Porsche has not had the best luck in the IMSA championship this year. Working within the confines of IMSA's Balance of Performance, the factory Porsche team has done the best they can with the equipment they're allowed. Recent changes to GTLM class BoP have moved them further up the grid, and indeed the 911 and 912 cars were both fighting for the lead of the class this weekend in Wisconsin. Late in the race, however, their luck soured, and they were forced to settle further down the field. Porsche similarly only has one victory in the GTD championship on the season, though in this race the Park Place Motorsports team managed to jump onto the podium with their 911 GT3R.
Porsche In The GTLM Category
From the drop of the flag this weekend, it was instantly apparent that Porsche had picked up some pace to the leaders with the new tire allowances and minor BoP changes they were given. Every manufacturer in this category was fighting for the lead at one point or another, and it was honestly an entertaining and exciting race to watch. If you get a chance, you should check it out when it is posted on IMSA's YouTube channel, because it is worth watching. The race, in the closing stages, boiled down to a handful of sprint laps to the finish following a late race full course yellow.
Ford was leading at the restart with Ferrari in second and the #911 Porsche in third. Going into turn one, the Ford went wide and the Ferrari behind was forced to check up. Meanwhile Nick Tandy made a dive up the inside and briefly moved into the lead. As the Ford was returning to the track surface, however, it clipped the back of Tandy's car and spun him around. Unfortunately he went from first to seventh in that single move. No word has been said about Fred Mako's restart in the #912 car, but he got caught out when it went back green, because he fell from fourth to fifth, and was not able to keep pace with the rest of the leaders. With their teammates falling so far back, Mako's 4th place finish was the best they could hope for.
Nick Tandy, Driver 911 RSR #911 - “Obviously I’m disappointed to have lost an almost certain podium position shortly before the finish. But the entire race was really tough with lots of contact. After the final caution phase, it would have been almost impossible to have fitted a piece of paper between the Ford, the Ferrari and me. I was determined to use my chance to win, which proved a little too ambitious and ended with my spin. But I see the many positive aspects. We had a good run right from practice to the qualifying and the race. Our lead underlined that we’re on the right track.”
Porsche In The GTD Category
There were a few major changes to Porsche's race lineup in GTD this weekend.
First, and most positively, the WeatherTech team added a second GT3R to their roster this weekend, outfitting the car with David MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette.
Second, The WeatherTech team removed Leh Keen from their driver lineup, and partnered Cooper MacNeil instead with Sven Muller. Leh is a friend of FLATSIXES.com, and we wish him well in future ventures. We don't know why the split occurred, and we certainly won't speculate. Both the team and Leh have declined to provide further comment.
Third, the Black Swan Racing car was removed from the race, and presumably the championship for the foreseeable future. Team principle Tim Pappas made the decision following the death of his father last Monday. Our thoughts are with the Pappas family during this unfortunate time. The following is Tim's comment on the situation.
"We lost an amazing person on Monday. Unfortunately, losing my dad happened suddenly, without any warning. I am devastated as he's been an amazing father, grandfather, mentor and my best friend. All of my attention is now focused on my family. Until after we celebrate my father's life, I cannot begin to think about anything else."
The Park Place Motorsports Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Pat Lindsey was able to make a run up at the front for most of the race in GTD. The Riley Viper was absolutely set up for this race, and they led nearly the entire event, so it was difficult for the Porsche to make any inroads on their progress. The team finished the race on the podium, sitting on the second step. This was an excellent result for the team, and their second podium of the year (again finishing second to the Riley Viper team at Detroit Belle Isle).
Jörg Bergmeister, Driver 911 GT3 R #73 - “That was a hard race. The podium came somewhat unexpectedly for us, but that makes it all the more fantastic. In the final phase I had resigned myself to finishing on fourth, but then two Audis in front of me made mistakes and, of course, I made the most of the situation.”
GTLM Class Result
1. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, 70 laps
2. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 70
3. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW M6, 70
4. Bamber/Makowiecki (NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 70
5. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 70
6. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 70
7. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 70
8. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW M6, 69
9. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 67
GTD Class Result
1. Bleekemolen/Keating (NL/USA), Dodge Viper GT3, 69 laps
2. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 69
3. Nielsen/Balzan (DK/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 69
4. Lally/Potter (USA/USA), Audi R8, 69
5. Liddell/Davis /GB/USA), Audi R8, 69
11. C. MacNeil/Müller (USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 69
12. Farnbacher/Riberas (D/E), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 69
13. D. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 69
Current Season Championship Points
GTLM Driver's Championship
1. Millner, Gavin, Corvette, 264 points
2. Briscoe, Westbrook, Ford, 251
3. Garcia, Magnussen, Chevrolet, 223
4. Fisichella, Vilander, Ferrari, 220
5. Bamber, Makowiecki, Porsche, 219
5. Auberlen, Werner, BMW, 219
6. Hand, Müller, Ford, 209
7. Pilet, Tandy, Porsche, 204
8. Edwards, Luhr, BMW, 192
GTLM Manufacturer's Championship
1. Chevrolet, 262 points
2. Ford, 249
3. Porsche, 237
4. BMW, 234
5. Ferrari, 230
GTLM Teams Championship
1. #4 Corvette Racing, 264 points
2. #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 251
3. #3 Corvette Racing, 223
4. #25 BMW Team RLL, 220
4. #62 Risi Competizione, 220
5. #912 Porsche North America, 219
6. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 209
7. #911 Porsche North America, 204
8. #100 BMW Team RLL, 192
GTD Driver's Championship
1. Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan - 243
2. John Potter/Andy Lally - 228
3. Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen - 222
4. Alex Riberas/Mario Farnbacher - 207
The next round of IMSA SportsCar Championship will be held on August 28th at Virginia International Raceway.