April 18, 2015
Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Round 3 of 10, Long Beach, California
Long Beach, California, April 18, 2015. The narrow confines of the wall-lined temporary race course through the streets of Long Beach, California makes passing difficult. As a result, the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class became more spread out than usual and made racing to a podium a challenge for the trio of Porsche 911 RSRs entered in today’s Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach. At the end of the 100-minute race - the shortest on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule - the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR was the highest finishing of the three iconic rear-engine sports cars in fourth-place. The No. 912, which had been the best qualifying of the three cars carrying the German marque’s banner, was damaged early in the event and finished eighth. The sole customer entry, Team Falken Tire, took sixth-place.
Porsche 911 RSR
With few passing opportunities on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit, the start and race strategy decisions are critical. Looking to take the green flag under the best circumstances as possible, all three Porsche 911 RSR opted to change tires following yesterday’s qualifying session. With the trio gridding in the sixth, seventh and eighth positions, the new tires - Michelin racing slicks on the Nos. 911 and 912, Falken rubber on the No. 17 - would give each the strongest opportunity to pass during the race. Additionally, new tires would allow the three cars to remain at a higher performance peak longer than the others who used the tires they qualified on.
The No. 911, starting seventh, finished fourth, an impressive feat on any street circuit. Frédéric Makowiecki had the fight of the day in the car he shares with fellow Frenchmen Patrick Pilet. “Mako” went on a late race charge for the podium chasing down the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. However, several laps behind the Corvette’s teammate, who was a lap down, would limit the No. 911’s attack on the third-place ‘Vette to just the final lap. That was not enough time to execute the pass for a podium finish.
The No. 912 Team Porsche North America 911 RSR was the quickest of the Porsche trio in qualifying. However, on the first lap, starting driver Richard Lietz (Austria) was hit by the No. 4 Corvette pushing the car into the wall damaging the right-front wheel hub and power steering system. The Porsche North America crew made quick work to make repairs in pit lane but the short race and limited passing opportunities kept the car in eighth-place at the checkered flag.
The No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, shared by Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Falken Tire works pilot Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia), finished sixth in class.
A two-hour broadcast of today’s race can be seen Sunday, April 19 on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The next round of the TUDOR Championship is the two-hour, 45-minute, Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 3. The driver lineup for Round Four will see Michael Christensen (Denmark) traveling to the United States to share driving duties in the No. 911 Porsche North America entry with Patrick Pilet (France) and the No. 912 with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany).
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: “We opted to change tires on all three of the Porsches before the start. The rule states that you can change tires and go to the back of the grid. So, it was a no-brainer to go to the back of the grid and have new tires for the start. We made it clear to our drivers to push but not take unnecessary risks. So, I do not understand why the Corvette needed to take that risk on the opening corner with the No. 912. Fred’s charge at the end was fantastic. To go from seventh to fourth on a street course is an achievement. It got very intense at the end. We got the number four Corvette who was playing wingman to the number three. We got right up to the three car but then the prototype got between us and that was it. That’s racing.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “The beginning of the stint was difficult for me to put temperature in the tire but it was very consistent and quick at the end. When we got up to fight for the podium the second Corvette was a lap down and did not respect the blue flag. We lost three or four laps that we were not able to use to fight with the lead Corvette at the end.”
Patrick Pilet, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The start was tricky. It was a shame for Richie because he got pushed into the wall. I was lucky that the Corvette didn’t come back into me. The car was really strong at the end of the race. Fred managed good pace but he got blocked for three or four laps and didn’t have the chance to overtake. It was a hard weekend but we got some points and that is the most important. Now we focus on Laguna.”
Jörg Bergmeister, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “The guys did some work to the power steering. I was just trying to nurse the car to the finish and get some points.”
Richard Lietz, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “I moved up on the side of the Corvette. I gave him room but he did not give me room. There was big damage to the car so the only possibility left was to finish the race and we did that. It is a shame for the team.”
GT Le Mans Results
1. No. 25 Bill Auberlen (USA)/Dirk Werner (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE - 76 laps
2. No. 62 Pierre Kaffer (Germany)/Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Ferrari F458 Italia - 76 laps
3. No. 3 Jan Magnusson (Denmark)/Antonio Garcia (Spain), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R - 75 laps
4. No. 911 Frédéric Makowiecki (France)/Patrick Pilet (France), Porsche 911 RSR - 75 laps
5. No. 24 John Edwards (USA)/Lucas Luhr (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE - 75 laps
6. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA) Porsche 911 RSR - 75 laps
7. No. 4 Oliver Gavin (GB)/Tommy Milner (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R - 74 laps
8. No. 912 Jörg Bergmeister (Germany)/Richard Lietz (Austria), Porsche 911 RSR - 60 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 racecars 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.
At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000-plus motorsport wins to date.
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