Factory Porsche 911 RSRs from both the WEC and the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, along with the Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrid - and factory drivers for all three teams - unite at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin for an unprecedented weekend of sports car racing.
Austin, Texas. Team Porsche North America will start two of its three factory entries in the top-three following today's GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). With the second fastest lap time, the Nick Tandy (Great Britain) driven derivative of the iconic Porsche 911 sports car, led a trio of Porsche works entries to set the grid for Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute Lone Star Le Mans. The factory No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR followed the Brit's No. 911 closely across the line in third. The No. 910 originally held the pole position in the intensely competitive class but the time was disallowed in post-qualifying technical inspection as a result of a missing in-car camera pod.
Across the four series assembled for Lone Star Le Mans weekend, 67 Porsche cars will race. 15 Porsche 911-based racecars are entered in the TUDOR Championship race alone.
Porsche 911 RSR
For the first time this season, Porsche North America entered three cars in the IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Added as a show of support to the inaugural season of the North American series, all three entries proved to be very quick. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy was second-quick in qualifying with a time of two-minutes, 3.649-seconds. With the injury to full-season teammate Richard Lietz (Austria) at Virginia International Raceway in the most recent race, Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) will join Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche North America car this weekend.
The No. 912, the winner at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the second race of the season, qualified third for tomorrow's race. Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) lapped the circuit in 2:03.900. The only American Porsche factory driver will share the No. 912 with Denmark's Michael Christensen.
The No. 910 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR finished the 20-minute qualifying session with the fastest time. Patrick Pilet (France), who opened the 2014 season with a victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona racing for the Porsche North America, turned a lap of 2:03.302 on the 3.4-mile, 20-turn Austin, Texas-area facility. However, the time of the car he shares with fellow Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki was disallowed after post-qualifying technical inspection found the car missing the mandated roof camera pod. The pod is used to house the in-car camera or a "dummy" camera of the same weight. The No. 910, the newest of the Porsche North America entries, will now start 11th in Saturday's race.
The privately owned Team Falken Tire qualified eighth. Wolf Henzler (Germany) drove the entry he co-drives with Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia) to a time of 2:04.936.
Pilet, Makowiecki, Tandy and Bergmeister will do double-duty racing in factory entries in both the Tudor Championship race and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) round later in the day on September 20 at COTA.
Porsche 911 GT America
Ten Porsche 911 GT America racecars participated in GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying for the Lone Star Le Mans event, with six of the cars landing in the top ten positions on the grid for Saturday's race. Leading the Porsche pack was Mike Skeen (Charlotte, North Carolina), who is co-driving with the No. 71 Park Place Porsche car owner Mike Vess (Wichita, Kansas), and qualified the car in fourth position. Right behind him, qualifying fifth, is the second-place Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup driver Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), who is driving the No. 30 NGT Porsche with Henrique Cisneros (Miami, Florida).
Class points leaders Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) and Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) will start 16th on the GTD grid, one spot behind the Ferrari drivers Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, California) and Bill Sweedler (Westport, Connecticut) who are battling them for the championship.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "We've been working really hard and it required a lot of communication and coordination to get three cars on track. We tested recently and concentrated on qualifying performance as we've had a deficit there. We certainly wanted to bring it this time and especially with the championship on the line. I'm really proud of what we achieved today as a whole team and what we can hopefully bring tomorrow. Tomorrow is the bigger day. I'm absolutely delighted with what we've accomplished today, but we have to keep tomorrow in sight."
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The wet sessions didn't help our preparations, but looking at tomorrow's forecast, it might not be a bad thing that we've had this time with the wet weather. For qualifying in dry conditions, we tried something in Practice Three that was a backwards step and wasn't the best going into qualifying, so actually, the lap time we did I'm extremely pleased with."
Patrick Long, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We took a couple gambles because we expected it to rain on the second lap. The rain didn't come. We would have been looking better if the rain had come, but it didn't."
Patrick Pilet, No. 910 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We arrived here with a really good set up on the car. It's a really new team, but they have done a great job. I'm also happy for my teammates, as they are P2 and P3 so it's pretty close. It's a good start. I'm really happy with the car after quali, but also for the race. I think we have a really good race set up during the full stint, so I'm really looking forward [to it]. It's a really high downforce track, and with the spec we have on the car, I think it's a really good track for the Porsche, especially in the last sector. We know the Porsche has good traction and we have a chance to have a good car in every condition: wet, dry or damp. We have a good car in every condition, so I am really optimistic for tomorrow."
Mike Skeen, No. 71 Park Place Porsche 911 GT America: "With the aero improvements for this event, our Park Place Porsche 911 GT America is easier to drive, handles better under braking and is more comfortable through the high speed corners. Although the improvements won't reflect in outright lap speeds, their effect should manifest themselves in better tire wear and drivability, especially for the amateur drivers for all the Porsche teams. With our race shop based at the Park Place Porsche in Dallas, we really want to perform well tomorrow."
The Lone Star Le Mans will air live on FOX Sports 2 starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The FOX Network will rebroadcast a two-hour show on Sunday, September 21. Check local listings for times.
GT Le Mans Qualifying Results
1. No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R, Jonathan Bomarito (USA) 2:03.539
2. No.911 Porsche 911 RSR, Nick Tandy (GB), 2:03.649
3. No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, Patrick Long (USA), 2:03.900
4. No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R, Marc Goossens (Belgium), 2:04.003
5. No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, Jonathan Edwards (USA), 2:04.253
8. No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR, Wolf Henzler (Germany), 2:04.936
11. No. 910 Porsche 911 RSR, Patrick Pilet (France), No Time
GT Daytona Qualifying Results
1. No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, James Davison (Australia), 2:08.502
2. No. 33 Dodge Viper SRT, Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco), 2:08.814
3. No. 300 BMW Z4, Dane Cameron (USA), 2:08.826
4. No. 71 Porsche 911 GT America, Mike Skeen (USA), 2:08.984
5. No. 30 Porsche 911 GT America, Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), 2:09.007
6. No. 81 Porsche 911 GT America, Damien Faulkner (Ireland), 2:09.040
7. No. 44 Porsche 911 GT America, Andy Lally (USA), 2:09.113
8. No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America, Jan Heylen (USA), 2:09.130
9. No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America, Andrew Davis (USA), 2:09.291
11. No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, Norbert Siedler (Austria), 2:09.504
12. No. 23 Porsche 911 GT America, Mario Farnbacher (Germany), 2:09.537
16. No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America , Leh Keen (USA), 2:10.140
18. No. 18 Porsche 911 GT America, Khaled Al Qubaisi (United Arab Emerates), 2:13.725
20. No. 19 Porsche 911 GT America, Alec Udell (USA), no time