Porsche 911 RSR narrowly misses out on podium spot

Only two-tenths of a second separated the French Porsche works drivers Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet from a podium result on the Long Beach street circuit in California. At the wheel of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche North America, the pair yielded fourth place in the GTLM class after a spirited pursuit in the hotly-contested race. In the cockpit of the 911 RSR fielded by the Falken Tire customer team, Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his American teammate Bryan Sellers were flagged off in sixth. Recently the two scored third at the twelve-hour classic in Sebring.

In a collision in the first corner after the start, the second Porsche North America-entered 911 RSR, driven by Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz (Austria) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), was badly damaged. After repairs in the pits, the number 912 car returned to the race 15 laps down. The duo ultimately crossed the finish line in eighth place.

With a driving time of just 100 minutes, Long Beach is the shortest race for the GTLM class in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

Comments on the race

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “We made the best out of the number 911’s unfavourable starting position and made up three places. But the race was simply not long enough to also get past the Corvette. All in all, the team’s performance was strong. It’s too bad about the accident for the 912 car at the start. But in true sporting spirit we continued despite the large gap. Jörg did everything he could with the somewhat dented car.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I was lucky in the first corner after the start. While Richard’s car was forced into the wall, I just managed to scrap through. Our car wasn’t easy to drive in the first laps, but it improved over the course of the race and the balance got better. In fact, we weren’t far off the top with our times. Still, on this narrow circuit it was impossible to overtake.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “We found it very difficult today to get our tyres up to temperature and for this reason we lost quite some time early on. Towards the end we were held up by a lapped competitor. The marshals waved the blue flag at him, but he simply ignored them for three laps. That was anything but fair.”

Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “An accident at the start is something you can really do without, particularly on a street circuit like Long Beach. You know that the race is short and that overtaking is difficult, so you try everything to make up positions at the start. That didn’t work this time. I didn’t expect the Corvette to swerve towards me. I couldn’t avoid him and ended up in the wall.”

Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The front of our 911 RSR sustained heavy damages in the accident. After that I simply focussed on bringing the car home without risking too much and on at least salvaging a couple of points.”

Round four of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship is contested on 3 May at Laguna Seca/California. Due to the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC being held at the same time in Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium, the Porsche works driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) supports Patrick Pilet in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR as well as Jörg Bergmeister as the second driver in the 912 car on the dune circuit close to Monterey.

Race result
GTLM class

1. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 76 laps
2. Kaffer/Fisichella (D/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 76
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 75
4. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 75
5. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 75
6. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 75
8. Lietz/Bergmeister (A/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 60