The temporary race track built upon the streets of Long Beach, California for the third round of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship is exceedingly narrow. Plus, the race itself at only 100 minutes long, is the shortest of the year. Combined, these two facts make passing particularly difficult. There's little time to do so and even less room. That's makes the start and race strategy decisions critical.
Looking to take the green flag under the best circumstances possible, all three Porsche 911 RSRs opted to change tires following yesterday’s qualifying session.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: “We opted to change tires on all three of the Porsches before the start. The rule states that you can change tires and go to the back of the grid. So, it was a no-brainer to go to the back of the grid and have new tires for the start. We made it clear to our drivers to push but not take unnecessary risks. So, I do not understand why the Corvette needed to take that risk on the opening corner with the No. 912. Fred’s charge at the end was fantastic. To go from seventh to fourth on a street course is an achievement. It got very intense at the end. We got the number four Corvette who was playing wingman to the number three. We got right up to the three car but then the prototype got between us and that was it. That’s racing.”
The No. 911
Starting seventh and finishing fourth is an impressive feat on any street circuit but even more so at Long Beach. Frédéric Makowiecki had the fight of the day in the car he shares with fellow Frenchmen Patrick Pilet. “Mako” went on a late race charge for the podium chasing down the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. However, several laps behind the Corvette’s teammate, who was a lap down, would limit the No. 911’s attack on the third-place ‘Vette to just the final lap. It simply wasn't enough time to execute the pass for a podium finish. In fact, only two-tenths of a second separated the No. 911 from a podium result on the Long Beach street circuit in California.
Frédéric Makowiecki, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “The beginning of the stint was difficult for me to put temperature in the tire but it was very consistent and quick at the end. When we got up to fight for the podium the second Corvette was a lap down and did not respect the blue flag. We lost three or four laps that we were not able to use to fight with the lead Corvette at the end.”
The No. 912
While the quickest in qualifying of the three Porsche 911 RSRs, you can't beat bad luck. On the first lap, starting driver Richard Lietz was hit by the No. 4 Corvette pushing the car into the wall damaging the right-front wheel hub and power steering system. Even with super quick repairs in pit lane, the team couldn't make up enough ground in the super short race and finished in eighth-place as they passed under the checkered flag.
Richard Lietz, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “I moved up on the side of the Corvette. I gave him room but he did not give me room. There was big damage to the car so the only possibility left was to finish the race and we did that. It is a shame for the team.”
Team Falken Tire
The No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, shared by Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Falken Tire works pilot Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia), finished sixth in class.
GT Le Mans Results
1. No. 25 Bill Auberlen (USA)/Dirk Werner (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE – 76 laps
2. No. 62 Pierre Kaffer (Germany)/Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Ferrari F458 Italia – 76 laps
3. No. 3 Jan Magnusson (Denmark)/Antonio Garcia (Spain), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R – 75 laps
4. No. 911 Frédéric Makowiecki (France)/Patrick Pilet (France), Porsche 911 RSR – 75 laps
5. No. 24 John Edwards (USA)/Lucas Luhr (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE – 75 laps
6. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA) Porsche 911 RSR – 75 laps
7. No. 4 Oliver Gavin (GB)/Tommy Milner (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R – 74 laps
8. No. 912 Jörg Bergmeister (Germany)/Richard Lietz (Austria), Porsche 911 RSR – 60 laps
A two-hour broadcast of yesterday's race can be seen Sunday, April 19 on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The next round of the TUDOR Championship is the two-hour, 45-minute, Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 3.