At the Virginia International Raceway, the Porsche GT Team has secured positions two and eight in the GTLM class. In the qualifying for the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 911 was driven by Patrick Pilet. On a track wet with rain, the Frenchman achieved his fastest time on the last lap. With 1:56.170 minutes, he secured position two in the close session. On Sunday, he joins forces with Nick Tandy (Great Britain) to tackle the race over two hours and 40 minutes. Earl Bamber planted the car with the starting number 912 on P8 with a time of 1:57.874 minutes. The New Zealander will drive the first stint at round nine of the championship before handing the car to his teammate Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium).
Shortly before the qualifying session on the racetrack in the US state of Virginia, the sun shone and temperatures had reached 28 degrees Celsius. However, just before the 15-minute session began at noon, a heavy rain fell. Due to persistent showers, the two 510 hp 911 RSR went out on the 5.263-kilometre circuit on wet tyres. The qualifying for the GTD class, which had taken place a few minutes earlier, had started in dry conditions. Wright Motorsports opted for slicks for the Porsche 911 GT3 R and was only surprised by rain in the final laps. Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) claimed the sixth grid spot with a time of 1:44.758 minutes. For the race, he shares driving duties with Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (DK).
Sunday’s race takes off at 13.05 hrs local time (19.05 CEST) and runs over 2:40 hours. Due to the absence of prototypes at this meet, the Porsche 911 RSR in the GTLM class will aim for overall victory.
Steffen Höllwarth (Porsche Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “That was a real qualifying thriller. Just before the session a rain shower threw a spanner in the works. The conditions out on the racetrack were really difficult. We opted to go out very early and managed to move into second place in the last lap. It’s a good result for our number 911 car; with the number 912 we have to work our way up the field during the race.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “When I drove into the pits before the session it started to pour. There were puddles everywhere. But only the first and last parts of the track were wet – the mid-section was dry! Ultimately my last lap was the best. When you start from second on the grid you have just one goal in mind. We want to win.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Unfortunately we didn’t produce the best performance. Towards the end of the qualifying I tried to turn a faster lap and I spun. Now we have some work ahead of us. Starting from eighth on the grid we have to put together a good race strategy, otherwise it’ll be difficult to advance up the field.”
1. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 1:55.580 minutes
2. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:56.170 minutes
3. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:56.185 minutes
4. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:56.760 minutes
5. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:57.148 minutes
6. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 1:57.202 minutes
7. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:57.492 minutes
8. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:57.874 minutes
1. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson (GB/DK), Lexus RC F GT3, 1:44.107 minutes
2. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 1:44.323 minutes
3. Foley/Auberlen (USA/USA), BMW M6 GT3, 1:44.360 minutes
4. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC F GT3, 1:44.516 minutes
5. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 1:44.626 minutes
6. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:44.758 minutes
7. Marks/Aschenbach (USA/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 1:44,797 minutes
8. Legge/Farnbacher (GB/D), Acura NSX GT3, 1:45.506 minutes
9. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 1:45.918 minutes
10. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Audi R8 LMS GT3, 1:55.580 minutes