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Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This Week:
  • Long Beach Momentum. Porsche Factory Enters Two 911 RSR for Long Beach.
  • Southern Cali Seven. Porsche Customers Enter PWC at Long Beach.
  • Porsche Safety. Porsche Provides Safety and Support Cars to WEC until 2020.
  • Now Official. Porsche Enters Formula E.

Porsche Profile.
Event Story Lines

Long Beach Momentum. Porsche Factory Enters Two 911 RSR for Long Beach.
Following the season-opening rounds at the long distance classics of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Florida, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now heads to California. The 100-minute April 14 event in Long Beach is the shortest race of the IMSA season. With only the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class scheduled to participate, the Porsche GT Team factory effort will field the only two 911s on the entry list for Round Three of the Championship. The two Porsche 911 RSR racers will contest the race against three other brands in the all factory-team class on the temporary 1.968-mile circuit laid out on the streets of the Southern California city.

After winning the Sebring 12-hour race, Porsche has moved into second-place in the manufacturers’, drivers’ and team classifications of the GTLM class. Porsche also ranks second in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, a championship within a championship, which highlights performance in the long-distance classics at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

During construction of the street circuit around the port area of Long Beach, more than three-miles of fencing was erected and 1,400 concrete blocks were laid. The race with the postcard backdrop of sun, sea and palms is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix. In fact, the street course hosted the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix West from 1976 to 1983.

In the cockpit of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) contest the GTLM class. These two won the Long Beach race in 2016 and recently clinched the first win of this season in Sebring with the 911 RSR. Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) share driving duties in the second 911 RSR (No. 912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team. The GTD class, in which Porsche customer teams campaign the 911 GT3 R, will not be contested at Long Beach.

The race takes the green flag on Saturday, April 14, at 1:05 p.m. local time (PDT) and can be viewed live on the FOX network.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“After our phenomenal win at the Sebring 12-hour classic, we’re now going to tackle the shortest race of the season at Long Beach. The contrast couldn’t be greater. California is the most important Porsche market in the United States. That makes this race a very special challenge for us. Many of our customers and fans travel from far and wide to watch the 911 RSR on a fascinating city circuit. For us, this intense interest is an obligation to do everything we can to fight for victory and give the spectators an impression of this Porsche’s potential. Aside from that, Long Beach, which is regarded as the Monte Carlo of America for good reason, is an absolute highlight of the season.”

Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsports.
“The entire squad comes under intense pressure at Long Beach. The short race is a real thriller. Drivers can’t afford to make the slightest mistake on this narrow city circuit; otherwise they end up hitting the wall. And every second we lose in the pits hurts twice as much. Refueling, new Michelin tires, driver changes – nothing must go wrong at the sole pit stop, otherwise you’ve lost the race. Finding the perfect setup for our 911 RSR in the short practice session is another huge challenge.”

Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“The Long Beach city circuit is one of my favorite racetracks in the States. We won two years ago there, and we now want to do it again. After our Sebring victory, the whole team is hugely motivated. Fans know very well why they come to Long Beach. To constantly push the limits on this demanding course with total commitment is a huge challenge for the drivers and guarantees some action-packed racing.”

Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Long Beach is a very special place to go racing. It’s a fantastic city circuit and great fun. The comparison to Monaco really fits. The racetrack is tricky and the more rubber that’s left on the track, the faster we get from one practice to the next. Finding the perfect setup for our 911 RSR during the short practice session puts the entire team under pressure right from the start.”

Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I really like street circuits. They pose a special challenge because you have to stay totally focused the whole time and you can’t afford to make one mistake. The fact that we’re driving here on the same weekend as the IndyCar Series makes the race one of the season highlights for us and the fans.”

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Long Beach is unique. The city circuit is one of the most beautiful in the world, but it’s also one of the most difficult. There are virtually no run-off areas. Every mistake has immediate consequences. If you take a corner too fast you’ll hit the wall. I love street circuits. They’re something very special and a wonderful change for us drivers. And aside from that, California with its sun and beaches is simply fun.”

Southern Cali Seven. Porsche Customers Enter PWC at Long Beach.
California is Porsche’s largest market in North America. In fact, it is one of the top-five leading sales markets for the German marque in the world. Add that to the fact that Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) is headquartered in nearby Carson, it seems appropriate the 50-minute Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Grand Prix of Long Beach will play host to one of the largest contingent of Porsche race cars yet on the 2018 PWC Sprint Championship gird. Seven customer team entries make-up the 19-car GT and GTS field on the city street course in Long Beach, California for the April 15 race.

Leading the Porsche customer cars is the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Scott Hargrove (Canada). Hargrove currently leads the PWC GT Sprint and Overall driver point standings by virtue of winning the first two Sprint races of the year at St. Petersburg, Florida and taking a third and fourth-place finish, co-driving with Wolf Henzler (Germany), in the two SprintX races at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The single 50-minute feature scheduled to take the green flag at 9:45 a.m. PDT/12:45 p.m. EDT on Sunday will see the two-time Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama champ solo in the GT class car prepared by one of Canada’s premier Porsche dealers, Pfaff of Vaughn, Ontario.

Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) will be behind the wheel of the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports 911 GT3 R. The driver and team are new to PWC in 2018 but not to the city street circuit in Long Beach. Having won the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the team raced in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship event with their GT3 R here last season.

The No. 41 GMG-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) makes its second start of 2018 after debuting at COTA. The 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion made his first career “Pro” start at Long Beach last year.

Black Swan Racing brings three cars to the “Granddaddy of North American Street Circuits” – two in the GTA (GT Amateur) class and a single entry in the GTSA category. It is the most cars ever entered by the Tim Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts)-owned program in any event. David Calvert-Jones (Australia) will run the No. 12 Porsche 911 GT3 R while Pappas will pilot his traditional No. 54 911 in GTA. Black Swan are focused on the SprintX championship as well as the Intercontinental GT Challenge series this year but opted to make the most out of the high-profile Long Beach sprint format race. In addition to the GT class Porsche entries, Black Swan also recently announced the No. 7 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR for the GTS Invitational race at Long Beach. Raced at the same time as the GT feature, the GT4-spec class will see Motocross legend and Indianapolis 500 runner-up Jeff Ward (San Juan Capistrano, California) make his PWC debut in the mid-engine Porsche.

Veteran race team and longtime Porsche entrant TRG brings its own Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR for Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia). Pumpelly has a long and successful history with the team. The veteran racer, who co-drives with Christensen in the Alegra cars for the SprintX rounds, opened his 2018 race season with a Cayman victory in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Daytona earlier this year.

Practice gets underway on Friday morning for PWC with qualifying on Saturday morning and the race on Sunday, April 15.

Porsche Safety. Porsche Provides Safety and Support Cars to WEC until 2020.
Starting with the World Endurance Championship’s Prologue testing event last weekend until 2020, the Porsche 911 Turbo will be the safety car for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The all-wheel-drive 911 produces 540 hp (397 kW) and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Technologically, the safety car corresponds largely to the production vehicle. Only a few race-specific modifications were added, such as the light bar on the roof and a radio for contacting the race director, with the brakes and suspension optimized for the racetrack. The matte-black design with glossy red stripes is modeled on the Porsche emblem design of the factory race cars.

Porsche not only supplies the safety car for the FIA WEC, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, until 2020, but also provides eleven intervention vehicles. Two Porsche 911 Turbo will travel as safety cars to all WEC rounds worldwide. Three 911 Turbo head to Le Mans as permanent vehicles. Furthermore, various Porsche models are provided for motor racing medics and track safety personnel.

The 911 Turbo generation’s close affiliation to motor racing is highlighted by the way the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is operated. In manual mode, the shift lever is actuated like in a race car. Paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel are another standard feature. For its racetrack job as support to the World Endurance Championship, the vehicle is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on standard 20-inch wheels. Full-shell racing seats with six-point harnesses for the driver and front passenger, a monitor to display track signals, a radio to contact the race director, a signal light system on the roof as well as flashing LED lights at the front and rear have been added to the intervention car for its racetrack duties.

Alexander Stehlig, GT Motorsport Program Manager, Porsche AG.
“We’re delighted to have the chance to supply the safety cars and intervention vehicles for the World Endurance Championship until 2020. As a sports car manufacturer, it was rather easy for us to find a suitable car. Basically, many of our production models fit the bill for this special task on the race circuit. Ultimately, however, we chose the Porsche 911 as the safety car. In total, 16 vehicles from different model lines will fulfill different functions in the WEC.”

Now Official. Porsche Enters Formula E.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) accepted Porsche’s application as a Formula E manufacturer effective today, April 10, 2018. With this announcement, the Weissach, Germany-based factory race team can continue to pursue the development of its own electric powertrain, which is due for homologation in 2019. As announced at the end of July 2017, Porsche plans to be among those competing in the sixth season of the global electric racing series when it begins towards the end of 2019.

As with the successful 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype project, Andreas Seidl will be responsible for the technical development and the execution of the Formula E program.

Formula E will provide the chassis as well as the battery. All powertrain components, however, are the competitors’ own developments. This enables Porsche to find bespoke solutions for key technologies such as the electric motor, inverter, brake-by-wire system, transmission, differential, driveshafts, monocoque and the suspension components attached to the rear-axle, as well as the cooling system and ECU. The energy efficiency of the powertrain not only plays a decisive role in a competition attracting many of the world’s most renowned car manufacturers, but it is also central to the development of road-going electric vehicles.

Porsche’s entry into Formula E in 2019 will coincide with the market launch of the production version of the concept study Mission E. This vehicle, the first all-electric Porsche, will be the most sports-focused and technologically advanced car in its class. Porsche will invest more than six billion Euros in electric mobility before the end of 2022.

Fritz Enzinger, Motorsport Vice President, Porsche Formula E Program.
“Over the past few years, the FIA and Alejandro Agag have done a fantastic job. It is due to this development that we will be able to compete on the race track against many of the world’s largest car manufacturers.”

Andreas Seidl, Porsche Formula E Program.
“The possibilities and performance of electric cars have been a central topic at Porsche for quite a while,” Seidl points out. “The deeper our engineers get into the topic, the more fascinating the solutions become. We can’t wait to receive our first vehicle in early 2019 and to test our own powertrain in it. The Gen2 racer, which was unveiled by Formula E in Geneva in early March, is very well executed.”

English (Porsche Cars North America)




    • Motorsports
    • Season 2018
    • Formula E
    • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
    • Pirelli World Challenge

Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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