just so proud to be back in IMSA. I am very proud of the job everyone did. All three drivers definitely pulled their own weight. It was good to see the Plaid Porsche back running at the pointy end of the field.”
Zach Robichon, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was very nice to be back racing. We are very excited to be here and have the opportunity to compete. Just about everything that could have gone wrong went wrong and we still managed to finish fifth which is a testimony to the guys. There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend. Every problem we had, we figured it out and solved it. Looking at the way the team dealt with the issues is the biggest positive.”
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Overall we had quite an interesting weekend. I feel like we had a pace to win the race but to finish fifth is a decent result but not all we looked for. The whole Pfaff crew did a great job. Straightaway the team was on it. It is a shame not to give them the result they deserve.”
Lars Kern, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“At the end we had a really, really good race car. We had good pace and didn’t put a foot wrong. This is what you aim for. But to have three punctures halfway through the race was hard. We did everything right. We came back and made up two laps and then another puncture. It was a rollercoaster. I am proud of what we achieved. The three of us as drivers did a good job for not having much driving time between Daytona and now. There is nothing negative. We were just unlucky.”
Back to the Streets. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Returns to St. Pete.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama was in St. Petersburg, Florida preparing for the one-make championship’s first race of the season. However, race organizers closed down the event at the recommendation of state and local authorities seeking to mitigate the spread of the virus. On October 23 – 25, the series, which exclusively utilizes the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car for all competitors, will have a second chance. A 17-car field will challenge in two, 45-minute races on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary course laid out on the city streets of the Florida metropolis.
With only four races remaining in the season, the Platinum title contenders have become clear. Current points leader Jeff Kingsley (Canada) tightened his grip on the cup with two wins at Road Atlanta in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. However, 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship recipient Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) refuses to roll over without a fight having scored one win in Atlanta driving the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Practice and qualifying for St. Petersburg get underway on Friday, October 23 with Race 1 at 1:55 p.m. ET on Saturday. Race 2 will take the green flag on Sunday, October 25 at 12:40 p.m. local time.
Porsche Podcast. Formula E Tech Lead Recaps and Looks Ahead.
With two podium finishes, a pole position and many other highlights, Malte Huneke has every reason to be happy with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team’s rookie season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. No manufacturer has enjoyed such success right from the start in the history of Formula E since the second season. Yet, in the new “Inside E” podcast, the Technical Project Leader says: “Am I happy? 80 percent, I would say.” Huneke also talks about the highlights of his career at Porsche to date, the most important experiences from the first eleven races in Formula E and his expectations for the new season starting in January.
“Our goal was to be on the podium at one point in time,” says Huneke. “We were lucky enough to have that result during the first race and we were able to repeat that in Berlin. I would have loved to win a race to be honest. But we are happy with what we have achieved.” With a second-place finish in the first race in Diriya, Saudi Arabia, the team proved that it would be competitive right from the start – even with the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a few races to be cancelled and the season to end with six races in the space of nine days in August.
For the new season starting in January, Huneke can see that everyone in the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is really motivated. “Everybody finally wants to get a win,” he says. Work is still being done on the new powertrain of the Porsche 99X Electric, while the newly formed driver duo André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein – both from Germany – are undergoing an extensive training program in the simulator in Weissach (Germany). “We are in good shape and we are hitting our targets,” says Huneke. And compared with the competition he feels that he and the team are in an excellent position. “Nobody is miles ahead of everybody. There is a ranking. But there is no crazy dominance by anybody.”
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team enters its second Formula E season on January 16, 2021, at the Santiago E-Prix in Chile.
The Porsche Formula E podcast is in English and can be accessed in the Porsche Newsroom. “Inside E” is also available on other platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
First to the Cup. Team Hardpoint and Earl Bamber Motorsport Announce Porsche Carrera Cup North America Program.
Team Hardpoint and Earl Bamber Motorsport have launched a joint venture, with the two organizations combining resources to conduct a multi-car customer program in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America championship beginning with the 2021 season. Earl and Will Bamber – owners of Earl Bamber Motorsport – and Team Hardpoint principal Rob Ferriol made the announcement on Friday, October 16 becoming the first team to officially announce their involvement in the inaugural season of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America.
The team will be based at Team Hardpoint's recently announced headquarters located in the Motorsports Technology Park at VIRginia International Raceway, where it will focus on providing the tools, technology, and fundamentals to develop new and existing drivers into well-rounded competitors.
Team Hardpoint is currently competing in its first season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's GT Daytona (GTD) class. Ferriol's professional racing debut came in the current version of Porsche's single-make championship, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Earl Bamber Motorsport is a world class customer racing team, basing itself in the Asian region. EBM was founded by racing brothers Earl and Will Bamber, taking their own on-track experience and success into their own organization. Since its inception, the team has rapidly expanded, achieving championship victories at all levels it has participated in, including the highest levels of global GT racing.
Earl Bamber currently drives in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class for the factory Porsche GT Team, providing a valuable window for team drivers into the highest level of the sports car racing paddock.
The 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America is scheduled to make its debut March 17-20, 2021 at Sebring International Raceway for the opening of the 16-race schedule. The series will utilize a combination of the latest yet-to-be-unveiled Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup N3 racing slicks to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent.
The team is also in conversation regarding participation in other Porsche one-make categories in North America.
Dr. Daniel Armbruster, president and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
"When we first conceived the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, we imagined it drawing the best teams and best young drivers. However, we never dreamed that the first team to officially announce their participation in the inaugural season would be the magnitude of Team Hardpoint and Earl Bamber Motorsport. This is beyond our expectation for the first year. We are excited to have a combination as strong as Rob, Earl and Will at the leading edge of the series. I believe the participation of Team Hardpoint and Earl Bamber Motorsport proves the concept and value of Porsche Carrera Cup North America. We welcome them to championship."
Earl Bamber, Team Principal, Earl Bamber Motorsport.
"It's a great day and huge new step for our team to venture into North American racing. Porsche provides one of the best single-make platforms for teams and drivers and being able to take our business around the world shows that. To join forces with Rob in North America is a perfect alliance to hit the ground running in the 2021 Carrera Cup Series in North America."
Rob Ferriol, Principal, Team Hardpoint.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to combine resources in a first-class way. Not only has Earl Bamber Motorsport proven itself as a regular contender in Carrera Cup Asia, but the philosophy we share on motorsport, business and how to deliver real value to drivers is what makes this a truly powerful combination. IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge was instrumental in my start as a driver, and the new Porsche Carrera Cup North America is going to elevate the single-make series to an even higher standard. This is a natural fit for both our organizations, and a great way for us to enter the championship.
It is important to me that, while we'll certainly push hard to run up front every weekend, we focus on making this venture a place where drivers have the resources to grow and improv. I'd love nothing more than to someday be co-driving with – or even racing for the win against - an alumnus of our program."
Will Bamber, Team Principal, Earl Bamber Motorsport.
"To finally announce our North American future is incredible. Expanding our relationship with Porsche globally is very exciting and it has been a pleasure to work with and develop a friendship with Rob. The foundations are there now with our new facility, equipment and car preparation well underway. We're excited to tackle this new championship in America alongside Rob and the team at Hardpoint."
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 Porsche.