All credit to the Porsche 911 RSR team in the IMSA championship this year. The cars have been stellar, the drivers have converted good qualifying into good races, and the two factory-supported 911s have combined to win six of the 11 races so far this season. The team has managed to develop the best all-around package for this season so far, and lead the manufacturer's and driver's championship by a huge margin.
IMSA did not make any balance of performance changes to the 911 RSR for the Laguna Seca race, meaning the team is running the exact same weight and horsepower they used to win the VIR race a few weeks ago. However, because the race ran green flag from start to finish, Porsche could not find a tactical advantage in the pits over other teams, and ultimately both cars finished a lap down to the GTLM class winning Ford GT.
Despite starting the race in fourth, the #912 car of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber continued to fall down the time tables as temperatures heated up and the car struggled for grip on the greasy California track, finishing an uneventful and unimpressive 7th. Pilet and Tandy qualified the #911 car in 8th (last), and that is where the pair finished the race as well.
With just one race remaining in the season, next month's Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta is for all the marbles.
Comments on the Race:
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “The race in the GTLM class was the worst we’ve experienced with our factory cars this season. For once we weren’t competitive and for the first time in twelve months we didn’t finish on the podium. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect our bid for the championship, as we’re heading to the finale at Road Atlanta as the big favourites. We won the Sprint Cup classification in the GTD class with the brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Congratulations to Zacharie Robichon on winning the title and a big thank you to our team at Weissach for developing a great GT3 car.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “This simply wasn’t our race. We already noticed in practice that it’d be difficult for us in terms of tyre durability. Still, we tried our best in the race. But even with an immaculate performance from us drivers and a flawless job from the pit crew, we simply couldn’t do more. Now we’re looking ahead. It’ll undoubtedly be better for us at the final round at Road Atlanta.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We still hold a clear lead in the championship. That’s the most important thing after such a difficult race. We had no real chance today because there was too much wear on the tyres. I don’t know if we could have achieved more with a different strategy. It doesn’t matter now. We’re looking forward to the ten-hour race on the outskirts of Atlanta, which is where Porsche North America is based. We are keen to secure the championship title at our home race.”
1. Müller/Hand (D/USA), Ford GT, 114 laps
2. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 114 laps
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Corvette C7.R, 114 laps
7. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
8. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
1. Sellers/Lewis (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 110 laps
2. MacNeil/Vilander (USA/FIN), Ferrari 488 GT3, 110 laps
3. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 109 laps
4. Robichon/Hargrove (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 109 laps