Entering the IMSA Road Race Showcase, Round Eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Porsche has five WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race wins and a 24-point lead in the GTLM class Manufacturers’ Championship. The two-car “works” Porsche GT Team comes to Road America on August 2 – 4 with the goal to maintain the momentum that has seen the Porsche 911 RSR capture seven-straight podium finishes including a five-race win streak. In addition to the factory squad’s two ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR, three customer teams will field three Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD class at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin-area track. Park Place Motorsports, Pfaff Motorsports and Wright Motorsports each enter a single GT3-spec machine in the Pro-Am style class. In 2018, the John Wright-led squad won the category at the legendary track from pole position.
With four races remaining in the 12-event championship, the No. 912, with full-season regulars Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), currently leads teammates Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) in the No. 911. The cars have split the German marque’s wins with Bamthor – as the pairing of Bamber and Vanthoor have become internationally recognized – earning class wins at Long Beach, Mid-Ohio and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Pilet/Tandy have taken victory at Sebring (with Fredrick Makowiecki) and Watkins Glen. The most recent Road America GTLM class win for Porsche came with Pilet and Tandy behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR in 2015, on their way to the Manufacturer Championship.
As the defending GTD class race-winning driver, Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) takes on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Long will share the car with driver/owner Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California). Lindsey drove to the class pole position at Road America in 2015. The defending GTD race-winning team, Wright Motorsports, continues its two-race season with Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) moving from his one-race stay with Pfaff into the No. 91 Porsche with Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York). Olsen co-drove the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory lane at the most recent race at Lime Rock Park. Fellow Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) fills the vacated Pfaff seat at Road America and will compete with 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Champion Zacharie Robichon (Canada).
Since 1963, Porsche has won 21 times at Road America – 12 times since 2000. The success included two streaks of three race wins in a row. From 1980 – 1982, Porsche 935-based race cars won 500-mile races at Road America. The legendary Porsche 962 prototype replicated that with victories from 1984 – 1986 and added a fourth win for the platform in 1993.
Pascal Zurlinden, Overall Project Manager, GT Factory Motorsport.
“We are all excited about going to the Road America circuit. The course is very challenging for the drivers as it is very fast and in some sections visibility is limited. In recent years we have not been very successful there. Nevertheless, we want to take home as many points as possible to further extend our championship lead.”
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager, IMSA SportsCar Championship.
“Road America is a real driver’s track. That’s why everyone likes to be here. The course is one of the traditional race tracks and the layout has existed since the 1950s. When tuning, we need a good compromise between low downforce on the long straights and plenty of downforce in tight corners. After our modest performance in recent years, we still have a debt to pay with the track.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager, Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Road America is the longest circuit on the calendar. Particularly popular among the drivers is the section known as ‘The Kink’, which is driven in sixth-gear. Our teams have to make the set-up in such a way that the front axle is very stable under high speed in order to be able to drive through ‘The Carousel’ as quickly as possible without understeer. The teams have hardly tested the new GT3 R on this track so far. Nevertheless, we are very confident that our teams will be able to find speed.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I have good memories of Road America. The course is one of my favorite tracks in IMSA. It’s a difficult track for Porsche, but so far we’ve had a strong season. I’m looking forward to the race and hope to extend our championship points. ”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The track is very fast and fun to drive. Road America was not exactly a Porsche circuit in recent years. As a team, we have to come up with something. Maybe the key to success is an unusual strategy. I am optimistic for the race.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Road America is my absolute favorite race track in the US. It is fast and full of challenges. We have had a hard time with good results here in recent years. Overall, this season has been very good. With second-place at the last race in Lime Rock, we were able to extend our lead in the championship. I’m looking forward to Road America. ”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The 2019 season has been a dream for us so far. We definitely want to defend our championship lead. We have four more races in which points will be awarded. That’s why it’s important to stay in the front. I’m curious to see if we can do it as well in Elkhart Lake as we have in the races coming into this weekend.”
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m looking forward to my first experiences at the Road America circuit and to another race in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. This time around I’m starting for Pfaff Motorsports, who won the last race in Lime Rock with a great performance from the team and my Porsche Young Professional colleague Dennis Olsen. ”
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m looking forward to the Road America track and my commitment to Wright Motorsports. My teammate will be Anthony Imperato, who drove a great race in Lime Rock. We’ll see what we can do together with the team. It would be nice if I could build on the victory in Lime Rock. I feel fit and prepared very well through a test session. ”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Road America is a racetrack that you have to be strong in all areas of performance. You can expect a lot of big braking zones, high-speed long straightaways and technical surface changes. It makes for a tricky setup and a very rigorous, flat-out stint. As always, the competition will be tight and strategy will be key. The Park Place Porsche was one of, if not the strongest car last year at Road America so we’ll head into this race with confidence especially with a Porsche victory at the last round.”
Patrick Lindsey, Driver/Team Principal, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m excited to be back in the car with Pat after a short hiatus. Road America is one of my favorite tracks for many reasons so I’m looking forward to the weekend. Last year, it was ours to win and unfortunately we had that taken away from us. Hopefully, this year, we can nail the setup and kind of make good on what should have been last year.”