How The Race Went for Porsche in the GT Le Mans Class
With their success at Lime Rock and Road America, Porsche and its drivers entered the race with their heads held high this past weekend at Laguna Seca. At the 10th round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship, the Porsche RSRs of Patrick Pilet (#911) and Laurence Vanthoor (#912) took a remarkable start and emerged out of the first corner melee in 4th and 5th, respectively; sandwiched in between the Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and the M6 of Alexander Sims.
Soon, Pilet surged ahead the M6 on lap 28 and gained another spot 2 laps later, with the leading Ferrari of Tony Vilander spreading a sizable gap at that point. Soon after, Pilet handed the #911 car over to Dirk Werner, who was subsequently passed by Joey Hand in the #66 Ford GT, and they would remain in 3rd until the end of the race—though trailing only 5 seconds behind the winning Risi Competizione Ferrari.
The final stages of the race were both tense and exhilarating. Porsche's fuel strategy kept them in contention for the lead having to both defend their position from pursuing cars nipping at their heels while keeping a pace that, at times, was just a second off the leader.
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was really close. In the end it was a pure game of chance with the fuel. We assumed that the leading BMW would have to pit, but he kept going. Dirk saved as much fuel as he could, but he couldn’t keep up with the Ferrari, which was following a different strategy. We did the best we could with what we had today, and, as always, we’ve enjoyed wonderful support from our team.”
Things didn't transpire as well for Vanthoor, who was blocked by a prototype's careless maneuver and, as a result, demoted 3 positions. With co-driver Gianmaria Bruni having to serve a drive-through penalty due to a non-compliant pit stop, their chances of a podium went out the window. Though small consolation, they were able to snag a hard-fought 7th place.
GTLM Class Results
1. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, 110 laps
2. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 110
3. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 110
4. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, 110
5. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, 110
6. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 110
7. Vanthoor/Bruni (B/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 109
8. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, 108
9. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, 107
How The Race Went for Porsche in the GT Daytona Class
The fight in GT Daytona was no less frantic. It was Joerg Bergmeister in their #73 GT3 R who took 3rd at the end of a race filled with uncertainty. At the start, it was his teammate, Patrick Lindsey, who held onto 4th behind the Lexus RC-F of former Indycar driver Sage Karam. However, after the first set of pitstops, it was Bergmeister who emerged 3rd, where they would remain until the end—finishing just 7.8 seconds behind the Acura NSX of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge.
Unfortunately for Patrick Long and Daniel Morad, who had run in 2nd at one point, their race came to a premature finish after a retirement on lap 49. If their early departure did any good, it came in the form of a yellow flag which reshuffled the pack and provided a thrilling race for the spectators that day in Monterey.
GTD Class Results
1. Balzan/Nielsen (I/DK), Ferrari 488, 107 laps
2. Lally/Legge (USA/GB), Acura NSX, 107
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 107
4. Braun/Bennett (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 106
6. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 106
16. Long/Morad (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 47