At the six-hour race on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, the Porsche 911 RSR finished second in the GTE-Pro class. At the action-packed fourth round of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC, the French Porsche works drivers Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki looked like they might even bring home their second win of the season for the Porsche Manthey squad in front of 50.000 spectators. But although they held the lead until shortly before the finish, they were ultimately beaten to the flag after a spirited fight by a mere 16 seconds.
The race on the Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of the Texan city on Saturday afternoon set off under hot and humid weather conditions. Shortly before nightfall, torrential rain quickly flooded large sections of the race track. As a result the race had to be stopped. After the restart 45 minutes later, Porsche’s factory pilot Nick Tandy (Great Britain) took over the lead. At the wheel of the second Porsche Manthey-run 911 RSR which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car and in which he shared driving duties with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) for the first time, Tandy held the top position up until 85 minutes before the flag. He then lost two laps when his vehicle failed to start after a pit stop due to an electrical problem, and finally saw the flag in fourth place.
For all four Porsche works drivers, this was their second race of the day: Previously they had contested the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in the 911 RSR fielded by Porsche North America.
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “When you consider the incredible level of competition in the GT classes you realise just how good our results are. I take my hat off to our drivers who contested two races this weekend under very difficult conditions. And that also applies to those in the pit crew who worked both races. Obviously it’s very disappointing not to finish at the front, but we can build on all the efforts that the drivers and team put in today.”
Patrick Pilet (#92): “Our car handled the wet track very well. We were able to take the lead and even build up a bit of a margin. But once the track dried up we had no chance against the Aston Martin. Still, we achieved a podium result and earned those all-important points. Overall, it was a tough weekend and physically very exhausting with two races under not so easy conditions. First it was hot and humid, then the rain came. But we all did our very best and we scored a good result for Porsche.” Frédéric Makowiecki (#92): “That was a tough race and we can be happy with the result. We’ve earned some good points towards the championship.”
Jörg Bergmeister (#91): “Nick did a great job, and so did the team. The pit stops were all perfect. Unfortunately we experienced a minor electrical problem in the final phase and from then on we were out of contention for a win.”
Nick Tandy (#91): “For much of the race everything ran according to plan. We implemented our strategy perfectly and were on course to win. If the problem hadn’t have cropped up we would have stayed at the front. For me personally, today was really hard. I was leading in both races – and still didn’t win. That’s really disappointing, but we will continue to fight.”
In the GTE-Am class, Christian Ried (Germany), Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) also claimed a podium place with third in the Porsche 911 RSR of the Proton Competition customer team.
The fifth of eight races in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC will be contested on 12 October in Fuji/Japan.
1. Turner/Mücke (GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, 141 laps
2. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 141
3. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 141
4. Bergmeister/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 139
5. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 137
6. MacDowall/O’Young/Rees (GB/HK/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 137
1. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard (CDN/P/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 138 laps
2. Poulsen/Hansson/Stanaway (DK/DK/NZ), Aston Martin Vantage, 138
3. Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi (D/A/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, 137
4. Perez Companc/Cioci/Venturi (ARG/I/I), Ferrari F 458 Italia, 137
5. Roda/Ruberti/Segal (I/I/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 136
6. Krohn/Jönsson/Collins (USA/S/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 135