No. 73 Kevin Estre/Patrick Lindsey Park Place Porsche 911 GT America led most of the last hour of the TUDOR GTD class race, but had to settle for second place after a late-lap pass. Still it was the best finish of the season for the Dallas-based team.
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. In today's sixth-round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Porsche North America placed one of its two factory efforts into the top-five of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix results. The finish came after a mistake-free race by both team and drivers. In the customer team-focused GT Daytona (GTD) class, Park Place Motorsport nearly scored their first victory in the class before a last lap pass dropped them to second in a dramatic battle.
Porsche 911 RSR
Nick Tandy (Great Britain) started and finished the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP). The Brit relinquished the ride less than one hour into the event to teammate Richard Lietz (Austria) to maximize pit strategy in the two-hour, 45-minute race. Tandy returned behind the wheel for the final hour. The strategy, coupled with two error-free pit stops by the Porsche North America operation, moved the team as high as fourth in class. They would take the checkered flag in fifth.
The team car, the No. 912, was started by Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) in eighth-place. The American charged the car as high as fourth before handing the wheel to Michael Christensen (Denmark). After pit stop sequencing, the second works car was in eighth in the incredibly competitive field of factory cars. The young Dane, who like Tandy and Lietz had never before driven at CTMP, took the checkered flag in ninth.
The only customer team to field a Porsche 911 RSR in North America, Team Falken Tire, had the best qualifying effort for the marque this weekend starting third. Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia), started third in the field. The American fought off multiple attacks before succumbing to the onslaught late in his stint. Factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) took over from sixth for the second-half of the race eventually finishing seventh in class.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park proved to be a good circuit for the Porsche 911 GT America customer teams, as many of the Porsche entries ran their best race of the season. The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America, based at the Park Place Porsche dealership in Dallas, Texas, narrowly missed its first TUDOR Championship event as it was passed on the next-to-last lap by Jeroen Bleekemolen (The Netherlands) in the SRT Viper. Kevin Estre (Germany), former French Carrera cup champion, took over from Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) after Lindsey brought the car into the pits in second place for the driver change. Estre, who had been the fastest car in class during three of the four practice session, maintained an 8 -12 second lead for the last hour of the race, but he lost time behind a lapped Ferrari which would not let him by, and then was bumped by the No. 912 Porsche works entry, and the Viper slipped by for the win. Still, the Park Place Porsche finished second - their best finish of the season and their first podium.
The No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America of Damien Faulkner (Ireland) and Ben Barker (Great Britain) was fourth - also their best finish - while the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) and Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) finished fifth. In the GTD points, the Andy Lally (Dacula, Georgia)/John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah) Magnus Racing Porsche gained points in the standings despite their ninth place finish. Lally/Potter are now only three points out of first-place in GTD points. The Alex Job Racing drivers MacNeil and Keen, are only seven points behind the leader. In all, Porsche customers took six of the top ten spots in GTD.
Richard Lietz, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "With such a short race track and the amount of cars on it, you have to be very lucky in traffic. I got the slow cars in the right spots and I didn't lose too much time, so I was very happy. At the end of the stint the drink bottle didn't work, so it got quite hot in the car. We still have to improve the balance a bit, but we did our best. We have a chance to play with the rest but we are still not fast enough."
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We were battling from the start with the No. 56 car. It was a really great race. We managed to get ahead in the first stint and the race was panning out as we'd planned. We were good through the middle of the race and then we met again in the final stint. In traffic he managed to get past and toward the end we got caught out in traffic and dropped back too much. We're quite happy with the points from this weekend. It was more than we were expecting."
Michael Christensen, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The first stint was quite tough with the tires. The second stint was much better and through the end of the race. I was quite happy at the end of the race. It was fun to have something to chase, but we were a bit short on time."
Patrick Long, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The opening stint I had a good battle with Farnbacher and Tandy. I tried to maintain position at the end with Priaulx. It was challenging with the changing track conditions. It had just stopped raining and then the grip went down pretty quickly. I had a tough middle section of the stint, but the beginning and the end were quite strong. My main focus was to keep the car clean and within striking distance."
Wolf Henzler, No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR: "A tough race. The balanced changed from the first to the second stint and we don't know why. Our tires worked well and were consistent and didn't drop off. That was a huge gain from the last race. We can be proud. We had a good weekend. The car was good. It was balanced. I hope next race we will do better for sure."
Bryan Sellers, No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR: "Not a great result for us today but we definitely had some improvements for Team Falken Tire. It is better than we have had in the past. We definitely still have some work we need to do in terms of balance but I felt like our warm-up and duration of the tires was much better this weekend. Our speed was not too bad. We need to try and make sure we are in a better place at the end of the race to see what happens."
Patrick Lindsey, No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT America: "We came from seventh place early and I had my best lap right before the driver change, and Kevin took over first place on the pit stop. Traffic was tough as the track was really green after the morning rain, so the grip was way down. It was good to get into the first group, and we had a great shot to win."
Kevin Estre, No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT America: "Our car was not perfect during qualifying, but the Park Place crew made some adjustments and the Porsche was great today. I could turn great laps while, at the same time, managing the tire. I got held-up big time at the end by a lapped Ferrari who was not racing for position, and that gave the Viper a chance to contest for the lead. Then one of the GTLM Porsches was very aggressive in trying to pass me, and bumped me wide of the racing line. That allowed the Viper to get by, and I could not catch up. Second place was good, but I felt bad for the crew, who worked so hard to get us a win."
Leh Keen, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It was a good points day for us, even though it was a tough event all the way around. We made a lot of changes all weekend trying to find the ultimate set-up. The track was really tricky out there today. Everyone looked like they were struggling with their cars as well. The guys made a great adjustment late on the car and I was able to get a good top five finish today. We have had a few top five's this year and that is why we are up at the top fighting for the point lead."
Cooper MacNeil, No 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "Overall it was a good weekend for our WeatherTech Porsche. After a tough race at The Glen, a top five finish is really good. I was fighting understeer and then back to oversteer during my stint. It made it difficult. Leh did a great job to get us back up there in fifth. We finished ahead of the two cars that were in front of us coming into this race in points, so that is a pretty good day."
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "We lost a lot of time in the fast sections. Everybody here found that tire degradation was an issue. We tried to manage that as best as we could. We are not going to give up. We are going to keep on pushing like crazy. We are waiting for some of the tracks to suit us a little bit better as well."
The next round of the Tudor Championship will be held at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the United States. The two-hour and 45-minute race for both GTLM and GTD classes will take the green flag on Friday, July 25 at 5:45 p.m. C.T.
GT Le Mans Results
1. No. 3 Jan Magnussen (Denmark)/Antonio Garcia (Spain), Corvette C-7R - 127 laps
2. No. 93 Jonathan Bomarito (USA)/Kuno Wittmer (Canada), Dodge SRT Viper - 127 laps
3. No. 91 Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)/Marc Goossens (Belgium), Dodge SRT Viper - 127 laps
4. No. 56 John Edwards (USA)/Dirk Mueller (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE, -126 laps
5. No. 911 Nick Tandy (Great Britain)/Richard Lietz (Austria), Porsche 911 RSR - 126 laps
6. No. 55 Bill Auberlen (USA)/Andy Priaulx (United Kingdom), BMW Z4 GTE - 126 laps
8. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA), Porsche 911 RSR - 126 laps
9. No. 912 Patrick Long (USA)/Michael Christensen (Denmark), Porsche 911 RSR - 126 laps
GT Daytona Results
1. No. 33 Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands)/Ben Keating (USA), SRT Viper GT3-R - 121 laps
2. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/ Kevin Estre (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 121 laps
3. No. 94 Dane Cameron (USA)/Markus Palttala (Finland), BMW Z4 - 120 laps
4. No. 81 No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Ben Barker (United Kingdom), Porsche 911 GT America - 120 laps
5. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.)/Leh Keen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 120 laps
6. No. 23 Ian James (USA), Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 120 laps