Intercontinental GT Challenge, round 2, Laguna Seca/USA
After a perfect opening round to the Intercontinental GT Challenge season, Porsche aims to extend its championship lead at round two of the year in Laguna Seca (USA). At the twelve-hour race in Bathurst (Australia) on the spectacular Mount Panorama racetrack, works driver Dirk Werner (Germany) as well as Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) clinched victory. Notching up the first win for Porsche at Bathurst, the trio not only gave a perfect maiden performance on the world stage with the customer team of works driver Earl Bamber (EBM), but also a fitting farewell to the 2018-spec Porsche 911 GT3 R. After celebrating its race debut at Daytona (USA) in January, the new version of the over 500 hp GT3 vehicle will be fielded at the eight-hour race in Laguna Seca. The U.S. Porsche customer squads Park Place Motorsports and Wright Motorsports each run a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the race on 30 March.
The Laguna Seca Raceway is famous for its legendary Corkscrew corner. In the tight passage on top of the hill, spectacular and memorable manoeuvres have been witnessed here in the past. The 3.601-kilometre racetrack features eleven corners. Per lap, competitors face an elevation change of 55 metres. Round two of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season runs over eight hours. Several highlights are included on the event schedule: In contrast to the season-opening round at Bathurst, all pilots allocated to each car must post a fast lap time in qualifying. Competitors have only one official free practice prior to the qualifying session.
The Porsche teams and drivers
Park Place Motorsports fields a new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Sharing the cockpit of the No. 911 car are works drivers Romain Dumas (France) and Sven Müller (Germany) with Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France). Joining forces in the No. 912 vehicle run by Wright Motorsports are the Bathurst winners Dirk Werner, Matt Campbell and Dennis Olsen.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R
The Porsche 911 GT3 R was newly developed for the 2019 season. Improvements in the areas of aerodynamics, kinematics, efficiency and driveability were systematically implemented from the insights garnered from the many race outings of its predecessor. The six-cylinder engine in the rear of the GT3 customer racer produces over 368 kW (500 hp). The successful predecessor has notched up victories in numerous international racing series, for example in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the World Challenge, the ADAC GT Masters, at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and the Bathurst 12 Hour.
The eight-hour race at Laguna Seca takes off on Saturday, 30 March, at 8.30 hrs (16.30 hrs CET). The race can be watched live on the Internet at https://www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com.
Comments before the race
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We’re delighted to contest the second round of the season with our experienced American customer teams. Park Place Motorsports and Wright Motorsports are very familiar with the quirks of the Laguna Seca racetrack. Entering the famous Corkscrew, our drivers will be able to brake very late with the two Porsche 911 GT3 R vehicles. If you’ve ever looked at onboard footage of this passage, you’ll know just how spectacular it’ll be. With our new GT3 race car, we want to continue where we left off in Bathurst.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “This will be a very special event for me, because I’ve never actually contested a race with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. The new model definitely has a lot of potential. Hence, I’m very excited to turn my first laps. Last year we came fourth at Laguna Seca. We should be able to do better with the new car. We’re aiming for a podium spot.”
Sven Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “Racing in North America is always a great pleasure for us European drivers. The circuits are wonderfully original and often very challenging. Laguna Seca is no exception. Our performance there last year wasn’t perfect. This year, however, we’re driving the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team has a lot of experience and our car has a top driver line-up. We should be able to do something good.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “I’m super excited about this event. Unlike my two teammates, I’m not familiar with this circuit. It’s high time that I turned my first laps at Laguna Seca and experienced the Corkscrew myself. Park Place Motorsports is very experienced. I’m positive that all requirements are in place for a successful race premiere of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R in the IGTC.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “After our win at the season-opener in Bathurst, we’d now like to do it again at round two in Laguna Seca. We have all the necessary ingredients: The team has a wealth of experience and our new Porsche 911 GT3 R is perfectly prepared. I really like this course with its unique passages. It presents us drivers with a fantastic challenge.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “I’ve never driven at Laguna Seca, so I’m very much looking forward to it. The course is awesome – with barely any run-off zones, significant elevation differences and legendary turns like the Corkscrew. As a racing driver you’ve simply gotta love it. I know the Wright Motorsports squad and I’m certain that our car will be really fast.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “I can’t wait to go racing in California. I already know the Wright Motorsports team and I really like the circuit. I’m ready and raring to race. I’m excited to see how the new Porsche 911 GT3 R does at its first IGTC outing. After our Bathurst success and the perfect farewell to the predecessor model, it would be absolutely ideal if we could continue this performance seamlessly with the new car.”
Porsche Factory Press Release
Pictures courtesy Porsche AG