Motorsport News

October 17, 2017


Dear Journalist:
Early each week, Porsche Cars North America will provide a weekend summary or pre-race event notes package, covering the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) or other areas of interest from the world of Porsche Motorsport. Please utilize this resource as needed, and do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

- Porsche Cars North America Motorsports Public Relations Team

Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Porsche Profile.
Event Story Lines


Rain, Fog, Red Flag, Fuji. Porsche 919 Hybrids Finish Third and Fourth in Japan.

The Porsche LMP Team had to be content with third and fourth-place finishes at the seventh of nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The six-hour race on the Fuji International Speedway in Japan was hampered by persistent rain plus fog and staged in only 57 degrees Fahrenheit ambient temperature and 61F degree track temperature. Interruptions and neutralizations influenced the track action. Neel Jani (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) finished in third-place. This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) had started from pole position and came home in fourth-place with Bamber impressively recording the fastest race lap (one-minute, 37.702 seconds on lap 19 of 115).

The second red flag came after four hours and 31 minutes and the race was not restarted. As just over 75 percent of the scheduled race duration had been completed, full points were awarded. In the manufacturers' world championship standings, Porsche continues to lead with now 270 points, Toyota follows on 211.5 points after their one-two win on home soil. Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley top the drivers' rankings with 172 points, their advantage over the best-placed Toyota drivers having melted to 39 points. Jani/Lotterer/Tandy remain in fourth position now at 98 points. At the eighth and penultimate 2017 WEC race in Shanghai, China on November 5th, Porsche wants to convert its match point into a successful title defense.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1.

“Heavy rain, thick fog, a start behind the safety car, two red flags and numerous safety car periods and yellow zones. Given these adverse conditions, we can be glad that nothing serious happened today. In the end it was a one-two race win for Toyota. But we were close and in Shanghai we will do everything to do the next step in order to defend our championship titles.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal.

“Congratulations to Toyota for winning in Fuji. The pendulum today swung back and forth several times. Before the first red flag, we were gambling. If it would have been the end of the race, we would have won it with our number 2 car. But with the timing of the ultimate red flag we were unlucky. If the race had continued, we would have seen a battle for victory between the number 7 Toyota and our number 1 car. We generally had difficulties getting the tires to work at the re-starts causing us to drop back a few times. However, it is important that we take home some more points for both championship classifications. It was a very difficult weekend for our drivers and the entire team but everyone stayed focused which I thank them for.”

Neel Jani, Driver, No. 1, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I was second in the car and then drove again at the end. Eventually I was in the car when both the red flags came out. I think I'm familiar with the procedures now. It was a close race with Toyota. It appears they were better in heating up their tires. We could always catch up but then the next safety car or yellow came out. I have never previously experienced a race like this. Visibility sometimes was zero, it was just a question of how to survive.”

André Lotterer, Driver, No. 1, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“On the initial laps I had big problems to get the tires to work. They were too cold and it was like driving on ice. Somehow the Toyotas managed this better and so I lost two positions. Losing an aero part from the front when I touched with Sébastien Buemi cost more downforce. But finally I got the tires up to temperature and then the car was really fast.”

Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 1, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“It went really well on my stint until the safety car came out. The tires cooled down and it was difficult to make a restart. I think Toyota was on a slightly different tire strategy - better than us on the restarts but not on the longer runs. Unfortunately this race didn't have many long runs!”

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 2, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“I started the race and the visibility, especially in traffic, with spray and fog was really very, very bad. I didn't see anything. It was the right call to red flag the race after a bit over an hour. The water level wasn't the problem but the fog had to clear and that didn't happen.”

Timo Bernhard, Driver, No. 2, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“After I took over from Earl, I had huge problems to get the tires to work. I was driving in heavy traffic with lots of spray and very poor visibility. There wasn't much I could do to heat the rubber up. Then the leader overtook me and the safety car came out. That was very unfortunate for us.”

Brendon Hartley, Driver, No. 2, Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“It was going great for Earl in the beginning. He was in P1, leading by over ten seconds, but then we had safety car after safety car, which obviously affected our race. We had very tricky conditions today with a slippery track and poor visibility. But we kept the car on track and had clean stints.”

Fuji RSR. Porsche GT Team Puts Two 911 RSR on Japanese Podium.

The Porsche GT Team scored two podium spots with the Porsche 911 RSR in extremely difficult weather conditions at the six-hour race on the Fuji Speedway in Japan. Facing rain and fog, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) secured second-place in the strongly represented LMGTE-Pro class on Sunday, October 15 after leading on the tradition-steeped 2.835-mile circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji.

Thanks to the Japanese result, the two have improved their chances of taking the GT Drivers' World Championship title. With two races left on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar at Shanghai and Bahrain, they currently rank second, just five points shy of the leader. Their teammates, Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France), who missed of a possible WEC maiden victory for the new 911 RSR when they became the innocent victims of a crash, ultimately finished in third-place.

In torrential rain at the Fuji Speedway, with the Holy Mountain hidden behind a curtain of dark clouds, Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California) waved the green flag and sent the 26 starters on their way. In 2015, the Hollywood star had won his first world championship race in Fuji with his 911 RSR. This time, the Porsche Ambassador and co-owner of the Dempsey Proton Racing kept his fingers crossed for his squad at the pit wall. It worked. The Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) and his German teammates Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst, who have already notched up two wins so far this season at the Nürburgring and in Mexico, netted another podium place with third in the GTE-Am class. With this, they reclaimed the lead in the overall classification of the FIA Endurance Trophy.

Due to the heavy downpour, the race started behind the safety car, with the field going green again after five laps. In the GTE-Pro class, Lietz got away perfectly from pole position, with Christensen following suit in the second 911 RSR. After seven laps, he had gained two positions and was running in third. When the weather turned worse, the safety car was again deployed for almost an hour, before the race was eventually red-flagged due to bad visibility. The drivers parked their cars on the finish straight. The restart came after 32 minutes, and after a two hours, when Lietz pitted for the first time, Christensen moved into the lead.

After 2:20 hours, the stewards of the meeting again decided to send the safety car out due to poor visibility on the rain-drenched Fuji Speedway. Both 911 RSR came into the pits for a splash-and-dash refueling stop before quickly returning to the racetrack. It was clear already at that point that the race strategy on this day would play a decisive role. This time the safety car stayed out on the track for 26 minutes. After half the distance, Christensen was in fourth with Lietz in fifth. The Dane had just fought his way up to third-place when his charge was again thwarted by another safety car phase. The Porsche GT Team strategists summoned the two 911 RSR into the pits for a driver change. Estre replaced Christensen in the No. 92 car, with Makowiecki taking the cockpit of the No. 92 Porsche from Lietz. When the race director gave the go-ahead shortly afterwards, Estre snatched the lead, with Makowiecki running third.

The fourth safety-car phase of the season's most unpredictable race was the first as the result of an accident. The race quickly picked up the pace and the rain eased slightly, but now fog rolled in. A lapped Ford pilot hit the back of the leading Estre, forcing him into a spin. Unsurprisingly, the 911 RSR of the Frenchman sustained damage. The collision affected the aerodynamics at the front as well as the diffuser at the rear. The result of this was that not only did the vehicle fall back to third-place, but from this point on it lost around a second per lap to the front-runner. The incident moved the No. 92 911 RSR into the lead; however, at a later stage Makowiecki lost his top spot in a close overtaking maneuver with a Ferrari. From that point on, he continued in second, with Estre in third.

When the fog became thicker on the Fuji Speedway and the pilots complained of worsening visibility, the stewards opted for another safety car phase. Thirteen minutes later, the field was halted again with the red flag. This was the last caution phase of this eventful seventh round of the WEC. With no improvement expected, the race was not restarted.

Round eight of the WEC will be contested in Shanghai, China on November 5.

Alex Stehlig, Program Manager WEC.

“The conditions today were very tricky. The many safety car phases and red flags made it very difficult for the engineers to make the right decisions. However, the team worked brilliantly and had interpreted these interruptions correctly. It was bitter that an already lapped competitor cost our leading number 92 car a possible win. The number 91 drove a steady race, but directly after the restart it didn't have the pace for a short time to fend off the Ferrari. Second and third are still great results. We were among the fastest over the entire race weekend. It's a shame that it wasn't enough to yield our first win in this world championship.”

Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“We had an excellent car this weekend. In qualifying we posted pole position and our 911 RSR was also very fast in the race. Our team had the right strategy for every situation, no matter whether it was for the safety car or Full Course Yellow - everyone kept their cool and made the right decisions. It was sometimes very hard to see with the spray flying up from the prototypes in front. It was almost like driving through a wall. Plus, there was so much water on the racetrack we could easily have swum a few laps. Still, our 911 RSR performed really well under all conditions. We're currently second in the championship. The title race is still open. Now we'll do everything we can to earn plenty of points in Shanghai.”

Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“I took over the car during a safety car phase. The restart was somewhat difficult, but I managed to overtake a Ferrari and then I was in second-place. When our leading number 92 car got caught up in an accident, I took the lead. Our pace was good and we could even pull clear of our pursuers a little, but then we lacked grip at the front axle, which had a negative effect on the performance. Today's race was very challenging, but our team always made the right decisions.

Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“That was a tough race. A lot happened that we didn't expect. And the weather in Fuji was crazy again. My first stint was not perfect. We changed the air pressure for our wet tires for the second stint and then we had the fastest car on the track and I could take the lead. If it weren't for the crash we could've won. Still, we can be satisfied with a double podium for Porsche at such a difficult race.”

Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

“I've never had to wait so long for my turn in a race. When I finally got to drive after three hours, I managed to overtake two prototypes after the restart after the first safety car phase and pull slightly clear of my pursuers. After another restart I lapped a slower Ford. He obviously missed his braking point in the next corner and drove straight into my car. I spun and had to continue with my 911 RSR damaged at the front and rear. It became increasingly difficult at the end. I'm pleased that I could defend my third-place to the flag.”

Swan Win. Black Swan Earns Pro-Am Victory for Porsche in California 8.

Black Swan Racing returned to the Porsche family for the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hour on October 15 and earned a victory as a result. The No. 54 captured the ProAm class win, fifth-place overall, in their first race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R in over a year. Jeroen Bleekemolen (The Netherlands), owner/driver Tim Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts) and David Calvert-Jones (Australia) ran a flawless event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) over the course of the eight-hours to give Porsche its highest finishing position of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) race.

The No. 17 Hybrid Kinetic Motors by GMG 911 GT3 R with factory drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany), Sven Müller (Germany) and Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) was seventh overall just ahead of the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R. The No. 77, also prepared by GMG, was eighth-overall, second in ProAm class, with owner/driver Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland), Porsche Young Driver Academy alum Michael Lewis (Laguna Beach, California) and Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia). The No. 58 Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R with factory stars Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GT Champion Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) fought for the overall victory before a refueling problem ended their day in the final two hours of the race.

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver, No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“It was a really good weekend. The GMG guys really prepared the car well. The Porsche has been sitting for a year; they dusted it off and really prepped it well. We had really good pace; we were up there with the fastest cars. Tim and C.J. really drove well. They were up there with the pros, hardly losing any time to some of the fastest GT guys in the world. The team did everything right. It was great to beat the Audi in the end. It was a tough fight. It had so much more pace than me at the start of the stint but he ran through his tires and we were able to hold him. It was a tough job but cool to do it.”

California Caymans. Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR Finishes 1-2 in 8 Hour.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR finished first and second in the GT4 class of the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hour on October 15. The No. 26 Rearden Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR took its first professional endurance race victory with drivers Jeff Kearl, Sean McAlister and Jeff Westphal in the eight-hour race for GT3 and GT4 cars of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). The No. 8 HKG-GMG Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR chased the Rearden machine across the finish line with drivers Carter Yeung, Andy Lee and Jon Miller.



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Model Hashtags.
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
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Porsche 919 Hybrid. #919hybrid
 
Event Hashtag
 
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3CAN
PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 @CaymanGT4CSEast
Clubsport Trophy East #GT4CSE
Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA @PirelliCupUSA
Intercontinental GT Challenge @IntercontGTC


Future Porsche Events.

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Event: Six Hours of Shanghai, Shanghai International Circuit
Dateline: Shanghai, China
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Track Length: 3.39-miles, 16-turn
Race Duration: 6-Hours
Class: LMP1-Hybrid (Porsche 919 Hybrid)
  LMGTE-Pro (Porsche 911 RSR)
  LMGTE-Am (Porsche 911 RSR, MY 2015)
Round: 8 of 9
Next Round: Six Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain, November 16 - 18, 2017
 

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Event: Six Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit
Dateline: Sakhir, Bahrain
Date: November 16 - 18, 2017
Track Length: 3.63-miles, 15-turn
Race Duration: 6-Hours
Class: LMP1-Hybrid (Porsche 919 Hybrid)
  LMGTE-Pro (Porsche 911 RSR)
  LMGTE-Am (Porsche 911 RSR, MY 2015)
Round: 9 of 9
Next Round: Season Finale


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Contacts.

Dave Engelman
Porsche Cars North America
Media Relations Manager, Motorsports and Brand Heritage
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Mobile. 404-386-4665
dave.engelman@porsche.us

Tom Moore
Motorsports Public Relations
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Mobile.  615-509-5000
tom@darkhorseautosport.com

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