On Saturday afternoon Pfaff Motorsports began celebrating its second IMSA GTD championship in two years, having graduated from standard GTD to GTD Pro in 2022. Most of the hard work for this championship victory was already done before the team ever showed up at Road Atlanta for the 10-hour endurance Petit Le Mans race, as the plaid Porsche team had enough of a points lead that all they needed to do was start the race in order to clinch the championship. By taking the green flag, the team became 2022 GTD Pro champs, scored the drivers’ championship for Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet, and handed the constructors’ championship to Porsche as the lone Porsche in the class. It was an impressive season set apart by five race victories—including the incredible 24 Hours of Daytona victory back in January—and four additional podium finishes.
At Road Atlanta the weather looked positively perfect for the entirety of the 10 hour event. Campbell and Jaminet were joined by Porsche factory ace Felipe Nasr for this endurance event, and the team could not have performed better. Nasr started the race and ran two and a half hours of tremendous pace, running at the front and fighting for the lead. He passed the reigns to Campbell, who ran into the team’s only bit of bad luck. Contact with the Corvette squad saw the #9 Porsche suffer a flat tire, and significant time lost returning to the pits, putting them two laps down. With some clever strategy, which is the team’s forte, and some good luck, the team recovered to the lead lap and was back fighting the top five within an hour of the incident. The Porsche even saw the lead again a few times on pit strategy, and was in with a legitimate shot at the victory with an hour to go in the race. Shortly after that a lengthy yellow flag saw the field bunched up and an all-out bar brawl for the win was on the cards. Getting balked by the leading Lexus during an attempt at the pass for the win saw the Porsche drop to fourth as competition from Ferrari and Corvette slip past.
Pfaff finished the race fourth on the road, but the Ferrari team miscalculated their driver minimum seat times for the enduro, and were penalized heavily for the rules infraction. As a result the Lexus was promoted to the class victory, and Porsche picked up onto the podium. Sometimes that’s how racing goes, and you take the windfalls you’re given. The team had some early issues, but overcame to fight for the win once again, and it was a tremendous race to be a Porsche fan. That championship was more deserved than ever!
For Pfaff Motorsports, the wait was over immediately after the ten-hour race began: With the successful start of the 2022 Petit Le Mans, the team had already notched up enough points to hand all three titles in the new GTD-Pro class to Porsche, the Canadian squad and the two works drivers Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet. This was the second title in a row for the team with the distinctive and extremely popular Porsche 911 GT3 R decked out in the lumberjack livery. In 2021, Pfaff Motorsports won the GTD category.
“Congratulations to Pfaff Motorsports, our victorious works drivers and the entire team from Weissach, who made the other title victories with the Porsche 911 GT3 R possible. Last year’s triumph in the GTD category, now the championship title in the new GTD-Pro class – we’re delighted with the Pfaff squad,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “We’re just as proud of our partners in the GTD class. Wright Motorsports were in close contention for the title right up to the final race. That’s an honourable achievement. We’ve given the current generation GT3 R a fitting farewell in North America. We’re now looking forward to the brand new 911 GT3 R in the GT categories and the 2023 season with the Porsche 963 in the new GTP class.”
“We didn’t have the fastest car on the track today, but the experienced Pfaff and Wright customer teams managed to get the best out of it,” concludes Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “It’s a great story that Pfaff Motorsports secured the 2021 title in the GTD class and did it again the following year in the new GTD-Pro category. Five wins this season is tremendous – no one has ever achieved that many wins in one season before in the GT classes of the IMSA championship. Our Porsche 911 GT3 R was able to showcase its potential over and over again this year. Now we’re excited about its successor, which will make its debut at Daytona in 2023.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “It feels totally surreal. We’ve won every title in this tremendous year and we’re back on the podium again at the final race. It’s amazing what we have achieved as a team. There was only one race where we didn’t end up on the podium. That’s phenomenal. On one hand, it’s a pity that our journey with the Pfaff Motorsports squad ends here. On the other hand, I’m really excited about racing the Porsche 963 next year with Porsche Penske Motorsport.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “Once again, the final phase in the dark was crazy – Petit Le Mans is famous for that. We didn’t have the fastest car today, but I still thought I had good chances in the thrilling finale. It was a four-way fight with an open-ended outcome. There was a lot of swapping of paint and positions. We love such situations. It wasn’t enough to win today but that’s okay. Thanks so much to the team for all the great work and strategy. Every single member of the team has become a lifelong friend!”
We’re already looking forward to the 2023 season of IMSA where Porsche will debut not one but two brand new racing machines. The 963 prototype will take on the top class, while the 992-generation of the GT3 R will make its concurrent debut at Daytona next year. This is going to be yet another incredible season of racing for the Porsche teams, and with stellar efforts from Pfaff and Penske, we’ve never had a better group of cars to root for!