Defending champions Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber take up round four of the IMSA Sportscar Championship from pole position with the latest Porsche 911 RSR.
With a time of 2:00.590 minutes, qualifying driver Vanthoor also set a new lap record for the GTLM class (GT Le Mans) on the storied Road America racetrack. The sister car shared by Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) tackles the fourth race of the season from the sixth grid spot. In the GTD category (GT Daytona) for vehicles complying with the global GT3 regulations, the 911 GT3 R driven by Ryan Hardwick for the Wright Motorsport customer team posted the ninth quickest time in the final 15-minute session. The American shares the cockpit with his compatriot and Porsche works driver Patrick Long.
The Road America circuit, located a good two hours’ drive north of Chicago in the US state of Wisconsin, is based on a former road circuit and is considered the cradle of American sports car racing. At 6,515 kilometres, it is also the longest track on the IMSA calendar. Porsche last scored pole position in the GTLM class at Road America in 2015, that time by Vanthoor’s current teammate, Earl Bamber.
Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes off on Sunday, 2 August, at 11.05 a.m. local time (18:05 p.m. CEST). The race over 2:40 hours can be viewed outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com. So far this season, Porsche is the only manufacturer to have climbed the podium at every IMSA WeatherTech round. At Road America, the factory squad wants to secure its first win in this series with the latest generation of the 911 RSR. The aim is to defend the manufacturer, team and driver titles from 2019.
Steffen Höllwarth (Head of Operations IMSA Championship): “We have mixed feelings after this qualifying. We’re thrilled about pole position, especially since we didn’t expect to top the timesheets – during practice we put more emphasis on endurance rather than a quick lap. But we did our homework. I think we can also get our number 911 car further up the field. The speed was there, but unfortunately, it didn’t all come together for a fast time. It’ll be a tough fight tomorrow. We’re ready!”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The qualifying didn’t go as I’d expected. We had the speed for pole position, but I made a mistake in Turn 12 and slid off in Turn 13. Now we’ll prepare the car for Sunday’s race. I think we’ll be good for a podium result.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “In the first sessions we still had problems with the balance. But we sat down with the engineers and found a solution. The car then felt really good in qualifying. Everything worked. Pole position: great!”
- Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR #912, 2:00.590 minutes
- Taylor/Garcia (USA/E), Chevrolet Corvette C8.R #3, + 0.264 seconds
- Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C8.R #4, + 0.314 seconds
- Spengler/De Phillippi (CDN/USA), BMW M8 GTE #25, + 0.565 seconds
- Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE #24, + 0.612 seconds
- Makowiecki/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR #911, + 0.715 seconds
- Telitz/Hawksworth (USA/GBR), Lexus RC F GT3 #14, 2:06.251 minutes
- Montecalvo/Bell (USA/USA), Lexus RC F GT3 #12, + 0.787 seconds
- Fergus/Holton (USA/USA), McLaren 720S GT3 #76, + 1.014 seconds
At round four of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Road America, the Porsche drivers will fight for the first win of the season with the 911 RSR. The North American factory squad fields two RSR racers in the GTLM class. Porsche is the only manufacturer by now to have climbed the podium at every IMSA WeatherTech round this season. At Elkhart Lake, the sports car manufacturer aims to bring home the first victory in the USA for the latest version of the 911 RSR. In addition to the two works cars from Weissach, a customer vehicle will tackle the race over two hours and 40 minutes: Wright Motorsports contests the GTE category with a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Opened in 1955, Road America is the longest track on the IMSA SportsCar Championship calendar at 6,515 kilometres. The storied racetrack is located a good two hours by car north of Chicago in the community of Elkhart Lake and is considered the cradle of American sports car racing. Porsche last celebrated a one-two victory in the GTLM class at Road America in 2015.
The Porsche GT Team drivers
Works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) share driving duties in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. The reigning GTLM-class champions have scored second place at the first two rounds of the season in Daytona. At Sebring, the pair claimed the third podium step after a spirited performance. In the drivers’ championship, Bamber and Vanthoor rank second just one point off the lead. Their team colleagues Nick Tandy from Great Britain and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki concluded the 24-hour race at the end of January and the race over 2:40 hours in Daytona on 4 July in third place. In the overall classification, Porsche has advanced to second place after Sebring.
The customer team
At round four of the North American sports car series, the seasoned customer squad Wright Motorsports again fields an over 500-hp Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD category. The squad from the U.S. state of Ohio entrust the cockpit of the No. 16 car to works driver Patrick Long (USA) and his compatriot Ryan Hardwick. The team currently ranks third in the class for vehicles compliant with the GT3 regulations.
Comments prior to the race
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “After the last race at Sebring, our team analysed what happened there in order to safely avoid collisions in the pit lane in the future. The incident robbed us of a big chance to win. The Porsche 911 RSR was definitely very competitive. I’m sure we’ll be strong at Road America, too. We want to score our first victory with the new car and reap the rewards of our hard work.”
Steffen Höllwarth (Head of Operations IMSA Championship): “After the races at Daytona and Sebring, the next highlight on the IMSA calendar is here – the race at Road America is a real classic. The storied circuit with its fast corners blends into the hilly landscape beautifully. We have a strong overall package with the new Porsche 911 RSR. We’ll do our utmost to reposition ourselves at the top of the championship and notch up our first victory in the USA with the new 911.”
Further comments prior to the race you can find in the press release.
Live streaming of the race
Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Road America takes off on Sunday, 2 August, at 11.05 p.m. local time (18:05 p.m. CEST). The race over 2:40 hours can be viewed outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com.
The schedule (local time, CEST: -7 hours)
Friday, 31 July
4.35 – 5:35 p.m. – Free practice
Saturday, 1 August
8:55 – 10:10 a.m. – Free practice
1:50 – 2:05 p.m. – Qualifying GTD
2:15 – 2:30 p.m. – Qualifying GTLM
2:40 – 2:55 p.m. – Qualifying DPi/LMP2
Sunday, 2 August
11:05 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Race
The Porsche 911 RSR
The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) celebrated its debut in the IMSA SportsCar Championship at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January. Compared to its extremely successful predecessor model, the car received improvements, most notably to areas such as driveability, efficiency, ergonomics and serviceability. About 95 percent of all components are new. The 911 RSR is powered by a 4.2-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine.
This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship
The IMSA SportsCar Championship was founded in the USA and Canada in 2013 after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. A year later the new sports car race series, which is organised by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), was contested for the first time. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), Dpi (Daytona Prototype international) and LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2). The new Porsche 911 RSR is fielded in the GTLM class, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R contests the GTD class. The Porsche GT Team tackles the 2020 season in North America as the title defenders in the manufacturers’, drivers’ and team classifications.