For the third time in three weeks (first Bowmanville, then the Nurburgring, and now Lime Rock) the new Porsche 911 RSR started from pole position. During qualifying for round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Lime Rock Park Gianmaria Bruni secured the best spot on the grid. For Porsche this is the second pole position in the IMSA SportsCar Championship after Bowmanville two weeks ago, and the third of the season. However, Porsche's good fortune didn't stop there.
First win for the new Porsche 911 RSR
The Nurburgring proved to be the first podium for Porsche and their new 911 RSR and this weekend at Lime Rock they achieved their first victory.
On Saturday, Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner won round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. In the fiercely-competitive and gripping race from start to finish, Porsche managed to beat its strong rivals from BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Ford. Since Lime Rock was exclusively for GT vehicles, this meant that the Porsche pilots in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR were also the overall winners. In the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team, their teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni clinched second place, making the weekend perfect for Porsche with a double victory.
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “We’ve worked towards this day for a long time. We had to cope with several setbacks this season, but we never threw in the towel. It’s wonderful that the first win for the new 911 RSR has finally come. And the fact that it’s my first win as a Porsche works driver makes this achievement very special. This racetrack certainly has it all. Because it’s so short, it’s a constant fight for positions and nonstop overtaking manoeuvres. The fans definitely enjoyed it. We did too. It’s a great day for Porsche.”
How The Race Went
When the 24-strong field of the GTLM and GTD classes took off on the short 1.5 mile race track conditions were cloudy and not as hot as Friday’s temperatures during qualifying. In the two free practices and the qualifying, teams and drivers had had to contend with temperatures exceeding 86 degrees Farenheit. Traditionally, Lime Rock is a two-day event. Racing is not permitted on Sundays as a church service is held in a small chapel close to the track. The crew of the Porsche GT Team coped well with the overtime hours in the heat, and were rewarded with pole position for the 911 RSR. The squad watched from the pit wall as polesitter Gianmaria Bruni made a catapult start off the line to pull clear of the field.
On this short track where overtaking is extremely difficult, Dirk Werner got away cleanly at the start, making up one position, which had the Porsches running one and two at an early stage. After an unintentional detour off the track, Gianmaria Bruni had to come in for an earlier than scheduled first pit stop to remove grass from the radiator. Still, he managed to hand the 911 RSR over to his teammate Laurens Vanthoor while still in the lead. Dirk Werner pulled into the pits for a service and driver change immediately behind him. Patrick Pilet took the wheel of the #911 vehicle, and promptly rejoined the race in front. Just before the halfway mark of the 2.40-hour race, he was in the lead, with Laurens Vanthoor behind him in second place. With the Porsche duo fending off all attacks from their pursuers, this order remained to the flag. After 181 laps double victory was achieved – Porsche's greatest success of the season so far.
The Race in GTD
If Porsche's win in GTLM wasn't enough for fans, Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (USA) earned the GTD class victory in the 911 GT3 R campaigned by the Park Place Motorsports customer team.
Jörg Bergmeister (911 GT3 R #73): “An unbelievable weekend. This was my seventh win at Lime Rock, and Porsche’s first win with the new 911 RSR. Our 911 GT3 R ran perfectly without the slightest problem. It was a tough fight from the very start, but it was tremendous fun.”
This marks the seventh victory for Jörg Bergmeister at Lime Rock. His factory driver colleague Patrick Long clinched third place for Alegra Motorsports with Daniel Morad.