Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
January 31, 2017
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.
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Porsche Motorsports Weekly Event Notes: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Event Story Lines
Podium Debut. Porsche 911 RSR Earns Second-Place in Worldwide Premiere.
After more than 20,000 miles of testing and preparation, the new Porsche 911 RSR finished the 55th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with a solid second-place finish. The new racecar design of the iconic machine entered the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening round with two race-ready machines and fought to the checkered flag in a tight GT Le Mans (GTLM) class battle which saw the No. 911 Porsche GT Team entry of Patrick Pilet (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) crossing the finish line a narrow 2.98-seconds behind the race-winning No. 66 Ford GT.
After 24 hours of sunshine, clouds, dropping temperatures and soaking rain, the No. 911 was a scant .091 seconds ahead of the No. 62 Ferrari F488 GTE that finished in third, itself just ahead of a Corvette in the all factory-entry class. The No. 912 of Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Richard Lietz (Austria) finished in sixth-place, seven seconds behind the GTLM class winning Ford on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway (DIS) road course. In terms of 24-hour endurance races, the separation between first and seventh was a rounding error.
Both the factory-entered Porsches ran nearly faultless races and came close to repeating the 2014 class victory here at Daytona when the previous-generation 911 RSR made its North American debut at the twice-around-the-clock classic.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.
“That was an incredible race and a great debut for our new 911 RSR. We were only two seconds off victory after 24 hours, but that doesn’t matter in this case. It was an extremely tough race, a fantastic fight for victory. Despite the bad weather conditions, the fans were treated to everything that makes racing so exciting. Both 911 RSR made it to the finish well and without any real problems.”
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports.
“I’m incredibly proud of my boys. The entire team spent 18 months giving their utmost so that we could tackle this race with a competitive car. Whether in Weissach, with our tire partner Michelin, or with our squad, every single person did everything they could. Today we reaped the rewards for this. It was an extremely gripping race to the finish. In the beginning we had some slight problems with the tires because we first had to find out where our limit was with the setup for the decisive final phase. But we never gave up and we fought back. The fighting spirit shown in the team made this possible. I’m incredibly proud of our works driver squad. They are our greatest asset. These guys don’t make any mistakes and always deliver top performances.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a typical Daytona race. I knew that not a lot would happen in the first 20 hours and the decision always goes down to the wire. That’s why I didn’t take too many risks, and didn’t fight for every position come what may. I possibly made some team member nervous by taking this approach, but I knew exactly how things work here. Then during the last two hours I pulled out all stops and squeezed every last ounce out of the 911 RSR. Now I’m pleased. It was the maiden outing for our new car and the one little drawback was that we didn’t win. Still, it was an important step. Now I’m looking forward to Sebring.”
Dirk Werner, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a very emotional race for me; my first as a Porsche works driver. It certainly wasn’t for the fainthearted, particularly in the final phase. Patrick really gave everything he had and a couple of times I thought he might even win. But only a fraction was missing at the flag. Still, it was virtually a perfect race. The team worked really well together and the potential of the new 911 RSR makes us very optimistic. I take my hat off to the people who developed this car.”
Frédéric Makowiecki , Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Congratulations to the entire team. What a great start to the season. The time that was invested in developing the new 911 RSR has paid off. The concept is good and it works. Of course not everything ran smoothly today, but we never gave up and we always fought back. One thing is certain – we’re back in the game.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a really cool race. Seven cars within ten seconds after 24 hours – you don’t get that very often. We were there when it counted, but not quite enough to have a say in the fight for victory. The whole team did their utmost. Daytona was just the beginning.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Daytona was my first race for Porsche, my first with the 911 RSR and the first in the USA. Everything actually went well, even though there’s room for improvement as far as the result goes. But I didn’t make any mistakes and that’s important. I wasn’t totally happy with my performance, I can do better, but I still have a bit of time. The car has potential and that makes me optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Richard Lietz, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“That was a great debut for the new 911 RSR. The car ran almost perfectly, the entire squad again worked together like clockwork. This gives Porsche a great foundation for the rest of the season. Now I’m curious to see how we perform at Sebring.”
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Champs Take Rolex GTD Win. Alegra Program Repeats On Tenth-Anniversary of First 24-Hour Win.
Alegra Motorsports, run by Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, Florida), was a class winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona 10 years ago. The veteran Porsche-owner decided to return his team, a consummate championship contender in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama series in both the USA and Canada, back to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to celebrate that anniversary in style. The five-driver lineup in the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R held to their “clean race” approach and, after 24-hours of racing, took the checkered flag in a shocking upset of the established teams and drivers of the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
Surprising the crowd is nothing new to Carlos de Quesada. His win in 2007 in the Rolex 24 surprised the frontrunners at that time as well. The Floridian of Cuban decent raised eyebrows when, at the 2016 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA banquet in Atlanta, he announced he would take his newly acquired Porsche 911 GT3 R and enter it into the 55th Running of the Rolex 24 with Daniel Morad (Canada) who was just collecting his Platinum class trophy for winning the one-make series. de Quesada then sent a wave of gasps across the room again when he asked 2016 Ultra94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum class champ Jesse Lazare (Canada) to join them. Even Lazare was not aware of the offer before the victory speech. The 2007 Rolex 24 GT class winner then added himself to the lineup, so that he could race with 2016 GT3 Cup Challenge Gold class titlist, and his own 17-year-old son, Michael (Tampa, Florida). The final piece of the driving puzzle came when Porsche “works” driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) was brought in to anchor the driver lineup. Christensen himself is a former Porsche one-make and Porsche Junior driver making the Alegra entry a perfect example of the Porsche approach to developing young driver talent.
Morad and Lazare are graduates of the Porsche Young Driver Academy 2015 class. The Young Driver Academy, held every year at Barber Motorsports Park is a combined effort of Porsche Cars North America and Porsche Motorsport North America to find and highlight driving talent between the ages of 18-26 on this continent.
In the low-key style of the team, they followed a very traditional approach to a 24-hour race by consistent, trouble-free driving for the first 22-hours. Christensen was then asked to pull a double-stint (two consecutive fuel loads) to close the race. Through keen driving and pit strategy calls by Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia), himself a regular behind the wheel of Porsche racecars, Christensen entered the top-five, then the top-three, then overtook for the lead in the final scenes of the race. The victory marked the 911 GT3 R’s second GTD class career victory in the WeatherTech Championship and its first in an endurance race.
The No. 991 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 R fought through the night to finish tenth, the second-highest finishing 911 GT3 R in the category. The four-time winner of the Rolex 24 marked its return to the Porsche family with factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) anchoring a five-man driving team.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.
“Alegra Motorsports’ victory with the 911 GT3 R in the GTD class was the icing on the cake. We’re particularly thrilled by the fact that the youngest and most inexperienced crew has won, with excellent support from our factory driver Michael Christensen. This Daytona result is a fine achievement.”
Jens Walther, president/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“It is almost like a fairytale. You have a group of young drivers, all coming up from the one-make championships, being put together with a team that has a lot of experience. Combining Carlos’ experience as a winner at Daytona, a very professional team and bringing in a factory driver, Michael Christensen, who recently just graduated from our Junior Program, it is a major undertaking. For them to come together here with a brand new car, their first race together and win this race; that is a fairytale. It underwrites the idea that Porsche has to develop young drivers through the different categories. This is a dream come true for all of us.
(about the Porsche Young Driver Academy being well represented in the win)
“When we came up with the idea of a Young Driver Academy we hoped it would display the talent in North America and to help develop that talent. To see them graduate from the Porsche Young Driver Academy, come here and win one of the hardest races in the world under very difficult circumstances really shows the talent here in North America.” ”
Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a really tough race. Everyone was very focused and stayed to the plan all the way. My last stint was very intense, very hard. The guys saved me a bit early in the race so that I could be ready in the end. I am just happy that everyone took such good care of the car. My co-drivers and the team gave me a great Porsche for the drive to the finish. I knew the challenge we had all set for this race but I believed in the guys in the car to achieve it and they did. With the weather conditions and the traffic, I am really impressed with the performance they gave.”
Carlos de Quesada, Driver/Owner, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This is just unbelievable. How everything unfolded it is a dream come true. In a 24-hour race anything can happen and it happened again. It was the same back in 2007; you never give up hope. I am so proud to have gotten to do this with my son [Michael de Quesada], with Daniel Morad, with Jesse [Lazare] and Michael [Christensen]. This was just a phenomenal, phenomenal effort by the whole crew.”
Michael de Quesada, Driver, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This is too perfect. I knew this was possible. We had such good drivers in the car and it all just came together perfectly. It is incredible. I was very prepared for the driving because we tested a lot and I did a lot of mental preparation. But nothing prepared me for when the inSync Porsche came across the line.”
Jesse Lazare, Driver, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“What Carlos did for me at the banquet in Atlanta I will never forget. Even though I have worked with so many amazing race teams before, when I walked into Alegra Motorsports, I realized I was with family. Everyone works together better than you can ever hope for. I had a really good feeling coming into this race. I have high expectations but not this high. The fact that this came true makes me so happy. It feels so good to be a part of it.”
Daniel Morad, Driver, No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“If you would have told me two years ago that I would be here at the Rolex 24, not only racing it but winning it, I would have just said that is a great joke. This is a dream come true. Having all Porsche GT3 Cup drivers here together with a Porsche works driver, the father-son combination and on the ten-year anniversary of Alegra’s first win, it is just incredible. Spencer Pumpelly was an intricate part of this. We got him late but to have him come in and do strategy made such a difference. The first time Larry Hahn (crew chief) worked on this car was December. Now we have won the Rolex 24. That last pit stop, from strategy to the execution of the stop, was what won us that race. Then Michael Christiansen was able to control the pace from there and under huge pressure, he brought it home.”
Wolf Henzler, No. 991 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“A very tough race. All the rain in the night made it very difficult for everybody. We finished tenth, on one side I am happy that we finished the race but on the other side I am a little sad because you always come here to finish on the podium. This time it didn’t work out but the TRG team did a fantastic job. Many times we made a lap up by the calls from the team. Congratulations to Alegra Motorsports and my colleague Michael Christensen on their victory and to the 911 RSR in the GTLM class for their second-place in the car’s first race.”
Haywood Honored. Porsche Legend Hurley Haywood Named Honorary Starter for 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona overall champion, three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans and two-time Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner Hurley Haywood was named the honorary starter for the year’s 55th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Haywood took the green flag at Daytona International Speedway 40 different times, but this was the first time he was able to wave it. Haywood, who holds the all-time record for Daytona victories with six (five overall and one class title) were all earned while driving Porsches.
Final-Four. Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports Sweep Five of Top-Six CTSCC Spots.
Five Cayman GT4 Clubsports and five Clubsport MRs made-up half the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) GS class field and a quarter of the entire race grid entering the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on January 27. At the drop of the checkered flag, the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche would lead a line of Cayman GT4 Clubsports to capture five of the top-six spots including the car’s fifth career victory in the CTSCC GS class.
At four-hours in length, the longest CTSCC race ever held, the event brought new challenges to the series designed to be the final stepping stone to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Driver lineups were expanded as refueling, tire and driver change strategies all became more critical. What did not change, despite the new mix of GT4 and grandfathered “GS” entries from Porsche, Ford and Aston Martin was the competition between the manufacturers.
The race saw the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, shared by Dillon Machavern (Burlington, Vermont) and Dylan Murcott (Ancram, New York) as the highest qualifier for the German brand in fourth-place behind the pole position-sitting Ford Mustang. The battle raged for four-hours with a constant shuffle in the running order. Ultimately, with minutes ticking away, the five Porsches came to the forefront. It was the Bodymotion machine with Cameron Cassels (Canada) and Trent Hindman (Wayside, New Jersey) leading the way to a Cayman GT4 Clubsport sweep of the top-four. The Cassels-Hindman pairing was the first to earn the top-step on the podium for the Cayman at Sebring in 2016.
Much as we saw in 2016, CJ Wilson Racing’s two GT4 Clubsports followed closely and nearly took the win with the No. 33 of Marc Miller (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and Till Bechtolsheimer (New York, New York) close behind in second-place. Russell Ward (Seabrook, Texas) and Damien Faulkner (Ireland) driving the CJ Wilson No. 35 was in third. The RS1 machine, the highest finishing of the five new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR entries, was in fourth-place as time came to an end at four-hours. A Mustang broke the Top-Five hold for Porsche with the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Cayman GT4 Clubsport bringing Cameron Lawrence (Orlando, Florida) and Kyle Marcelli (Canada) home in sixth-place.
The next round will be a second four-hour race at Sebring International Raceway on March 17.
Jens Walther, president/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, with their move into the GT4 category, shows that an international platform can be applied here with great success. We have a full entry, a full grid and there are highly prestigious brands competing with each other and there was a lot of overtaking. There are so many young drivers competing, supporting the idea of bringing up young talent to the professional level. For us, with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport it is a good addition to our line of racecars. To have such strong success with five out of six positions shows how well our teams can prepare the car and the quality of drivers they have hired. It will be a tough season with our competition. We expect some tracks to benefit them more than it will us but that pushes us to fight even harder.”
Thank You George. Legendary Porsche Engine Man Retires.
George Breuer, Manager Motorsports GT Race Engines for Porsche Motorsport, has been responsible for every Porsche GT race engine type since 1998 including the 4.0-liter, flat-six, direct injection engine that debuted at the 55th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. With the drop of the checkered flag, the 31-year Porsche Motorsport veteran closed the final chapter on his motorsport career with the German marque. Breuer, recognized for his quick smile in the paddock, used his career to usher in some of the great GT car road and race engines of recent Porsche memory. The current engine program, which saw the all-new powerplant move ahead of the rear axle, follows Breuer’s previous project, known as the Mezger engine to Porschephiles, which lasted a remarkable 18 years of competition.
A special decal was created by Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) to commemorate Breuer’s final event. The sticker, which carried a stylized American flag with the words: “Thank You George”, was proudly displayed on every Porsche racecar, 911 RSR and 911 GT3 R, in the Rolex 24 field. The flag was used as Breuer has a special affection for the United States and has spent the bulk of his professional career in the USA.
During his career, Breuer has won the Rolex 24 overall with the Daytona Prototype engine (2009 and 2010). The resume includes five 24 Hours of Nürburgring victories and Petit Le Mans (’15).
George Breuer, Manager Motorsports GT Race Engines for Porsche Motorsport.
“This is a perfect time for me to stop, to say goodbye. I got my project done. It would have been nice to see it start life with a victory in one of my favorite events, but we will take second. My previous project lasted 18 years but technology is changing so quickly I do not expect this one to have the same lifespan. I am proud of the projects that I have been a part of in 31 years. However, it is the people that I will remember. I have so many friendships from my time in the sport. I cannot explain what being a part of Porsche Motorsport has meant. You have to have a passion in your heart and that is what I have seen in my time here.”
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Future Porsche Events.
|Pirelli World Challenge|
|Event:||Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Street Circuit|
|Dateline:||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Date:||Saturday-Sunday, March 11th-12th|
|Track Length:||1.8-miles, 14-turn|
|Race Duration:||Two, 1-Hour Races|
|Class:||GT/GTA (Porsche 911 GT3 R)|
|GT Cup (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup)|
|GTS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)|
|Round:||GT/GTA. 1 and 2 of 10|
|GT Cup. 1 and 2 of 8|
|GTS. 1 and 2 of 12|
|Next Round:||Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, California, April 9, 2017|
|IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama|
|Event:||65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway|
|Date:||Race 1. Thursday, March 16|
|Race 2. Friday, March 17|
|Track Length:||3.74-miles, 15-turn|
|Race Duration:||Two, 45-minute races|
|Class:||Platinum (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2017)|
|Gold (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, MY 2014-2016))|
|Round:||1 and 2 of 14|
|Next Round:||Grand Prix of Birmingham, Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama, April 22-23, 2017|
|IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship|
|Event:||65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway|
|Date:||Saturday, March 18|
|Track Length:||3.74-miles, 15-turn|
|Class:||GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR)|
|GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)|
|Round:||GTLM. 2 of 11|
|GTD. 2 of 12|
|Next Round:||Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, California, April 8, 2017|
|FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)|
|Event:||The Prologue, Autodromo Nazionale Monza|
|Date:||Friday – Saturday, March 24-25|
|Track Length:||3.6-miles, 11-turn|
|Class:||LMP-1 Hybrid (Porsche 919 Hybrid)|
|LMGTE-Pro (Porsche 911 RSR, MY 2017)|
|LMGTE-Am (Porsche 911 RSR, MY 2016)|
|Round:||Official Pre-Season Test Days|
|Next Round:||Six Hours of Silverstone, Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, England, April 17, 2017|
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Established in 1984, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche 918 Spyder, 911, Boxster and Cayman sports cars, the Macan and Cayenne SUVs, and Panamera sports sedans. 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, human performance center, and fine dining restaurant. PCNA employs approximately 300 people who provide parts, service, marketing, and training for 188 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand’s 65-plus year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency. PCNA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
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