Tudor United SportsCar Championship, round 2: 12 Hours of Sebring, USA
Porsche aims to repeat last year’s victory at Florida’s sports car classic
Stuttgart. The Sebring 12 Hours is the oldest and toughest sports car race in the USA. Three Porsche 911 RSR will tackle the GTLM class at the 63rd running of the prestigious classic contested on the Sebring International Raceway on 21 March.
For the Porsche North America works team and the Falken Tire customer squad, eight works drivers will do their utmost to repeat Porsche’s win from last year on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, which is notorious for its bumpy surface. With 18 overall victories and 67 class wins, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Sebring 12 hour race.
Last year’s winners Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) as well as Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) share driving duties in the number 912 vehicle.
Tackling the race for the Falken Tire customer outfit are the Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), reinforced by Bryan Sellers (USA). Porsche Junior Connor de Phillippi (USA) contests the GTD class at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Muehlner Motorsports.
The Porsche vehicles
The Porsche 911 GT America, built specifically for the GTD class of the 2014-inaugurated Tudor United SportsCar Championship, features a four-litre, six-cylinder engine and also produces 470 hp. The vehicle is an improved version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the most successful and widely-produced race car in the world.
Comments before the race
Patrick Pilet (#911): “Sebring is a very special race on a very special circuit. It’s always a hard fight for victory and the avid fans give the whole event a fantastic ambience.”
Nick Tandy (#911): “It’s always a highlight to compete in Sebring, regardless in which series you compete for the rest of the year. On this storied track you truly breathe sports car history and that fascinates me.”
Richard Lietz (#911): “Sebring is a race that throws extremes at you. You can’t afford to make the slightest error – if you do you have no chance.”
Earl Bamber (#912): “It didn’t go so well for us at Daytona, so now I’m hoping we can make up lost ground in the championship at Sebring.”
Jörg Bergmeister (#912): “Sebring is a real classic. To drive at the limit on this bumpy track takes everything from a driver. But it’s always huge fun.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (#912): “At Daytona we weren’t able to really underline the potential of the 911 RSR over the whole distance. Now I’m hoping we can do this in Sebring and fight for victory.”
Wolf Henzler (#17): “Last year Sebring was the first race with the 911 RSR for my Falken Tire team. Since then we’ve won Petit Le Mans and now I reckon our chances for victory in Sebring look good as well.”
Patrick Long (#17): “Even though I’m concentrating on my WEC campaign with Patrick Dempsey, I’m looking forward to the chance of supporting Wolf and Bryan in Sebring.”
This is the Tudor United SportsCar Championship
The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), P (Prototype) and PC (Prototype Challenge). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT America contesting the GTD class.
Tag Archives: Patrick Pilet
Porsche aims to repeat last year’s victory at Florida’s sports car classic, 12 Hours of Sebring, USA
Porsche keen to repeat last year’s GT victory, Sports Car World Championship WEC, rd 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France
Stuttgart. It was a debut made to order: At its first ever outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, the Porsche 911 RSR brought home a double victory. At the 82nd edition of the world’s most famous long distance race, contested on the Circuit des 24 Heures on 14/15 June, Porsche Team Manthey will again field a pair of 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class. Taking up the challenge alongside the factory squad, Porsche customer teams from Europe and America again contest the GTE-Am class, which Porsche also won last year. The classic event in provincial France, where Porsche is chronicled as the most successful manufacturer with 16 overall victories, is regarded as the highlight of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC).
First contested in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the toughest automobile race in the world and represents the greatest challenge motorsport has to offer. What makes this classic so unique is also the 13.65 kilometre “Circuit des 24 Heures”, one of the oldest and fastest race tracks in the world with 38 corners and the legendary five-kilometre long Mulsanne straight. Almost 75 percent of a lap is driven at full throttle.
Double points are awarded for round three of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC at Le Mans. Tackling the GTE-Pro class in the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). Sharing the #92 cockpit are their works driver colleagues Marco Holzer (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and last year’s winner Richard Lietz (Austria). Customer teams take on the GTE-Am class with a pair of 911 RSR: For the Dempsey Racing-Proton outfit, Patrick Dempsey (USA) and Joe Foster (USA) join forces with Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA). Christian Ried (Germany), Porsche junior Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) compete for Proton Competition. The customer squads IMSA Performance Matmut and Prospeed Competition each bring two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in last year’s spec to the start. IMSA Performance Matmut has contracted an all-French driver line-up with Erik Maris, Jean Marc Merlin and Eric Hélary as well as Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo and David Hallyday. Taking on the challenge for Prospeed Competition are Cooper MacNeil (USA), Bret Curtis (USA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) as well as Frenchmen Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard.
The Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche 911 RSR which Porsche has campaigned in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship since 2013 is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. At its race debut last year the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach scored a brilliant double victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For 2014, the 911 RSR received improvements in many areas. In addition to winning the WEC season opener at Silverstone, this racer has also clinched victories at the long distance classics at Daytona and Sebring. Through the balance of performance ruling, the 911 RSR for Le Mans must now weigh 25 kilograms more than last year’s contender, with the restrictors reduced from 29.6 to 29.3 millimetres.
Free practice on the Circuit des 24 Heures is held on Wednesday, 11 June, from 16.00 to 20.00 hrs, followed by the first qualifying session from 22.00 hrs to midnight. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Thursday, 12 June, from 19.00 to 21.00 hrs and from 22.00 hrs to midnight. The start flag for the 24 hour pursuit drops on Saturday, 14 June, at 15.00 hours. The 56-strong field is sent on its way by ex-Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.
Eurosport International and Eurosport 2 alternately broadcast the complete race live. The last two hours of free practice as well as the three qualifying sessions and the warm-up are also televised live. Also aired during the week are various programmes highlighting the world’s most famous long distance race with news, interviews, portraits and background reports. Detailed TV information is available on http://www.eurosport.com.
Quotes before the race
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:
“Le Mans is the highlight of the year. For our teams and drivers this race represents an exceptional challenge – and we’re feeling highly motivated and very well prepared. After our double victory at the season-opener in Silverstone, our car now has to carry 25 extra kilograms of ballast and the diameter of the two restrictors is now 0.3 millimetres smaller than last year’s. When considering the additional changes made, as against 2013, at one or the other competitor one has to question to what extent is the Balance of Performance actually balanced. We feel it is a matter of utmost urgency in the spirit of the sport to find a regulation for the classification of vehicles where you don’t have to fear being punished for a good performance, like what happened to us after Silverstone. Nevertheless, we’ll work extremely hard to do a good job at Le Mans – just like last year.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91):
“I’ve raced at Le Mans since 2002 and it’s a fantastic feeling to be back again this year. It’s the season highlight for me. This race has a very special atmosphere and it’s always incredibly demanding. More than anything I enjoy the extremely fast corners, they’re the most fun. Last year we came second behind our teammates and I wouldn’t mind at all if we switch positions this year.”
Patrick Pilet (#91):
“Le Mans is a very special race, especially for me as a Frenchman. It’s always an incredible feeling to go racing on such an extreme circuit in front of so many fans. Aside from the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans is the greatest race on Earth. We are well prepared and our 911 RSR is a strong contender, especially on the long straights. It would be fantastic if we could turn this into a win. We were so close last year.”
Nick Tandy (#91):
“Ever since I began racing for Porsche at Le Mans in 2010 it has been my goal to secure a podium spot here. You only get this chance once a year and I’ll do everything within my power to make it happen. For a race driver, Le Mans is a magical place. Even when you arrive in the paddock you get a sense of the great history. And the Circuit des 24 Heures is something very special with its unique combination of race track and normal country roads. It’s an honour for me to drive again for Porsche at Le Mans this year.”
Marco Holzer (#92):
“At my first race in Le Mans in 2010 we managed to achieve a podium finish with third place. When I think back to the cheering crowds at the award ceremony it still sends shivers down my spine. I’d very much like to experience this feeling again and our chances don’t look too bad. We have a great car and a strong team behind us. But in Le Mans you can’t afford to make one mistake. You have to be totally focussed otherwise you can forget it.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (#92):
“As a Frenchman you simply have to race at Le Mans. And you want to win. Your family is watching at the track, your friends are there supporting you. This makes it hugely motivating to achieve everything you’ve set out to do. As a child I dreamed of Porsche. I launched my racing career with Porsche. If I could now win Le Mans with Porsche, well that would just be the best thing in the world. But first we have to face 24 gruelling hours where pretty much anything can happen.”
Richard Lietz (#92):
“I have many wonderful memories of Le Mans, especially my wins in 2007, 2010 and 2013. It’s the greatest race in the world. I love it. If I couldn’t be here as a driver, I’d buy a ticket and watch the race as a spectator. Earlier, only victory in Le Mans counted. Since 2013, it has become part of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship which means that if you can’t win then you have to make sure you bring home as many points as possible. The connection between Porsche and Le Mans is pure racing fascination. Getting the chance to compete at Le Mans for Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in the history of this race, is motivation enough. You automatically do your absolute best to win.”
Patrick Long (#77):
“Le Mans is always a huge challenge. Everyone wants to win, regardless of the category they’re contesting. I’m really looking forward to racing with Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster and helping the whole team to fulfil their dreams at Le Mans. Last year we narrowly missed out on a podium spot. This time we’re determined to make it.”
Communication Porsche AG
Porsche teams conduct successful Le Mans test, Sports Car WEC, test day Le Mans 24 Hours, France, GT
Stuttgart. At the traditional test day on the Circuit des 24 Heures on Sunday, teams and drivers entered the last and decisive preparation phase leading up to the Le Mans 24 Hours. The legendary long distance classic will be run on 14/15 June as round three of the Sports Car World Championship (WEC). Porsche Team Manthey’s two Porsche 911 RSR, which scored a double class win at their first Le Mans outing last year in the GTE Pro class, concluded a testing programme without any technical problems in dry and partly sunny conditions.
The three Porsche customer outfits Dempsey Racing-Proton, IMSA Performance Matmut, and Prospeed Competition, also used the test day to set up their cars for the challenging 13.629 kilometre circuit. They are contesting the GTE Am class. The Le Mans 24 Hours runs for the 82nd time this year and is regarded as the highlight of the season.
Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France), and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) took the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR through its paces. Their works driver colleagues Marco Holzer (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France), and Richard Lietz (Austria), who celebrated his third Le Mans victory last year, shared driving duties in the second 911 with starting number 92 run by the Porsche Team Manthey squad. The team entrust the two factory-911 to the same driver line-ups for the race.
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:
“Basically our drivers are happy with the handling of the 911 RSR. Now we’ll focus on preparing for the race. Unfortunately Joerg Bergmeister had to make a brief excursion into the gravel trap and slightly damaged the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR when he avoided another car. It didn’t make sense to do the repairs here. We’ll take a good look at it when we get home, after all, we want to drive this car in a fortnight at the 24 hour race. I don’t think all the manufacturers laid their cards on the table today, so as to avoid risking being penalised. It would have been better to find a regulation where you don’t have to be afraid of being punished for a good performance, like what happened after our double victory at the season-opener at Silverstone. The current situation doesn’t do a season highlight like the 24 Hours of Le Mans justice.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91):
“Basically a test day is to gain as much information as possible. Unfortunately I missed the braking point in the Ford curve and actually wanted to drive straight ahead through the gravel trap to avoid hitting the kerbs at the edge. But the car took off, flew far and landed hard. For this reason, the afternoon session fell flat.”
Patrick Pilet (#91):
“It’s always wonderful to be back in Le Mans. It’s my all-time favourite track. And today I immediately felt great here. Our car has a great set-up and I’m certain that we’ll tackle the race well prepared.”
Nick Tandy (#91):
“This test in particular is always a good chance to see how the car handles on this rather unique track. Towards the end of the morning session we began to change certain things on the set-up. It’s important on such a day to make the best use of the little time you have. I’m sure we’ve done this today.”
Marco Holzer (#92):
“I didn’t contest Le Mans last year so it felt great to turn some laps on this fantastic circuit again. This morning we had a lot of dirt on the track which gave very little grip, but over the course of the day the conditions improved. Today it was all about exploring how our tyres behave on this very special circuit and how the grip level changes. We managed to do what we had planned and we can now head to the race feeling quite confident.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (#92):
“We tried out several things on the car, but the many safety car phases, which were intended as a practice for the race, made this somewhat difficult. Still, this test day was a good preparation for the race. We learned a lot and I hope that we can use what we’ve learned in two weeks.”
Richard Lietz (#92):
“The test day ran well and we made the best use out of it. First and foremost it was about seeing how the tyres and the car worked together on a circuit that at times runs on a normal country road. I feel we’ve made progress and I’m looking forward to the race.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is contested on 14/15 June as round three of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC on the Circuit 24 Heures in Le Mans/France. Double points towards the championship are awarded for drivers, teams and manufacturers.
Source: Communication Porsche AG, Motorsport Press
Patrick Long, Richard Lietz, Nick Tandy , Michael Christensen Named as Season-Long TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Drivers; Patrick Pilet, Joerg Bergmeister to Join CORE autosport-prepared 911 Racers for 2014 Rolex 24
Stuttgart/Atlanta. Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) have announced the factory drivers who will compete for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the PORSCHE NORTH AMERICA CORE autosport-prepared Porsche 911 RSR GT-Le Mans class entries.
Car no. 911 will be driven by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Richard Lietz (Austria), while car no. 912 will compete with Patrick Long (USA) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) at the helm, with two additional Porsche factory drivers – Patrick Pilet (France) and Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) – joining the teams for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona.