Ending on a high
After a tough first season in the IMSA, our GT team goes home with a spring in its step
The new 911 RSR’s first season in North America drew to a close last weekend, and it did so in some style. Petit Le Mans, a ten-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta in Georgia, was a fitting finale for our mid-engine GT car, with white-knuckle racing through day and night that asked everything of the cars, teams and drivers.
Petit Le Mans was the last round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the fourth and final outing for the North America Endurance Cup, the long- distance series otherwise scored at intervals during Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.
Teammates Pilet and Werner were joined by LMP1 driver and Road Atlanta veteran Nick Tandy, while Vanthoor and Bruni borrowed the expertise of 2017 Le Mans winner Earl Bamber. Wet weather made for unforgiving conditions, and the race was slowed under full course yellows on a number of occasions while cars were retrieved from grass or gravel. Porsche’s strategy was faultless but the RSR lacked the outright pace to challenge for the lead, despite car no. 912 running in third for extended periods of the race.
With too great a deficit in the IMSA, the Porsche GT Team set out with the Endurance Cup as its target. After solid performances throughout the season, getting both cars safely over the line in fifth and sixth places was enough to secure victory in the team classification and second place in the manufacturer standings. The GTLM race was ultimately won by BMW’s M6 in its final race, and the championship by Corvette. In the GTD class the GT3 R came in second and third, the Christensen, Morad, Queseda car losing out to the victorious Audi R8 by just fifteen seconds.
VP of Motorsport and GT Cars Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser summed up a positive but challengingnseason: “We’ve clinched the first title for the new 911 RSR at this race. By winning the North American Endurance Cup for drivers and teams, we’ve shown that we were always at the front at the right time for the major endurance races and, hence, have underlined the reliability of our car over the season. For a maiden season with a completely new car, this was a good performance. Congratulations to our customer teams for their podium results in the GTD class. With outstanding performances from drivers and teams, they’ve once again shown what our 911 GT3 R can do. I hope that they can repeat these successes next year.”
The tribe will be back at Daytona in January when the RSR rolls out again after a winter in Weissach. In the meantime keep an eye on the WEC sister cars as they arrive for round seven at the Fuji International Speedway this weekend.