2020 has been a challenging year for Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Entering the tenth race of the 11-event season, two Porsche factory and one customer team comes to the Monterey Peninsula in California searching to keeping driving the momentum. It took nine rounds of North America’s premier sports car racing series for the series’ 2019 GTLM class Manufacturer Champions to score a first victory in the 11-race season. That win – a record-extending 24th for a manufacturer in the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta – came to the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 which will be piloted by Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) in the Monterey Sports Car Championship on Sunday, November 1. Still looking for their first victory of the season at the two-hour, 40-minute headline event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca are 2019 Team and Driver Champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) in the No. 912 entry. Also in search of its first GTD class race win is the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R race car prepared by Wright Motorsports for Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia).
Deep in the thick of the championship chase of the GTD class for GT3-spec machines, Wright Motorsports had its three-race podium streak come to a stop in Atlanta. The John Wright-led program finished in fourth-place narrowly missing extending the streak at Petit Le Mans. The Ohio-based operation will attempt to jump start the streak at on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn course. With 224 points, Long/Hardwick are tied for third-place in the Pro-Am style driver standings; two markers out of second-place and a narrow four-points behind the leading production-based race car of Lexus. Wright Motorsports’ one-car team is only two points out of the lead for the Team title.
Porsche is 13-points behind Lexus and only four back from Acura in the GTD point standings for “Makes”. The German marque makes its only California appearance of the season in third-place of the GTLM Manufacturer standings. Corvette leads with BMW just behind.
Practice for the Monterey Sports Car Championship starts on Saturday, October 31 with two sessions. Qualifying will be Sunday morning, November 1, with a 15-minute session for GTD beginning at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET. GTLM time trials will start at 8:55 a.m. PT/11:55 a.m. ET and ending at 9:10 a.m. local time/12:10 p.m. ET. The final sprint race of the season will take the green flag at 1:05 p.m. PT/4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.
The schedule (local time, CEST: -8/-9 hours)
Saturday, 31 October (Californian summertime)
08:00 – 09:00 am: Free practice 1
12:00 – 01:15 pm: Free practice 2
Sunday, 1 November (Californian wintertime)
08:30 – 08:45 am: Qualifying GTD
08:55 – 09:10 am: Qualifying GTLM
01:05 – 03:45 pm: Race
Drivers’ comments prior to the race
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I’m really excited about the upcoming race, because the track is legendary – and not just because of the Corkscrew, but also the overall layout. We’ll have to wait and see how well the new Porsche 911 RSR suits the quirks of this circuit. We’ve been fast on short circuits so far this year, so I’m heading into the penultimate race of the season with high hopes and expectations.
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Travelling to Laguna Seca is always an absolute highlight for me. You land in San Francisco with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, then you drive along the Pacific coast towards Monterey and finally there’s the wonderful drive into the highlands not far from the ocean – it’s simply fabulous for a California fan like me. We’ve never been particularly successful on this circuit so far, but I’m feeling confident that this will change with the new Porsche 911 RSR.”