Wolf Henzler and co-driver Bryan Sellers survived a late-race yellow flag to bring home the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR in first place for the second straight year at Petit Le Mans.
Braselton, Georgia. On the shoulders of Team Falken Tire's second-consecutive Petit Le Mans GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory, Porsche secured multiple manufacturer championships today at Road Atlanta in the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Using the seventh-generation Porsche 911 as its base, race versions of the iconic rear-engine sports car won the GTLM Manufacturer Championship with the Porsche 911 RSR while the Porsche 911 GT America took the same honor in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Porsche North America, the official TUDOR Championship factory team, earned GTLM class pole position for Saturday's race and finished second and fifth behind the privately entered Falken Tire machine in the 10-hour endurance classic.
The German marque added to its cadre of endurance accolades by earning the hard-fought Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship Manufacturer Trophy as well. Following victories in the first two endurance races of the inaugural TUDOR Championship season at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Porsche entered today's final round of the championship with a slight lead. After the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR led today's race at the four-hour mark, and the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche was on point at eight-hours, the GT racing legend was able to lock the Manufacturer award even before the final checkered flag of the season fell.
The race victory and championships were a fitting tribute to longtime Porsche Motorsport head Hartmut Kristen. Kristen passed the baton of overseeing all of Porsche's GT efforts to Dr. Frank Walliser on October 1.
Porsche 911 RSR
For the second-consecutive season, Team Falken Tire overcame the odds to win top GT class honors at the Petit Le Mans. The full-season driver pairing of local Braselton, Georgia driver Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler (Germany) were joined by German Marco Holzer for the finale of the inaugural season of the TUDOR Championship. Team Falken Tire, the only customer-run Porsche 911 RSR competing in the North American-based series, was fast throughout the weekend and led much of the day. With less than an hour to go, Sellers turned over the Falken Tire Porsche to Henzler who held the lead against the also fast No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen (Denmark). The battle tightened even further with less that 20-minutes remaining when an accident slowed the field for an extended yellow flag. The green flew again with six minutes to go taking the fight to the end. The works Porsche closed but, threatened by a Dodge Viper SRT from behind, was not able to pass Henzler. The three main players in the Manufacturer's Championship passed under the checkered flag less than two-seconds apart after ten-hours of racing. The No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR led the No. 912 shared by Christensen, Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) and GTLM newcomer Earl Bamber (New Zealand) followed by the No. 91 Viper.
The pole-position winning No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Patrick Pilet (France) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) ran at the front most of the day. However, a pit lane incident, which damaged several of the GTLM leaders to varying degrees, forced the car to make multiple stops for repairs. The Rolex 24-winning class entry finished fifth as a result.
Porsche 911 GT America
The eight Porsche 911 GT America racecars entered in the GT Daytona class for Road Atlanta were not only hoping for a top finish, but several teams were competing for driver and team titles. Everyone contributed in helping Porsche win the Manufacturer Championship.
The No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America took on Petit Le Mans with only two drivers - Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah) and Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida) - but they were fastest in two of the three practice sessions and led GTD for most of the first four hours. Through a series of pit stops and a stuck wheel during a tire change, they fell out of the top three, but ended the race in second place, just behind the winning Audi R8. That finish was high enough to secure the GTD class Manufacturer Championship for Porsche.
Also finishing on the GTD Petit Le Mans podium was the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche of John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah), Andy Lally (Dacula, Georgia) and Marco Seefried (Germany). It was the team's fifth podium of the year. The No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche with Alex Riberas (Spain), Ian James (Phoenix, Arizona) and Mario Farnbacher (Germany) was headed for a podium as well, but a last-lap incident with the class-winning Audi sent the Porsche off the track only hundreds of yards from the finish, relegating them to a fifth place finish.
The No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche, driven by Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia), Cooper MacNeil (Hindsdale, Illinois) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, California), needed to finish ahead of the No. 94 BMW for a shot at the driver championship. They fell a lap back when they had to recycle their electronics in the pits and were never able to get back with the leaders. An eighth-place finish gave them third in the driver championship - the best finishing Porsche drivers in GTD.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "I'm so proud of the team and what we've done, especially taking into account that this is our first year together. To introduce the new 911 RSR over here and win the Manufacturer's Championship in a very tight, tight battle in our inaugural season together, is very special. I'm incredibly proud of our entire team as one unit."
Wolf Henzler, No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR: "It was a great day for Team Falken Tire. The tires just worked awesome today. We came here and tested twice and I think it really paid off. We found a good combination with the Falken tires and the Porsche 911 RSR. Even when we started the weekend we were always competitive and had good lap times. Bryan had a very good qualifying effort and I must say the car got better and better and we got faster and faster. When Bryan turned the fastest race lap later in the afternoon I knew today we could go for it. I was a little bit nervous at the end with the last safety car. Not nervous because our pace was slow but with the traffic. My thanks to Falken Tire, Porsche and the team for a great weekend. I am looking forward to next year."
Bryan Sellers, No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR: "It was a pleasure to be able to drive for Team Falken Tire and Porsche this weekend. To be teamed up with Marco and Wolf, we were strong all weekend. We knew between the three of us that if we hit our marks and did everything right we had an opportunity to win. Falken had done a good job of preparing the tire, we knew the Porsche was strong this weekend and we new that our guys back in the pits would be able to support us. It is incredible for us to show what Team Falken Tire can do. This certainly was a team win."
Marco Holzer, No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR: "I knew I was following some big footsteps because the team won here last year. It is just unbelievable that we won here again this year. The team won the last ALMS race here and now the first Tudor Championship Petit Le Mans. Wolf had a great finish like we knew that he would. Thanks to everyone at Team Falken Tire and Porsche."
Michael Christensen, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "It was a good race. Nobody made contact and the car was perfect in the last two hours, which is what we needed. Porsche has been strong all weekend. We managed to pull off the Manufacturer's Championship with Falken winning and us in second. This is great. We've been really fighting the last part of the season in the Manufacturer's Championship, so to accomplish it was definitely satisfying."
Patrick Long, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The race started off eventful. My first two stints were probably the craziest I've had in pit lane. We maintained track position and pushed forward into the second half of the race. The balance of the car was spot on all day. We kept our nose clean and had the pace to back that up. Mike did a great job bringing it home at the end and getting the Manufacturer's Championship sewn up. For Porsche to win Daytona, Sebring, a Manufacturer's and an Endurance Cup Championship - that's a great start for an inaugural program. Certainly it wasn't without trials, tribulations and adversity. I think as a group this makes us a lot stronger going into the sophomore season."
Earl Bamber, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "This has been absolutely amazing. I never expected to be on the podium at my first Petit Le Mans and my first time with the factory team. I have to thank my teammates Michael and Patrick. They did an excellent job. It made it easy for me to join the team and integrate. The car was awesome to drive. I didn't want to get out, I wanted to keep driving and driving. A huge congrats to Porsche to win the Manufacturer's Championship. I don't think we could have asked for a better weekend for the No. 912 or Porsche."
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "After the car got damaged it was really difficult to drive. We made some good calls, got back into a good position and into the lead of the race even. We made the decision to try and fix the car for the long run, but never got the lap back. In the end, the damage sustained caused a lot of other problems. The last few hours were probably the toughest driving I've done all year. The aim this weekend was to win the Manufacturer's Championship. I'm really happy for all these guys that have put in a big effort all season and I'd like to say: thank you very much."
Patrick Pilet, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "After the pit lane incident we had many issues on the car. The balance was completely different. At the beginning it looked like we were one of the strongest cars. Nick did a great job at the start and Jörg had great pace. We got back into the lead, but we decided to change the front bumper because it was getting loose and unfortunately we lost a lap. In the end, the most important thing is that we won the manufacturers' championship. It's a great result for the team."
Jörg Bergmeister, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We had a good car and good pace, but the performance of the car went down after the pit lane contact and it took quite a while to make repairs. In the end, for the No. 911 it wasn't meant to be, but overall it was a good result for Porsche finishing one-two and winning the Manufacturer's Championship."
Jan Heylen, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It was nice to finish the season on the podium. We might have won the class if we didn't have a wheel that wouldn't come off during a late tire change, but we were the fastest GTD car all week, and the race almost came back to us with the last yellow. Madison did an outstanding job during his stints, and I want t to thank Martin Snow for giving me this opportunity."
Madison Snow, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We had good pace at the beginning, and we led a good part of the event. It was a little more difficult with only two drivers as we didn't get as much rest between stints, but it all worked out. We were glad to play a key role in helping Porsche clinch the GTD manufacturers championship."
Andy Lally, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "What a great ending to a wild day! I don't even know what to say, it was such a roller coaster of events. We had so many issues, from flat tires, to a spin, to a radio that stopped working in the last four hours, yet somehow the guys pulled it off. Going in to the last lap, we thought we were fourth, so to all of a sudden cross the finish line with a podium was amazing. Our Porsche was as strong as ever, and this was a sweet reward for the hard work of all the guys."
John Potter, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "Five podiums in one year is a pretty good season, so we're definitely happy with today. With two laps to go we figured the race was over and there was no hope of a podium, and yet somehow here we are. We really appreciate our long-standing relationship with Porsche, and appreciate such a strong 2014 season. We've definitely had our ups and downs, yet everyone on this crew has banded together and made an incredible effort. It's a satisfying feeling, and I look forward to what the future holds."
The FOX Network will broadcast a two-hour highlight show of today's Petit Le Mans on Sunday, October 5. Check local listings for times.
GT Le Mans Results
1. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA)/Marco Holzer (Germany), Porsche 911 RSR - 391 laps
2. No. 912 Patrick Long (USA)/Michael Christensen (Denmark)/Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Porsche 911 RSR - 391 laps
3. No. 91 Marc Goossens (Belgium)/Kuno Whittmer (Canada)/Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA), Dodge Viper SRT - 391laps
4. No. 4 Oliver Gavin (UK)/Tommy Milner (USA)/Ryan Briscoe (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R 391 laps
5. No. 911 Nick Tandy (Great Britain)/Patrick Pilet (France)/Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Porsche 911 RSR - 390 laps
6. No. 93 Jonathan Bomarito (USA)/Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)/Rob Bell (UK), Dodge Viper SRT - 389 laps
GT Daytona Results
1. No. 48 Chistopher Haase (Germany)/Bryce Miller (USA/Matthew Bell (UK), Audi RS LMS - 376 laps
2. No. 58 Jan Heylen (USA)/Madison Snow (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 376 laps
3. No. 44 John Potter (USA)/Andy Lally (USA)/Marco Seefried (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 376 laps
4. No. 94 Dane Cameron (USA)/Markus Palttala (Finland)/Christoffer Nygaard (Denmark), BMW Z4 - 375 laps
5. .No. 23 Ian James (USA), Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Alex Riberas (Spain), Porsche 911 GT America - 376 laps
6. No. 51Matt Griffin (Ireland)/Michele Rugolo (Italy)/Pasin Lathouras (Thailand), Ferrari 458 Italia - 375 laps
8. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (USA)/Leh Keen (USA)/Craig Stanton (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 375 laps
11. No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Ben Barker (UK)/ Philipp Eng (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 367 laps
13. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/Norbert Siedler (Austria)/Kevin Estre (France)/Mike Skeen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 346 laps
15. No. 19 Mark Kvamme (USA)/Larry Pegram (USA)/Daniel Lloyd (UK), Porsche 911 GT America - 225 laps
18. No. 27 Patrick Dempsey (USA.)/Andrew Davis (USA)/Joe Foster (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 99 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.
Connect with us socially: http://www.twitter.com/Porsche, http://www.Facebook.com/Porsche, http://drive.porsche.com/us and http://www.instagram.com/Porsche
For Porsche apps: http://www.porsche.com/usa/entertainment/apps/
Note: Photos and video footage are available to accredited journalists on the Porsche Press Database at http://press.porsche.com/
Media Relations Manager