Patrick Long and Michael Christensen piloted the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche RSR to a third-place finish at the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event at Circuit of the Americas.
Austin, Texas. Not only were the eyes of Texas upon the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) today, the entire sports car racing world witnessed a GT Le Mans (GTLM) class battle that will see the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Manufacturer title fight go to the last race of the season. A third place finish by the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR helped the German marque retain the point lead in the class for road car-based racecars. However, with Dodge's Viper taking the Lone Star Le Mans race victory, the fight for manufacturer honors in the mostly factory-entered category will go to the final race, the 17th annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 4. Porsche won the 1,000-mile event in 2013 and has won two of the three endurance races held thus far in North America this year.
Porsche 911 RSR
The No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR led the way for the three factory-entered cars based on the iconic rear-engine sports car. Started in third-position, Michael Christensen (Denmark) drove the first one-hour and 45-minutes of the race. The Dane turned the wheel over to Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) for the final hour. The United States' only Porsche factory driver fought through the hot and humid conditions of the Austin, Texas summer to finish third following the tandem of Dodge Viper SRT across the finish line.
Having entered the penultimate round of the TUDOR Championship with a narrow two-point lead in the title chase, the podium finish allowed Porsche to remain in contention with the lead now split with Dodge, 308 points apiece, entering the last of the 12-race season.
Finishing fifth was the No. 910 shared by Frenchmen Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet. The lead Porsche 911 RSR, entered for the final two rounds as a show of support to IMSA and the TUDOR Championship, had possibly the most dramatic race of the day in the GTLM class. Having had their fastest qualifying lap disallowed at technical inspection for missing a roof camera pod, Makowiecki started last in the field. He did much with his series' debut charging past nearly half the multi-class field in the first stint of the race. A "drive through" penalty for making contact with another car at mid-race would slow the newest 911 RSR entry's fight to the front. However, a mistake-free effort in the second-half of the race would give Porsche North America two cars in the top-five.
The No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) looked like the most likely class winner for the day. However, having led for much race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona winner was retired with 30-minutes remaining in the race having lost drive.
The fourth Porsche 911 RSR, the No. 17 Team Falken Tire entry driven by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia), finished eighth in the GTLM class.
Pilet, Makowiecki, Tandy and Bergmeister followed the Tudor Championship event with the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race. The quartet of drivers are entered in the factory Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR cars in the GTE-Pro class of the World Championship.
Porsche 911 GT America
Five drivers were tied for the GT Daytona (GTD) class points lead entering today's Lone Star Le Mans. At the conclusion of the two-hour and 45-minute race, the battle remains hotly contested entering the last race of the year, Petit Le Mans, in two weeks at Road Atlanta. The two Porsche drivers in the middle of the championship fight, Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) and Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois), battled back from starting at the back of the grid - the veteran team qualified 16th but changed tires before the start relegating them to the back of the field - to finish fifth in the No. 22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America. With one of the contenders finishing third, and the other finishing behind the Porsche, Keen and MacNeil are now only four points out of first-place going to the finale.
As a result of the second-place finish, the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America of drivers John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Andy Lally (Dacula, Georgia) is still in the GTD point chase. The No. 23 Team Seattle Alex Job Racing Porsche driven by Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Ian James (Phoenix, Arizona) held the lead in class during the middle of the race, but fell out of contention when the car hit the barrier, damaging the radiator.
Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida) and Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah) also resided in the top three for much of the event, finishing fourth in the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "We absolutely had the pace today. We were happy with the way things were going until, obviously, the last half-hour when we lost drive with the number 911. We ended up with a podium finish with the [number] 912 so that is really good. What that means is that we are tied with Viper going into the last race. I think that is going to be good for all the fans. We'll bring it down to the wire and that is what it is all about. GTLM is one of the closest racing classes in the world and at the pinnacle of GT racing. It is good that we see this fight through to the end of the year."
Patrick Long, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We had a very clean pit stop and I put my head down and tried to close the gap to the Viper. After the issues for the [number] 911 we took a safe approach to get to the finish. This came down to the manufacturer's championship and we have to be there at the end. We were able to salvage some good points today."
Michael Christensen, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We had a good car. Track conditions were changing from the start to the finish of my stint. This made it quite tricky. We did our best to finish on the podium and I think that is good."
Patrick Pilet, No. 910 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "Fred did a great job at the beginning. He started last and came up to fifth. The car was running very well. We were the quickest on track. When I overtook the BMW in Turn 15, I was surprised by the car in front, a GTD car, and I touched it on the rear. I was not able to avoid the contact. I bent the front of the car a little bit. I tried to push and come back and we finished fifth. I am sad for the guys because they did a very good job. The car was really competitive but that's racing."
Frédéric Makowiecki, No. 910 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "It is not easy to start from the back. The first two laps I tried to quickly overtake the GTD cars and the back of the GTLM class. The car was really quick. I think we had what we needed to win the race if we did not start from the back."
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We pitted at the first opportunity and it couldn't have worked out any better. The yellow came out before anyone else could pit. That gave us an edge and we were able to keep the lead. In the last 30-minutes, I was coming out of Turn 14 and lost drive. I knew immediately that we had a problem. I was able to make it into pit lane and we confirmed our day was done."
Andy Lally, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It was great to feel like we're back again. Everyone on this team has been working so hard through the summer to get us back on track. Between some recent testing and the new Adjustments of Performance changes, we're a lot closer to where we wanted to be. It started with John's stint, which was excellent, and then followed up with perfect pit stops by the guys. This second place finish was the sort of effort that once again showed the quality of Magnus Racing, and we're all very excited about the final race."
John Potter, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We're all very happy to be back to our old form. This result was well deserved for the crew. We all know how important teamwork is in this sport, and today was once again proof of that. It's great to see IMSA and Porsche's efforts for Balance of Performance helped with some improvements, and the car was excellent all day. We obviously would have loved to deliver a win during such a big weekend for Porsche, but second still feels like a great accomplishment, and we're all walking away satisfied."
Jan Heylen, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "Madison did a good job in his opening stint. I felt good when I got in the car, but the Porsche started to feel loose as it was near time for our tire change pit stop. We probably should have pitted earlier as the last couple of laps really wore me out. Near the end of the race, I was just hanging on. In the end, a fourth-place finish was good for us."
Madison Snow, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "I spent a bunch of laps behind two cars that I was faster than, but not fast enough to get by. Near the end of my stint, I finally got by them and the Porsche ran great when it found clean air."
Cooper MacNeil, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We turned a tough qualifying run into a top five finish today. We are second in the championship, just four points back. We are going to Petit with the thought that we have to win the race. The goal has been for the last quarter of the season, get to Petit in sight of the championship. Alex Job Racing always does a great job with the endurance races and now it is in our hands to go and perform."
Leh Keen, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We have another top five, which has been the secret to our season. To come from dead last on the grid because we put on new tires, to finishing fifth is a pretty good day. We also had a good points day. A few back from the BMW and put the [number] 555 Ferrari behind us heading to Petit. We didn't expect to beat the BMW here at COTA. We wanted to get the championship to Petit and beat them there in two weeks. The improvements we made on the car helped today. Cooper had a good start and gave me the car in excellent position."
A two-hour highlight show of today's Lone Star Le Mans will be broadcast on the FOX Network Sunday, September 21. Check local listings for times.
The final round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will take place on October 4 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
GT Le Mans Results
1.No. 93 Jonathan Bomarito (USA)/Kuno Wittmer (Canada), Dodge Viper SRT - 76 laps
2. No. 91 Marc Goossens (Belgium)/Dominik Farnbacher (Germany), Dodge Viper SRT - 76 laps
3. No. 912 Patrick Long (USA)/Michael Christensen (Denmark), Porsche 911 RSR - 76 laps
4. No. 62 Pierre Kaffer (Germany)/Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Ferrari 458 Italia - 75 laps
5. No. 910 Patrick Pilet (France)/Frederic Makowiecki (France), Porsche 911 RSR - 75 laps
6. No. 55 Bill Auberlin (USA)/Andy Priaulx (Normandy/France) - 75 laps
8. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA), Porsche 911 RSR - 75 laps
11. No. 911 Nick Tandy (Great Britain)/Michael Christensen (Denmark), Porsche 911 RSR - 66 laps
GT Daytona Results
1.No. 33 Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco)/Ben Keating (USA) Dodge Viper SRT - 73 laps
2. No. 44 John Potter (USA)/Andy Lally (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
3. No. 300 Dane Cameron (USA)/Markus Palttala (Finland) BMW Z4 - 72 laps
4. No. 58 Jan Heylen (USA)/Madison Snow (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
5. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (USA)/Leh Keen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
6. No. 48 Chistopher Haase (Germany)/Bryce Miller (USA) Audi RS LMS - 72 laps
9. No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Ben Barker (UK), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
10. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/Norbert Siedler (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
12. No. 30 Henrique Cisneros (USA)/Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), Porsche 911 GT America - 71 laps
14. No. 27 Patrick Dempsey (USA.)/Andrew Davis (USA) Porsche 911 GT America - 70 laps
15. No. 19 Mark Klenen (USA)/Alec Udell (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 69 laps
16. No. 18 Khaled Al Kubaisi (UAE)/Larry Pegram (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 67 laps
17. No. 71 Mike Vess (USA)/Mike Skeen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 62 laps
18. No. 23 Ian James (USA), Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 58 laps
About Porsche Motorsport North America
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), located in Santa Ana, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG and the sole sales and service provider for the German sports car maker's North American customer sports programs. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars with a wide range of products from the 911 GT3 Cup car to the ultimate 911 RSR. PMNA sells these models to customer teams in North America and provides them with parts, service and expertise in between races and at the track. The PMNA service truck is a fixture at most race tracks in the U.S. and Canada, staffed by factory engineers to service all of Porsche's customer teams.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, including the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and the Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 270 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand's 66-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency.
At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.
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