Porsche eyes up a win at ‘Petit Le Mans’
IMSA’s mini endurance classic is back and Porsche's GT team is hoping for a return to form
The GT team will be hoping for a return to form in Georgia later as round nine of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gets under way at Road Atlanta today (Saturday). American factory team Core Autosport tackles the GTLM class with two 911 RSR while Wright Motorsports and Pfaff Motorsports each campaign a GT3 R in the pro-am GTD class.
The ten-hour race known as Petit Le Mans has been staged every year since 1998, Porsche notching up a total of 23 class wins in that time. In 2015 the team scored a spectacular outright victory, beating the prototype classes in challenging conditions, and most recently won the fiercely competitive GTLM class in 2018 with the previous generation 911 RSR.
“We have always been strong at Petit Le Mans and have scored many successes at this event,” says Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport. “It’s also home turf for our works team because Porsche North America has its headquarters in Atlanta. So, there is no better place to get back on the road to success with our latest Porsche 911 RSR.”
The event also counts towards the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup – a special competition encompassing the four longest races of the season. After successful outings at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January and the six-hour event at Road Atlanta in September, Porsche currently ranks second in that championship. But it arrives in Georgia with some ground to make up.
“After the accidents in Charlotte, our main priority was to repair the extensive damage to both cars within a very short time,” explains IMSA Head of Operations, Steffen Höllwarth. “We’re heading to the ten-hour race well prepared. During a successful test at Road Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, we worked on critical set-up details. We made good progress towards increasing our chances. It’s time for our first win of the season.”
Briton Nick Tandy, who shares driving duties in the Porsche 911 RSR #911 with Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki and Australian Matt Campbell, said: “It’s good that there’s no time to ruminate after last week’s disappointment. We head straight into a real classic – the ten-hour race at Road Atlanta. We’ve always been strong over such big distances. For this reason, I’m heading to Petit Le Mans feeling confident. Whenever I go there I’m reminded of our overall victory of 2015 – an experience I’ll never forget, and one that motivates me for the task ahead.”
Earl Bamber from New Zealand and Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor join forces with Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet at the wheel of the No. 912 sister car.
Round nine of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Road Atlanta kicks off at 12:40 local time (18:40 CEST). The ten-hour race can be viewed outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com.