• Down Under Racing. Porsche Customer Teams Off to Second Enduro of 2018. • Season Has Begun. Porsche Starts IMSA WeatherTech Season at Daytona. • RS1 Number 1. Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR Earns Daytona CTSCC Win.
Event Story Lines.
Down Under Racing. Porsche Customer Teams Off to Second Enduro of 2018.
There is no rest for the weary. Following the 24-hour classics in Dubai and Daytona, Porsche customer teams and factory drivers now turn their attention to Australia. On February 4, the Bathurst 12 Hour will take the green flag on the legendary Mount Panorama Circuit in the state of New South Wales. The 12-hour race serves as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). Porsche supports international 911 GT3 R customer teams in the four-round championship by providing works drivers and engineers.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R teams tackling Bathurst are Manthey-Racing, Craft Bamboo Racing, Black Swan Racing and Competition Motorsports. With seven factory pilots and a Young Professional, these teams will contest the top class against stiff opposition from Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG.
Bathurst is the first of four races on four continents that make up the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar. North America’s round is scheduled for Laguna Seca Raceway on October 28. At the season-opener on the storied Australian racetrack, 60 vehicles line up to compete in various categories including eleven Porsche 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup and Cayman GT4 Clubsport models.
Returning to defend their 2017 APA class victory – second-place overall – is the formidable Australian-North American alliance of Competition Motorsports. The winning quartet of last year reprises their roles in the No. 12 with North America’s only Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) leading Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell, himself a native of Australia, Alex Davison (Australia) and team principal David Calvert-Jones, who splits his time between the two continents.
Black Swan Racing has announced they will compete for the 2018 team championship in IGTC with the No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Team owner/driver Timothy Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts) will be joined by longtime co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen (The Netherlands), Luca Stolz (Germany) and former GT and LMP Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb (Germany) who is now Head of Customer Racing for Porsche Motorsport.
The Manthey-Racing cockpit is shared by Romain Dumas (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). This trio will contest the entire season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Driving for Craft Bamboo Racing are Earl Bamber (New Zealand), the outright 24 Hours of Le Mans winner in 2015 and 2017, Kévin Estre (France) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), the 2016 winner of this racing series.
One of the peculiarities of the race on the 3.861-mile (6.213-kilometers) Mount Panorama Circuit is the starting time. Traditionally, the field is sent on its 12-hour pursuit in the dark at 5:45 (local time) in the morning. The rollercoaster circuit nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Blue Mountains features 23 corners and gradients of up to 16 percent. For most of the year the storied racetrack, built as a part of an employment relief effort in the 1930s, serves as a public road.
The 911 GT3 R was designed by Porsche for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. Mounted with the ultra-modern, four-liter flat-six engine with direct fuel injection, the 500 hp customer sports racer celebrated its race debut in January 2016 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona where it took a podium finish. Since then, the car has notched up victories in numerous international racing series including multiple championships in Pirelli World Challenge in 2017 as well as the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona GTD class victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Bathurst 12 Hour takes the green flag on Sunday, February 4, at 1:45 pm Eastern Time, 5:45 a.m. local time. Outside Australia, the event can be viewed live on the Internet on www.bathurst12hour.com.au.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“The Intercontinental GT Challenge is an attractive racing series which enjoys a high profile globally. For this year’s races, we’re supporting international teams in their 911 GT3 R mission with works drivers and engineers from Porsche Motorsport. The opening round in Bathurst is also the first highlight and a very complex challenge on a fascinating racetrack. With its hilly passages, the Mount Panorama Circuit very much resembles the Nordschleife and puts drivers under the same high demands. With the 911 GT3 R, we’re giving the teams a reliable and competitive car with which they can race for victory at Bathurst.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager 911 GT3 R.
“The regulations prohibit the use of evolutionary stages, which have been homologated for 2018. Therefore, in Bathurst, we’re fielding 2017-spec vehicles. So our customer teams can build on the experiences gained last year. The Mount Panorama Circuit allows no room for error. The biggest challenge will be to cover the twelve-hour distance without a mistake. This won’t be easy, because on the high-speed passages there’s often only a narrow grass strip between the track and the guardrail.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 12 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“The grid lineup at Bathurst is insane. Sixty cars with many strong drivers from all over the world on a fascinating racetrack – it’s flat-out right from the start. Bathurst offers everything that makes a great long-distance race. No wonder it’s so popular with drivers and fans.”
Season Has Begun. Porsche Starts IMSA WeatherTech Season at Daytona.
Fifty years after Porsche’s first overall victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Porsche GT Team fielded two 911 RSR on January 27 – 28 at the long distance classic in Florida. The 510 hp racer with the starting number 912, driven by two-time overall Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), finished sixth in the heavily factory supported GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The second 911 RSR, the No. 911, in which Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) led the field at one point in the first third of the race, took the checkered flag in eighth-place.
Two pit stops for repairs after leaving the track in the “Bus Stop” chicane hampered a top result for the No. 911. The pair of cars qualified in third and fourth-place for the first round of the North American championship.
Facing strong opposition from BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Ford, the pair of Porsches were able to build on their good qualifying performance and maintain contact to the frontrunners on the tradition-steeped, challenging racetrack featuring the banking of the oval made famous by the Daytona 500 and a tight infield portion. Thanks to a strong strategy and his remarkable performance on a wet then slowly drying circuit, Pilet took advantage of an Hour Five rainstorm to move into the lead of the GTLM field. The No. 911 only lost the front spot when it pitted for a scheduled driver change.
After eight hours and 293 laps, the 2015 outright 24 Hours of Le Mans winner lost control of his car in the “Bus Stop”, slid at high speed over the still wet strip next to the track, and impacted heavily with a stack of tires. The crew of mechanics immediately set to work and managed to get Tandy back on the track after 20 minutes. However, the 13 laps that he lost to the class leaders because of this incident proved insurmountable in the race that had a limited number of cautions. The dream of the 78th class win for Porsche was buried. His second impact at the same spot during the night cost more valuable time, but proved inconsequential due to the already significant gap.
The race for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, shared by Bamber, Vanthoor and Bruni, ran without issues. The trio made no major mistakes, however they were unable to match the pace of the frontrunners over the distance. In addition, the caution phases at this year’s Daytona race were few and far between, making it impossible to close the gap to the leaders behind the safety car. This year, only four caution periods – compared to 21 in 2017 – prevented any significant ground to be recaptured.
Round two of the WeatherTech Championship, the Mobil 1 1Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Florida is scheduled for March 17.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“We gained a lot of positive experiences in preparing for the race and at the start, also in terms of the performance of our 911 RSR. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to implement this over the entire race distance. The result is disappointing. We had bad luck with the two impacts, which cost us a lot of time. As a result, the faster car fell far behind. The whole team worked excellently and fought to the finish. The pit stops for repairs ran perfectly, yet we couldn’t do any more. That was not our race.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“After such an unfortunate race we have to look at things in a positive light. For instance, one positive aspect is that the team pulled together as one unit this week. Everyone knew what they had to do. Plus we didn’t have any problems during free practice and were going well early on in the race. We now need to build on this. Daytona is an important race, there’s no question about that, but the season has only just begun.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Prior to the race we were all feeling very confident. We conducted very intensive tests here and managed to find a good setup for our 911 RSR on this racetrack. That makes this result all the more disappointing. Daytona was a strange race this year with very few safety car phases. We actually didn’t make any mistakes, however we were simply not fast enough in some passages.”
RS1 Number 1. Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR Earns Daytona CTSCC Win.
The start of the 2018 season saw RS1 pick up where it left off at the end of last year. The 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) GS class Champions earned the pole position and race victory at the CTSCC season opener in Daytona, Florida. Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia) and Dillon Machavern (Burlington, Vermont) drove the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR to the win in the BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona. It was the second consecutive year that the Porsche, based on the road-going Cayman GT4, has won the four-hour endurance at the famous Daytona International Speedway (DIS).
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Future Porsche Events.
Pirelli World Challenge
Event: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Streets of St. Petersburg
Dateline: St. Petersburg, Florida
Date: Friday - Sunday, March 9 - 11, 2018
Track Length: 1.8-miles, 14-turn
Race Duration: Two Races, 50-minute
Class: GT (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
GTS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GT. 1 and 2 of 9
GTS. 1 and 2 of 8
Next Round: Grand Prix of Texas, Austin, Texas, Circuit of the Americas, March 23 - 25, 2018
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Event: 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Wednesday – Saturday, March 14 – 17, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 12-Hours
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)
GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. 2 of 11
GTD. 2 of 11
Next Round: BUBBA Burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach, Long Beach, California, Long Beach Temporary Street Course, April 13 – 14, 2018
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Event: Sebring 120, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Friday, March 16, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 2-Hours
Class: GS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GS. 2 of 10
Next Round: Mid-Ohio 120, Lexington, Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, May 12, 2018