Rain Race. Weather Mayhem Robs Porsche of Hopes to Claim First IMSA Win of Season.
A lap record in qualifying, pole position and a commanding lead in the race: despite this, the dream of claiming the maiden victory for the latest generation of the Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at round four of this year’s North American series remains unfulfilled. After a strong performance from the No. 912 racer driven by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand), which culminated in a 20-second lead, torrential rain threw a wrench in the works about 50-minutes before the end of the two-hour, 40-minute event. Bamber spun and slid from the track. At the wheel of the No. 911 Porsche GT Team entry, Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) at one point advanced to first-place in the chaotic weather conditions, however, when the race restarted behind the safety car the No. 911 had to pit. In a last-ditch effort to fight for class victory from third-place under difficult conditions, Tandy, with no visibility, slid from the track in the rain. He and Makowiecki finished in fourth-place, with the sister car in fifth-place.
In the GTD class for vehicles complying with the international GT3 regulations, starting driver Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) and factory pilot Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) made the most of the wild weather. Putting in a double stint, Long worked his way up the order from tenth to seventh-place. In the mayhem, Long had stayed cool and maneuvered his way up to fourth-place at the wheel of the 500+hp Porsche 911 GT3 R race car fielded by the Wright Motorsport customer team. Ultimately, the Ohio-based entry finished in fifth-place in the GTD class.
Porsche travels to VIRginia International Raceway, round five of the season, on August 23 ranked third in the manufacturers’ classification just nine points from the top. Reigning champions Bamber and Vanthoor retain their second-place spot in the drivers’ standings with 120 points. Their brand colleagues Makowiecki and Tandy occupy fifth-place with 113 points.
Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
"The result is very disappointing. We managed to set fast lap times over the distance, so the long runs in the practice sessions paid off. We were very well positioned and were able to steadily work our way forward in the race. The number 912 car was leading when the sky opened up. Rain, hail, lightning; we got the lot. We decided to pit a little late. When 912 came in, all chances of winning were scuttled. After the race interruption, the 911 had to pit briefly one more time to refuel and switch to wet tires. In the last ten minutes, the race turned into a real thriller. Nick Tandy pulled out all stops. With two laps to the flag, he slid off the track in the extreme conditions and hit the barriers. Fortunately, nothing serious happened to him."
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"Our starting position for the race could have been better, but we managed to work our way up the order little by little. In the dry, we were in a position to fight for a podium spot. The rain made things incredibly difficult for everyone. Our focus is now on the next race in Virginia."
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"We had another race where, with a bit more luck, we could have had a good result. In the end the conditions were too bad to keep racing. You see this when multiple cars have no chance to even control themselves on the straights. We lost all grip and aquaplaned off the road at high speed. Luckily, I’m okay and I’m very thankful to the team at Porsche Motorsport for building such strong cars."
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"The number 3 Corvette got a better start and was faster on the straights. I cleverly tucked in behind and conserved my tires, because the car in front of me had attacked too hard – so I could pass it, take the lead during my stint and build a gap. What followed was a catastrophe. Earl didn’t get the radio message to come into the pits. He kept going on the dry track, got caught in the first downpour and lost the car."
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
"We had two great cars today. With the 912 we opted for the right tires to win, but the message about the rain didn’t reach me. I made a mistake and flew off the track. Now we have to look ahead and earn as many points as possible at the next race."
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"Another eventful IMSA race. Road America always has some treats towards the end. The strategy, pit stops and execution of the race by Wright Motorsports was spot-on today. We made positions where we could and ended-up with a top-five. It was a pretty clean race for us. The Wright Porsche is unscathed and, compared to some, that’s a great way to push forward to the next round. Decent points day. As a group, we are continuing to grow and that is what it is all about."
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"This result happened because of two things: Bobby’s call on the pit stand to stay out one additional lap to see if the rain would come, and also to Pat’s masterful driving in the final two stints. The team really dug us out of the hole I created in the first stint. Solid points day for sure."
Michelin Pilot Challenge. Archangel Top-Ten Leads Way for Porsche GT4 Contender.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for GT4-spec class cars was on-site at Road America with a pair of Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport racers entered in the two-hour support race. The No. 7 Archangel Motorsports entry continued to set the pace for Porsche customer efforts with 2019 Porsche Cup recipient Alan Brynjolfsson (Tampa, Florida) and Porsche Young Driver Academy North America graduate Trent Hindman (Wayside, New Jersey) finishing in sixth-place. The No. 38 BGB Motorsports entry shared by Porsche veteran Jan Heylen (Dunedin, Florida) and Thomas Collingwood (Canada) took fifteenth-place in the GS class at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge will next race at VIRginia International Raceway on August 23.
Cup Debut. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Starts 2020 with One-Two Punch.
After having had the season-opening St. Petersburg, Florida round in March canceled while teams were on-site, the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama had a successful 2020-debut at Road America over the August 1 – 2 weekend. The opening weekend of North America’s premier one-make championship came down to a battle between Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) and Jeff Kingsley (Canada) – both Porsche Young Driver Academy North America graduates. It was Kingsley, driving for Madison, Wisconsin entrant Kelly-Moss Road & Race, who earned the first race victory of the year on Saturday, August 1. The win gave Kelly-Moss it’s record 60th class win in the championship that exclusively runs the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner Dickinson finished in second-place in the first of the two 45-minutes races. The positions swapped on Sunday morning, August 2, with Dickinson – who just graduated from high school in June – earning the win in Race 2. Kingsley came home in second-place.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will next race at VIRginia International Raceway on August 22 and 23.
Jeff Kingsley, Driver, No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
"Riley gave it his all today, he was tough to keep back there. We had a really good start and I think that was the key to our success for the first little bit. It was about making laps and staying out front, staying clean and keeping the tires safe. I’m super happy, super proud and ready to do it again tomorrow."
Riley Dickinson Driver, No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
"Overall the Moorespeed team and I had a great weekend. Being back at the track and seeing everyone again was definitely one of the highlights as well as seeing all the fans around the facility! After the race on Saturday, the Moorespeed crew stayed up late working on my Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, making sure everything was squared-away for the second race on Sunday morning. I can’t thank all my guys enough for everything this past weekend, they were a huge part of our result today. We are looking ahead to VIR. I can’t wait to jump back out on track in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama!"