IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Race 10 at Laguna Seca/USA
The Porsche GT Team is ready to tackle the Petit Le Mans season finale and fight for the prestigious North American Endurance Cup on 7 October: At the Laguna Seca Raceway in the dunes of Monterey, the new Porsche 911 RSR clinched its fifth podium result in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. In July, the car had won the Lime Rock round. At the wheel of the newly developed 510 hp race car from Weissach, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) secured third in the GTLM class on Sunday on the 3.061-kilometre racetrack in California. After a gripping finale, they crossed the finish line only five seconds behind the winners. Their teammates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) in the sister 911 RSR took the flag in seventh place.
Laurens Vanthoor got the best start of the entire field. In the first lap, he promptly overtook three rivals in his #912 Porsche 911 RSR to settle into fifth place behind Patrick Pilet, who had managed to gain two places. The Frenchman then launched a spectacular pursuit for the top spot, first overtaking a BMW, then a Ford. After a good half hour he was running in second place. Laurens Vanthoor was poised to follow his lead, but a prototype’s careless manoeuvre not only blocked him from overtaking, but also threw him back three positions. With his teammate Gianmaria Bruni having to serve a drive-through penalty in the pits due to a non-compliant pit stop, the fight for top results continued without them.
In the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, however, Dirk Werner was on course for a podium spot. The fuel-saving strategy that his team had worked out for him after he took over the cockpit from Patrick Pilet eventually began to pay off. For long stretches he was running in third, and he even managed to advance to second place. At times he was less than a second off the leader, and in a thrilling final phase defended his position with a spirited duel against his strongest pursuers. However, shortly before the flag he had to let a Ferrari overtake him. Nevertheless, it was enough for the winner of the Lime Rock race and the second-place getter at the Daytona 24-hour classic to bring home another podium result at the penultimate race of the season.
Third place also went to the 911 GT3 R fielded in the GTD class by the Porsche customer team Park Place Motorsports, thanks to Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), who put in a sprint through the field in the last hour of racing. With his teammate Patrick Lindsey (USA), Bergmeister won the Lime Rock round this season.
Petit Le Mans is the last round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the North American Endurance Cup. It will be contested on 7 October September at Road Atlanta in Braselton in the US state of Georgia.