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2020/11/10 | Motorsports | Press Release

Porsche Motorsport Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

This Week.
  • Red, White and Thank You. Porsche GT Team Brings North American-Focused Livery to Sebring Finale.
  • Thank You. From Porsche.
  • Sebring Finale. Porsche Tackles Emotional End of IMSA Season at Sebring.
  • Championship Run. Porsche Customer Wright Motorsports Ready for Final Title Push.
  • Building Legends. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge to Crown Champion in Final Race.

    Porsche Profile.
    Event Story Lines.
    Red, White and Thank You. Porsche GT Team Brings North American-Focused Livery to Sebring Finale.

    Since its first race as the official factory team at Daytona International Speedway in January of 2014, the Porsche GT Team – originally known as Porsche North America until changing to its current name in 2017 – has set itself apart by carrying distinctive liveries at special events. In total, including the one-off design of the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Porsche will have carried five custom designs to recognize the unique nature of the North American market. Special liveries bookend the seven-year history of the CORE autosport-operated “works” team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. These designs, along with official corporate colors, have adorned three iterations of the Porsche 911 RSR in a total of 75 races entering Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Porsche is marking the conclusion of its overwhelmingly successful North American factory team at Sebring International Raceway on November 14 with a final red, white and blue graphic conveying a “Thank You” to CORE, IMSA, the tracks and promoters, workers and fans in the United States and Canada.

    Much like the livery in the team’s first race at Daytona 2014 highlighted the operation’s North American lineage, the GTLM class race cars will be wrapped in a truly American design. The No. 911 driven by two-time consecutive and defending class Sebring winners Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) as well as 2019 WeatherTech GTLM class champion Earl Bamber (New Zealand) will see the corporate “Porsche Crest” livery echoed in a blue ribbon with white stars crossed by red and white stripes running the length of the white car. The No. 912 with Bamber also assigned to drive with longtime teammate Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and veteran Porsche factory driver Neel Jani (Switzerland) will reverse this with a ribbon of red splitting into red and white stripes over the rear fenders while a stripe of blue and white stars runs from the hood over the roof and onto the rear bodywork of the white car. “THANK YOU” messages will adorn the rocker panels and underside of the rear wings of both machines. The cars can also be differentiated by a white windshield banner and rear wing, as well as white rear wing underside on the No. 911 while the No. 912 has a black Porsche windshield banner and rear wing with a blue rear wing underside.

    “THANK YOU”. The message, which appears as a thread across the week-long celebration of the final race to be run by the North American factory team, has multiple targets. Porsche wishes to express deep gratitude to the Jonathan Bennett-owned CORE autosport operation, its managers, specialists and technicians, as well as to IMSA, the many Porsche GT Team partners in North America such as Mobil 1, Michelin, TAG Heuer, PUMA, ZF and Hugo Boss as well as the race tracks, promoters and corner workers on the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar the last seven years… every one of which has seen the team stand in victory lane. Most heartfelt in this simple message of appreciation is to the race fans themselves. Every lap turned by both the No. 911 and No. 912 is a personal salute not only to the fans at Sebring International Raceway but to those at home watching the NBC Sports broadcast or listening to the IMSA Radio call as well.

    Porsche, as a manufacturer, has taken part in every IMSA sports car race ever held including an unprecedented string of 67 consecutive 12 Hours of Sebring dating back to 1953. During that time, Porsche has captured a record 18 overall and 72 class wins at the central Florida track. Drivers have piloted a Porsche 911 into Sebring’s victory lane 33 times, including the last two years with Tandy, Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet (France) taking back-to-back GTLM class victories in the No. 911. While Porsche will continue long into the future supporting customer teams, the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring marks the end of the factory GTLM program in North America.

    Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
    “After seven very successful years, we’re wrapping up our works program in North America with the upcoming race at Sebring. With this special vehicle design, we want to underline our connection to this tremendous racing series and also want to say a big thank you to the loyal fans. While racing the 911 in the GTLM class, we experienced firsthand the excitement that our brand inspires in the USA. The spectators were always full of passion, they love the 911 RSR and they were unfailingly supportive. We’d also like to thank everyone involved from Porsche AG, Porsche Cars North America, our motor racing colleagues in the USA, the operations team Core autosport and, last but definitely not least, our loyal partners. The huge successes over the last seven years would not have been possible without their trust and dedicated cooperation.”

    Thank You. From Porsche.
    Supporting the weekend is a special “Thank You” video highlighting the story of the Porsche GT Team in North America and CORE autosport’s intricate role that in seven seasons – 74 races to-date – has scored three GTLM class team championships, 20 victories, 20 pole positions, 55 podiums and 16 fastest race laps entering its final race. 15 drivers have piloted!/id:5fa91725b44caf63a999bc87//

    Sebring Finale. Porsche Tackles Emotional End of IMSA Season at Sebring.
    Porsche has a clear goal for the final round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Sebring, Florida on November 14: win. The German sports car manufacturer looks to conclude a seven-year relationship with North American factory operations team Core autosport with a GTLM class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – what would be the third-straight for the Porsche 911 RSR race cars.

    The “works” campaign with the two Porsche 911 RSR in the GTLM class comes to an end after seven very successful years. As a special treat for the many fans and loyal partners in North America, Porsche sends the two works cars out in style with a special livery to reflect the team’s place as the first fulltime factory team. The driver line-up for the season finale is also new. Swiss factory driver Neel Jani will support the regular IMSA drivers at the event in Florida driving the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19. He will join regular season aces Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) in the defending GTLM championship-winning ride. Meanwhile, Bamber will be playing “double-duty” also being moved onto the driver lineup in the No. 911 with defending Sebring race class winners Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). The traditional twelve-hour event on the former airfield was originally planned for mid-March but had to be postponed by eight months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Sebring International Raceway throws major challenges at man and machine. About a third of the 3.74-mile (6.02-kilometer) racetrack consists of concrete pavement harrowing back to the runways of the facility’s beginnings as a World War II bomber base. This surface causes hefty vibrations. Due to this and bumps created in the turns – particularly the final complex of turns 16 and 17, the track located about 62-miles south of Orlando carries the hashtag #RespectTheBumps. For the engineers of the works team, the emphasis is on finding a suitable setup for the kinematics of the 911 RSR.

    Porsche is the most successful manufacturer on the storied circuit, which has regularly hosted endurance races since 1950. To-date, the German marque has netted 18 outright wins and 72 class victories at Sebring. The last two years No. 911 the Porsche 911 RSR has won the GTLM class at the hugely popular endurances race in Florida. In addition to the Daytona 24-hour classic and the two races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, this final round of the season counts towards the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

    Jani is making his race debut in the Porsche 911 RSR. The 36-year-old FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) champion and 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winner has been testing heavily in the Porsche 911 RSR race car in anticipation of this race. Bamber and Vanthoor recently won the two-hour, 40-minute race at WeatherTech Laguna Seca putting the factory effort on a hot streak of two-straight with Tandy/Makowiecki/Matt Campbell having won the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in early October. The No. 912 pairing ranks in sixth-place in the drivers’ classification, one position behind Tandy and Makowiecki. In the manufacturer’s championship, Porsche heads to the final round of the season in third-place. In the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup – a special classification which includes the four longest races of the season – the Porsche GT Team currently ranks second and has good chances of winning the title.

    Since the start of the factory campaign with the Porsche 911 RSR in the hotly contested GTLM class of the IMSA series in 2014, the German sports car manufacturer from Weissach has won the manufacturer’s title three times and the team championship twice. In 74 races, Porsche has achieved 20 wins, 20 pole positions and 55 podium finishes. The greatest highlight is the overall victory of the 911 RSR at the 2015 Petit Le Mans where, in the rain at Road Atlanta, Tandy, Patrick Pilet (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) outpaced the entire field, including the faster prototypes to score a popular and unexpected overall victory. Britain’s Nick Tandy tops the list of statistics as the most successful driver in the North American Porsche factory squad. With nine pole positions to his credit, the outright Le Mans winner from 2015 has set a record in the IMSA series. In 62 race starts, Tandy has scored a team-leading 12 race wins – tied with longtime teammate Patrick Pilet.

    The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes the green flag on Saturday, November 14, at 10:10 a.m. local time, 7:10 a.m. PT. The race can be watched live on NBCSN starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. Practice, qualifying and race coverage can also be found on IMSA Radio via and SiriusXM Radio.

    Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
    “The last factory outing with the Porsche 911 RSR in the North American IMSA series brings up many emotions. In the fierce competition against top-class rivals in the GTLM class, we’ve won the manufacturer’s title three times in seven years, among other accolades. We’re enormously proud of that. The North American market is very important for Porsche. That’s why I’m particularly pleased that our racing cars will be represented in big numbers at the IMSA events in 2021. The interest from customers to field the 911 GT3 R in the GTD class is huge, and we’ll be launching the new Porsche Carrera Cup North America next year as part of the support program.”

    Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
    “We’re keen to close a great chapter in the IMSA series with another success. Sebring has always been good turf for Porsche. In the last two years, our Porsche 911 RSR has won the GTLM class at the twelve-hour race in Florida. Over the past weeks, our factory squad won at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca. We’re heading to the big finale in top form. I’m sure we’ll be among the frontrunners in Sebring, as well.”

    Steffen Höllwarth, Head of Operations IMSA Championship.
    “We’re returning to the venue where we’ve enjoyed many successes. Once again, our goal this year is clear: we want to win. Unfortunately, we don’t have our regular third drivers for this year’s 12-hour race because of overlapping dates with other series on the same race weekend. However, with Neel Jani, an extremely experienced driver joins the team. We aim to go for broke one last time with him and the entire squad. Unfortunately, we’re out contention for the IMSA title, but we are eager to clinch the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.”

    Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19.
    “We’re returning to Sebring as the winners of the last two years. To clinch two-straight victories in this twelve-hour race is quite an achievement. It would be awesome to finish the series with a hat trick! As such, our aim is very clear: We want maximum success again for our last joint outing as a works team. The farewell doesn’t play a major role for me until the checkered flag falls. I think it’s much more important that we prepare meticulously and systematically for this last race.”

    Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19.
    “Nick and I have very fond memories of Sebring. We won the endurance classic in the last two years and we’d now like to wrap-up the factory campaign with a third victory. The race is usually contested in spring. Now, in mid-November, we’ll be spending more time driving in the dark. We have to keep this in mind when finding an optimal setup. Those who drive fast and consistently in the night have the best chances in the fierce competition of the GTLM class.”

    Earl Bamber, Driver, Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19.
    “For me personally, the end of the season is particularly significant because I have a very close relationship with the IMSA series. My career began as a Porsche works driver in North America in 2015. Since then, I’ve contested over 50 races in the championship, I’ve met some great people here and I’ve celebrated some fantastic wins. The undisputed highlight was our title win last year. I’d like to close this chapter with a win at Sebring.”

    Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19.
    “It’ll be an emotional finale in Florida. Over the years, we’ve experienced a lot, we’ve worked a lot and we’ve celebrated a lot with our fabulous team. We’re travelling to Sebring in high spirits after our win at Laguna Seca. We still have some unfinished business at the twelve-hour race. I’ve finished on the podium but I’ve never won there. It’s the perfect time to settle that score this coming weekend. I promise one thing: There’ll be some cool burnouts to farewell the fans.”

    Neel Jani, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19.
    “I’ve done several days of testing in the Porsche 911 RSR, but it’ll still be diving in the deep end. I’ve never contested a GT race before. I’ll have a lot to learn in a very short time at the Sebring weekend. Most notably, from the perspective of a GT driver, I’m not familiar with driving in traffic. Still, I know the track well, I’ve driven prototypes there multiple times and I climbed the podium in 2013. Four years later, I scored pole position in an LMP2 car – beating all DPi vehicles. I’m looking forward to this big challenge and I’d like to help my teammates, Earl and Laurens, as much as possible to finish as far up the GTLM field as possible.”

    Championship Run. Porsche Customer Wright Motorsports Ready for Final Title Push.
    Longtime Porsche customer team Wright Motorsports enters the final round of the 2020 season sitting in second-place of the GTD team and driver standings. The veteran program is only seven points behind the championship leading Acura entering the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on November 14. There could be few places more perfectly suited for the longtime Porsche entrant in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class than Sebring International Raceway. The Sebring. Florida track has been the site to several Wright Motorsport successes and North America’s only Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), has two race wins and four total podiums in his career on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn track.

    Long, who is scheduled to make his 14th start in the 12-Hours on Saturday, will lead the driving squad of the blue and black Porsche. The Californian will be joined by full-season teammate Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) as well as Porsche expert Jan Heylen (Belgium) in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the endurance classic. A string of mid-season podium finishes coupled with other top-six stats have pushed the John Wright-owned operation into the pro-am style class title chase. Success with the lone rear-engine icon in the field could earn the Ohio-based team its first WeatherTech championship.

    John Wright, Team Owner, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “It has all come down to this final race. We’ve run a perfect season, and we’re ready for this final push. Absolutely everyone on our team has been flawless all year, showing a united strength in what could be considered a stressful season for a variety of factors. I know we’ll give it our best shot and execute the best we can. I’m proud of everyone and hope we’re there in the end to celebrate a championship.”

    Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “I feel charged up and super proud to be heading into this finale as one of the contenders for the title. Sebring is a bear of a race, and it’s a track and a type that makes its own rules, and you just roll with it. I am focused on continuing to aim for victories, remaining honed-in on our process and bringing as much preparation to the weekend as any car in the race. Thank you to 1st Phorm and Mountain Motorsports for allowing us the chance to line up Saturday with a shot at this!”

    Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “It all comes down to this one race! One shot at winning the IMSA GTD championship! Our entire team has worked extremely hard to get us in this position, to be able fight for the championship in the final event of the season. John Wright has guided our team with the mantra that consistency wins championships, and our consistent finishes are exactly what has us in this position. But now we have a different focus. Our collective goal is to win the 12 Hours of Sebring! If we do that, then we have a great shot at the championship. Personally, I thrive when it all comes down to one race; one shot to win it all. That’s exactly how I’ve won two other world championships in my racing career, and it’s also what I’m most looking forward to about the opportunity we have at Sebring. We have one shot, and that one shot is all we are going to need.”

    Jan Heylen, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “Nothing is more exciting than going into the last race of the season fighting for the championship! I’m really happy to be a part of this team and doing my little part. We have all the ingredients to do the best job out there: car, team, drivers. I can’t wait to get the race started at this iconic racetrack.”

    Building Legends. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge to Crown Champion in Final Race.
    The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend will bring to a close the long and successful history of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Founded in 2004 and running its first full season in 2005, the one-make championship has held its place as the stepping stone from club racing to professional racing ever since. Many of the top drivers and teams in this weekend’s 12-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event got their start battling wheel-to-wheel in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, building legends… 45-minutes at a time.

    Both young aspiring drivers and veteran semi-pros have found a home in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, which uses the iconic Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car as the sole type of race machine allowed to compete. Action takes place in both Platinum and Gold classes, with a Masters Championship for drivers 45 years old and over also within the Platinum category. Each weekend traditionally includes a pair of 45-minute races. However, to complete the championship, a third race has been added at several venues to make-up for lost events during the 2020 season. Sebring will enjoy two races, both scheduled for Friday, November 13. Qualifying will be held on Thursday. The 15-minute time trial will lock the grid for Race 1 based on the fastest lap while the field for Race 2 is set based on a driver’s second quickest time or the fastest Race 1 lap should it be quicker than qualifying.

    All race cars are technically identical, as are the Yokohama racing slick tires and the fuel. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car (the second generation of the type 991) has been fielded in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA since 2017 and comprises the Platinum class. The current generation 911 GT3 Cup car houses a normally aspirated four-liter, flax six-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection delivering a peak performance of 485 hp. It is the most powerful vehicle in the history of the Porsche one-make cup series. Following its bigger siblings, the 911 GT3 Cup car produces just under the 500+ hp of the 911 GT3 R and 515+ hp Porsche 911 RSR-19.

    The 2020 championship battle comes to its conclusion centered on two of the sports brightest young stars: Jeff Kingsley (Canada) and Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas). Kingsley moved into the defending championship-winning No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and picked up right where 2019 champ Roman DeAngelis left off. DeAngelis is now racing in the WeatherTech series. Dickinson, the 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner has been challenging the Canadian every step of the way and has regularly reversed the roles with the Texan taking the top step of the podium.

    Each driver wants to go down in history as the last driver to win the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship. In the same way, 20+ contenders are chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car and call themselves the first champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America in 2021. Excitingly, that first 45-minute race in Carrera Cup North America will take place at Sebring in March of next year.

    Porsche Carrera Cup North America will take its place as the premier one-make race series in the United States and Canada and will utilize a combination of the latest yet-to-be-unveiled Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup N3 racing slick to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent. As with all national
    Carrera Cups worldwide, Porsche, through Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA),
    will manage the single-driver per-entry series. IMSA will act as official sanctioning body as well as manage scrutineering and steward on-track activity.

    The inaugural season of the championship will host 16-rounds at eight venues in the
    eastern United States and Canada. Each race will count toward a season-long driver and team championship in each of three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Rookie. All
    drivers can contend for Pro class victories but must utilize the newest Porsche 911 GT3
    Cup race car to do so. The Pro-Am class is eligible for “Gentlemen” drivers – a driver who does not make a primary profession of automobile racing. A driver in the Pro-Am category may use the newest machine or the previous generation. The Rookie class is only open to drivers who are 23-years-old or younger. All drivers age 23 and under enjoy the additional benefit of inclusion in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Junior program. As a Junior, drivers receive valuable training tools for those wishing to make a career of professional motorsport. A driver will be selected from the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Junior program to represent the region in the annual Porsche Junior Shootout in Germany at the end of the year.

    The Porsche Carrera Cup North America joins the 21 Porsche one-make championships competing in 31 countries on five continents. It becomes the tenth Carrera Cup worldwide.

    Falling just under the Porsche Carrera Cup North America in 2021 will be the recently announced Porsche Sprint Challenge North America. The new series, which will utilize previous generations Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars and the current generation Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, will take its place as the direct feeder to Carrera Cup. With the Trophy level being eliminated from the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America, this championship breaks new ground for Porsche as the German sports car manufacturer has commissioned the United States Auto Club (USAC) to manage all aspects of the 16-race schedule. Yokohama has been selected as the series official tire partner and presenting sponsor of the Porsche Sprint Challenge. The series will debut in Sebring in 2021.

    While this weekend’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA races mark the end of one era, a new one emerges stronger. Sebring will remain a cornerstone event for the Porsche Carrera Cup North America and Porsche one-make series will continue to build legends… 45-minutes at a time.

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    Established in 1984, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) is the exclusive U.S. importer of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster, 718 Cayman, Macan, Cayenne, Panamera and Taycan. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, since 1998, PCNA is also home to the first Porsche Experience Center in North America featuring a module-based 1.6 mile driver development track, business center, and fine dining restaurant, 356.

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    • Motorsports
    • Season 2020
    • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
    • Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
    • USA \ Sebring
    • Racingcars
    • 911 GT3 Cup - Type 991 II
    • 911 GT3 R
    • 911 RSR (2019)

Porsche Motorsport Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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