Event Story Lines.
Seven Years. Seven Titles for Porsche 911 RSR in North America.
The factory racing team for Porsche concluded its’ successful run in North America for the moment on November 15 with the final outing at Sebring International Raceway. At the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race in Florida, the Porsche GT Team and its long-standing partner CORE autosport made a strong final impression finishing one-two in the intensely competitive GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The emotional and extremely successful farewell concluded a seven-year program that yielded an outstanding record of seven class title wins in the IMSA series, five championships in the North American Endurance Cup, 21 race wins and 56
podium finishes for the German sports car manufacturer.
Fast From the Start.
When the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am racing series merged to become the Tudor United SportsCar Championship at the beginning of 2014, Porsche made the decision this new sports car racing series would become the playing field for a new “works” squad and two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Joining forces with the experienced CORE autosport team, a top squad was created to compete in the GTLM class with cars capable of racing in both the IMSA series and in the ACO World Endurance Championship (WEC). At the very first outing in January of 2014, the team was immediately successful. Works drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France) celebrated a class win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. In the second round of the season, the legendary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, their factory colleagues Michael Christensen (Denmark), Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Manhattan Beach, California’s Patrick Long triumphed. After a string of strong performances followed, another victory was added to the freshman tally at Petit Le Mans. The collective results gave Porsche the manufacturer’s title at the end of its first season.
Achieving the Unachievable.
An impressive debut in the GTLM class when the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart, Germany earned all titles in the North American Endurance Cup in its first year. This competition includes the longest and toughest races at Daytona (24-hours), Sebring (12-hours), Watkins Glen (six-hours) and the spectacular Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (10-hours). It is on the Road Atlanta racetrack near the headquarters of Porsche Cars North America that the “works” squad achieved what is arguably its greatest success. At Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Georgia in early October 2015, Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz not only beat their GTLM rivals but also the prototype racers in heavy rain. It was the first overall victory for the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. This incredible feat handed Porsche its second straight manufacturers’ title as well as the team championship, with the prestigious drivers’ crown in the US racing series taken by factory driver Patrick Pilet.
New Porsche 911 RSR outpaces the competition in the 2017 endurance events.
IMSA renamed the championship as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and Porsche fielded the brand new 911 RSR for the first time. In the fierce competition against five other manufacturers in the GTLM class, the factory team under the name Porsche North America won round three on the spectacular street circuit of Long Beach in California. Pilet and Tandy clinched the maiden win for the new 911 RSR on the street circuit close to Los Angeles. Their factory driver colleagues Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki followed-up with a second class victory in Austin, Texas. At the start of the following season, Porsche fielded a completely new RSR – with its normally aspirated 4-liter flat-six engine mounted in front of the rear axle for the first time. In 2017, with the prototypes absent, Pilet and his German teammate Dirk Werner secured the overall victory at the picturesque Lime Rock racetrack. The pair also claimed the drivers’ title in the North American Endurance Cup. At the end of the brand new Porsche 911 RSR’s debut season, the teams earned the championship title in this endurance competition.
As good as it gets – records, winning streak and all titles in 2019.
In the 2018 season, the factory team achieved three victories and many top results in qualifying with the two ca. 510-hp GT nine-elevens from Weissach, but other titles remained elusive. Things changed dramatically the following season. 2019 turned into one of the most successful years in the history of Porsche Motorsport. After colleagues have claimed victory at Le Mans and all titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the American Porsche team stepped up to the plate. First in the manufacturers’ championship, triumph in the team category and the drivers’ title for Earl Bamber and his Belgian teammate Laurens Vanthoor. The victorious duo and their colleagues in the sister car, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, clinched five wins in a row during the first half of the season. Such a streak of wins had never been seen before in the GTLM category. An additional outright victory at the VIRginia International Raceway and a strong performance from the two Porsche 911 RSR decked out in the Coca-Cola design at the final round of the season at Road Atlanta were the icing on the cake of a dream year.
The best comes last: One-two on “Sebring home turf”.
In the 2020 season, the Porsche GT Team initially faced a tough test of patience. The new ca. 515 hp Porsche 911 RSR, which had impressively showcased its qualities at the first races of the WEC, again turned heads in the IMSA series. At the first six events of the year, the works team posted pole position four times. During that same period, the two cars lead the field over a total of 2,140.62-miles (3,445-kilometers) – which is approximately the same as the combined distances of the Sebring and Road Atlanta endurances races! However, it took until October 17 for the long-awaited first victory of the season. At Petit Le Mans, the ten-hour race, Nick Tandy, Frédéric Makowiecki and the Australian Matt Campbell bring the No. 911 car over the finish line in first-place. At the following race, Bamber and Vanthoor notched-up the first victory for a factory 911 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. At that point the tradition-steeped racetrack in California was the only permanent circuit on the annual IMSA calendar where Porsche had never won.
The final appearance could not have gone more perfect. Race day in Sebring began with five Porsche 911 RSR from three different generations turning parade laps. The vehicles flying the colors of Brumos, Coca-Cola and Mobil1, among other memorable corporate liveries of longtime sponsors and supporters, spearheaded by the latest model finished in the “Thank You” livery. The stars and stripes paintwork and thunderous burnouts delighted and thrilled fans at the track. After an immaculate performance from the CORE autosport team at the classic twelve-hour endurance race, the works cars took the checkered flag in first and second-place. After seven years, this triumph closes the circle perfectly for the Porsche GT Team in the IMSA series: Victory at the maiden outing in 2014 at Daytona, victory at the final race in Sebring 2020.
Testing, Testing. Final test for TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Ahead of Season.
At the official test days for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship at Valencia, Spain, the countdown to the new season will begin for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. All twelve teams in the innovative electric race series will spend the days between November 28 and December 1 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo preparing for the start of the season in Santiago de Chile. The first two races of Season 7 are scheduled to take place in the South American metropolis on January 16 and 17, 2021.
For the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, the five test sessions overall in Spain are an important assessment of where it stands ahead of its second season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and a welcome opportunity to subject the Porsche 99X Electric race car to a final endurance test. The electric race car has been undergoing continuous development from the engineers in Weissach, Germany and has been given a new powertrain. As regular drivers, André Lotterer (Germany) in car No. 36 and Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) driving the No. 99, will be taking the wheel at Valencia. Wehrlein will represent Porsche for the first time in the upcoming season. Simona De Silvestro (Switzerland) and Neel Jani (Switzerland) are the reserve drivers for 2021.
Formula E will travel to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the fourth time for its official test days before the season officially gets underway. The track, originally designed for motorcycle races, was temporarily adapted to meet Formula E requirements with an additional chicane but this has been removed again to reduce the risk of damaging the cars because they will be shipped from Valencia straight to Santiago de Chile. Instead of the chicane, an innovative track limits system will be installed in various turns.
The first current photos from Valencia will be available in the Porsche press database on November 28. A report on the tests with evaluations from the Head of Operations Formula E and the drivers will follow on December 1. More information about the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will be published live on the Twitter handle @PorscheFormulaE. The Porsche Media Guide located at https://media.porsche.com/mediakit/formula-e contains everything you need to know about the team, drivers and race series.
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E.
“Our preparations for Season 7 started as soon as the checkered flag was waved after the final race in Berlin. After that we looked at every single aspect of our car and the team processes in great detail and optimized every little thing with regard to the new season. In that respect, the Valencia test is an important assessment of where we stand. As a new team in the hotly contested world championship with a strong field, we learned a great deal in our rookie season. I am confident that we have made huge progress in development in all areas, but our rivals have been working just as hard so we’re looking forward to an interesting season. The Valencia test will show us whether we have been working in the right direction and where we stand compared with our competitors.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“I’m looking forward to the test at Valencia with high hopes. We have a very interesting first season behind us, in which we learnt a great deal and made good progress from race to race. The Valencia track isn’t overly relevant for Formula E, even with the new layout, meaning without the additional chicane and with track limits sensors. But we will see how we measure up to the competition. This assessment of where we are at is important.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Driver, No. 99 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“Valencia will be my first official test with my new team. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve had a really warm welcome from everyone and have settled in well. I’ve been in Weissach several times since August, to prepare for the season through simulator sessions and – importantly – to build a good relationship with my engineers. Now I can’t wait for things to finally get started.”
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing. @PorscheTeam
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Porsche Sprint Trophy USA West. @PorscheSprintTrophyUSAWest (Instagram)
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE
Image courtesy of Porsche Cars North America