On the back of the first-ever win for the Porsche 963 at the previous round in Long Beach, the new hybrid prototype from Weissach has now notched up its first pole position: in qualifying at Laguna Seca, factory driver Matt Campbell dominated the qualifying in Laguna Seca at the wheel of the No. 7 car fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport followed closely by his brand colleague Mathieu Jaminet. For the race, the Australian, who topped the time sheets in both practice sessions, shares the cockpit of the 500+ kW (680 PS) vehicle with Felipe Nasr from Brazil. Jaminet shares driving duties in the No. 6 car with Nick Tandy from the UK. In the GTD-Pro class, Klaus Bachler secured the best grid position in Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R. Alec Udell from the USA achieved the same in the GTD category in the identical model campaigned by Kellymoss with Riley.
One manufacturer clinches three pole positions in three different vehicle categories on a single day – something unprecedented in the history of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In sunshine and temperatures just above 20 degrees Celsius, the two Porsche 963 fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport left no doubts about their strength during the 20-minute qualifying session. After setting the fastest times in the top GTP class in the two previous practice sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, Matt Campbell promptly appeared at the top of the timesheet halfway through the qualifying session. With about four minutes remaining on the clock, his brand colleague Jaminet replaced the Australian at the top, only for Campbell to reclaim it shortly afterwards. His advantage at the end: 0.090 seconds. Both of the works team’s Porsche 963 will tackle round four of the North American IMSA championship from the first grid row. Tijmen van der Helm from the Netherlands planted the vehicle of the new customer squad JDC-Miller MotorSports on P9.
“A great result,” says a pleased Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “After the strong performance in the sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoon, we’d expected a decent qualifying result – but first and second place? No way. This result shows that we’re taking good steps in the right direction. I also see that our new customer team JDC-Miller MotorSports is on a positive learning curve. Things are looking good there too. Our data gives us hope for race day. We’re looking forward to it. Congratulations as well to our customer teams in the two GT classes. Three poles for Porsche in one day – that’s a dream.”
“We’d already underlined our strong form in the practice sessions. It’s fantastic that we turned this into a strong qualifying result,” concludes Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “Despite our recent victory at Long Beach, the team has worked systematically and intensely on improving. We achieved maximum progress on all fronts. Our colleagues from the FIA WEC also contributed significantly to this, for example during tests. As a result, we’ve made good progress, especially in the areas of software and systems. I’m delighted for the whole team. Hopefully, we can follow up with another victory tomorrow.”
Porsche 963 of JDC-Miller MotorSports starts from P9
The bright yellow Porsche 963 fielded by the JDC-Miller Motorsports customer team contested the official sessions of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the first time. While the experienced German Mike Rockenfeller turned most of the practice laps, it was 19-year-old Tijmen van der Helm who tackled the qualifying session in the No. 5 car. Over the 20-minute hunt for top times, the youngster improved from lap to lap and gained important insights ahead of the team’s first race in the top GTP class.
Porsche 911 GT3 R tackle both GT classes from pole position
Porsche’s customer teams contesting the two GT classes of the IMSA series rounded off a banner day for Porsche Motorsport. Austria’s Klaus Bachler clinched pole position in the GTD-Pro class at the wheel of Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the race, Bachler shares the cockpit of the No. 9 car with Frenchman Patrick Pilet. In the GTD category, the amateur driver Alec Udell gave an impressive performance. Surprisingly, the American out-qualified professional drivers from rival manufacturers and teams and secured the first pole for Kellymoss with Riley in the IMSA series. AO Racing’s 911 with the nickname “Rexy” starts from the third grid spot. The No. 91 entry of Kellymoss with Riley achieved ninth, with Wright Motorsports’ car on P15.
Round four of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is contested over 2:40 hours. The event on the famous Laguna Seca Raceway gets underway on Sunday at 12:10 pm local time (21:10 CEST).
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “Finally, the first pole position for the new Porsche 963! We’ve made noticeable progress since the race weekend in Long Beach. That was immediately evident at Laguna Seca. We were fastest in both practice sessions and now we’ve underlined that in qualifying as well. Overtaking is very difficult on this track. So, it’s all the more important that we’re starting from the front row with both cars. Strategy will be a decisive factor in the race. I hope we can stay at the very front.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “A perfect day for Porsche and our factory team: the first pole – and then both cars at the front of the grid. Second place is a good result for me. We made a few small adjustments to the setup before qualifying. That paid off. Our car was really nice to drive. I made a minor mistake on my flying lap. That happens sometimes. Nevertheless, it’s been and will continue to be an excellent Saturday for all of us. I’m thrilled for my colleague Matt, who scored the first pole position for the Porsche 963.”
Tijmen van der Helm (Porsche 963 #5): “We made further progress in qualifying with what is a completely new car for us. We’re continuing to learn and improve. The qualifying result was less important to us. Now we’re looking at all the data and implementing further improvements to our Porsche 963 for race day. I’m feeling confident.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “This is insane! It’s my very first time at Laguna Seca and I’ve clinched my first pole in the IMSA series on this difficult track of all places – that’s incredible. Today is a day I certainly won’t forget in a hurry. We’ve worked hard and systematically developed our Porsche 911 GT3 R. Tomorrow, there are big trophies to be won. We’re hungry for the class win.”
Alec Udell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #92): “This car is just great. We worked on the details during practice. It didn’t take much at all to set it up optimally. Of course, I’m extremely pleased with the result! Working with my teammate Julien Andlauer is fantastic. Our entire team is doing a mega job. Some of our colleagues already arrived a week ago to prepare our Porsche 911 GT3 R perfectly – a dream!”
1. Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 1:14.774 minutes
2. Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 1:14.864 minutes
3. Blomqvist/Braun (UK/USA), Acura #60, 1:14.979 minutes
1. Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 1:24.529 minutes
2. Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 1:24.654 minutes
3. Jundadella/Gounon (E/F), Mercedes-AMG #79, 1:24.706 minutes
1. Udell/Andlauer (USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 1:24.539 minutes
2. Sörensen/de Angelis (DK/CDN), Aston Martin #27, 1:24.647 minutes
3. Jeannette/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 1:25.005 minutes
9. Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 1:25.601 minutes
15. Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 1:26.365 minutes
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