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PORSCHE: First Mother-Son Duo Enter Rolex 24 – Wright Motorsports and Snow Racing Combine Forces for Strong Entry at Daytona

First Mother-Son Duo Enter Rolex 24

;Grand-Am Rolex Series photos by Brian Cleary

Driver Line-up Includes Race’s First Mother-Son Duo

BATAVIA, Ohio, Jan. 12 — Wright Motorsports of Batavia, Ohio and Snow Racing of Pleasant Grove, Utah, have combined forces for a history-making entry in the 51st Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 24-27.

The entry marks the first time a mother and son will compete in this storied race, as Melanie Snow and her 17-year-old son Madison are two of five drivers of the Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing Porsche GT3 Cup No. 62 sponsored by Universal Industrial Sales (UIS) and Bilstein Shocks. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, UIS is among the largest suppliers of overhead sign structures and fabricated highway products in the country.

 

Melanie Snow

The other three drivers in the very strong line-up are Porsche veteran Sascha Maassen, 43, of Lontzen, Belgium; Porsche junior driver Klaus Bachler, 21, of Unzmarkt, Austria, who has been competing in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup; and top Porsche driver and instructor Marco Seefried of Wemding, Germany, 36. He’ll compete in two 24-hour races this month, as he is driving a Porsche 911 in the 24 Hours at Dubai Autodrome at press time.

Grand-Am Rolex Series photos by Brian Cleary

Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing’s white, red and black Porsche is currently one of 36 entries in the Grand Touring (GT) class for the Rolex 24.

Both Melanie and Madison Snow are making their first Rolex 24 starts, although they have extensive experience in other series. Along with her husband, Martin Snow, and another driver, Patrick Huisman, Melanie Snow was part of the winning GTS entry at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1999 in a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Madison and Melanie Snow Professional racing drivers  Photo source: autoblog.com

Madison and Melanie Snow Professional racing drivers
Photo source: autoblog.com

Madison Snow, of Lehi, Utah, started racing at the age of 4 in karts.

Madison Snow.JPG

He finished second overall last year in the top class of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama with three victories in a car prepped by Wright Motorsports. When he clinched that series’ Gold Cup championship in 2011 when he was 15 he became the youngest Porsche one-make Cup champion in history.

Although he won’t be the youngest driver ever to compete in the Rolex 24, at press time he’s the youngest driver entered in this year’s race, according to Grand-Am officials.

Maassen has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and both the Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans four times. He was the ALMS GT champion twice and he has also won the ALMS LMP2 championship and the FIA GT championship. He is also an instructor for Porsche, and one of his students is Bachler.

All five drivers participated in the official test for the event Jan. 4-6 at Daytona, where they logged 279 laps around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course that also incorporates most of the oval. They were in the top five in half of the eight test sessions, they were only out of the top 10 once, and they topped the charts in Practice 3.

“There were 12 hours of testing available, and we put 11 hours on the car,” said Wright Motorsports owner John Wright, who is participating in this race for the 19th time. He has been on the podium at this event many times in various roles, most recently in 2009 when he was the team owner/manager of the car that finished third in the GT division. Maassen was one of the drivers in that effort.

“The car was strong; we were fast at the test,” Wright said. “All the drivers showed good pace; there isn’t a weak link in our driver line-up, and the team is gelling nicely.

“In addition to UIS and Bilstein, we’d like to thank Porsche Motorsports North America for all their help, especially the guys who work in the engine and parts departments, and the phenomenal track support that they supply,” Wright added. “Running a 24-hour race is a big undertaking, but they make it a lot easier.”

Wright also stressed that it’s a pleasure to work with Martin Snow. “He brings so much experience to the program,” Wright said. “I don’t have to explain how endurance racing works to him. We get right down to business. I hope together we can make this Rolex 24 a winning performance.”

Wright Motorsports is coming off a sensational season in which its drivers finished first, second and third in the driver point standings and it won the team championship and Rookie of the Year award in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama. The team won 11 of the 15 races and had 27 podium finishes and 12 poles in that series last year with a driver line-up that included both rookies and veterans, just like it will have at the Rolex 24.

“We enjoy combining veterans with rookies,” Wright noted. “We pride ourselves on our driver development program. It fits our business model well, and it’s a way for us to help mold the sport’s future.”

The No. 62 will be on the track for the first practice session of the event at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Another practice session at 1:15 that day precedes qualifying at 4:10 p.m. and a night practice session at 6 p.m. There is a final practice session at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 before the 24-hour enduro begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

SPEED will provide live coverage of the Rolex 24 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Jan. 26 and continuing at 9 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Live timing and scoring will be offered on the series’ website at grand-am.com. Additional information on Wright Motorsports can be found on the team’s website at wrightmotorsports.com, its Facebook page and through Twitter. Snow Racing’s website is at snow-ahead.com.

 

Driver pre-race quotes, in alphabetical order, follow:

Klaus Bachler:

“I am really looking forward to the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. It is my first 24-hour race and my first race in the United States. Last week we had three good test days, and I think we will have a good car for the race. I feel good about the team and my teammates. Wright Motorsports is really professional. I can’t wait for the race!”

Porsche junior driver Klaus Bachler, 21, of Unzmarkt, Austria

Porsche junior driver Klaus Bachler, 21, of Unzmarkt, Austria

Sascha Maassen:

“I am looking forward to the start of the 2013 racing season. John Wright and I have already had some success at the Rolex 24, finishing on the podium. And I’m also looking forward to working with the Snow family. I raced with Martin a few years ago at Daytona and I coached Melanie and Madison in 2011 at some IMSA Cup events. Another thing I’m looking forward to is racing with Klaus Bachler, the Porsche junior driver, whom I am normally coaching in Europe. Together with Marco Seefried, we have a very strong line-up.”

Porsche veteran Sascha Maassen, 43, of Lontzen, Belgium

Porsche veteran Sascha Maassen, 43, of Lontzen, Belgium

Marco Seefried:

(Quote translated from his website, as he was racing in Dubai at press time): “The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the world’s most important endurance races. The first time I drove at Daytona was during the test. We reeled off a comprehensive program with our Porsche 911 GT3 at the test. Our driver line-up is very balanced, which in a long-distance race is a great advantage. During the night practice I was able to set the third-fastest lap in the GT class. It was a great result against very strong competition. I’m happy to be racing after the long winter break, and I’m looking forward to competing at Daytona very much.”

 

Top Porsche driver and instructor Marco Seefried of Wemding, Germany, 36

Top Porsche driver and instructor Marco Seefried of Wemding, Germany, 36

Madison Snow:

“The test went much better than I expected. I had assumed we would have a few fast people, but I didn’t think that everyone on our team would be this fast.

“The thing that surprises me is how well we all get along together. After the sessions when we went over the car and how it felt, I was surprised that we all felt the same thing. I’ve heard stories of teams when drivers all have different styles and so it is hard to set up the car for everyone, but we all get along and drive so similarly that it makes it much easier.

“I can’t wait for the race because I know we have such a good driver line-up and that we can win the race. I feel like we are the best team there because we get along so well with each other — drivers and crew. That is the difference from us to everyone else out there. This race will be really good for all of us. It’s the first 24-hour race for my mom and me so I really hope we are able to come out on top together.”

Melanie Snow:

“Wow, what a fun test at Daytona! I am really excited to be racing there. This will be my first 24 Hours of Daytona race. Having been there many times before, supporting Martin, I know the feeling of excitement that is spread throughout the track. I was never able to race at Daytona before, as when I had other opportunities I was pregnant or had a baby with me.

Finally, I get to race it, and what makes it so special is that I get to race it with Madison. My first time at Daytona with Martin, Madison was with me and he was just 6 weeks old. Now he is racing it with me; how time flies!

“Sascha, Marco and Klaus are such a great asset to our team. We have a wonderful dynamic and work so well together. Wright Motorsports has prepared our UIS Porsche and they have done an amazing job. The car was flawless at the test and we had some really good times. Between our drivers and our hard-working crew we have the best team! I can’t wait to get back to the track and get the race started!”

About Wright Motorsports:

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche tuning facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief Wright has played a key role in winning seven driver and six team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series.

John Wright, owner & director of Wright Motorsports, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician

John Wright, owner & director of Wright Motorsports, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician

In 2013 Wright Motorsports will defend its 2012 driver and team championship and field multiple entries in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge; service its customers who compete in other series and club-racing events, and provide race car-quality preparation for its customers’ high-performance street cars. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com on the Internet and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: Restart Communications, Linda Mansfield and  Wright Motorsports

 

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Joerg Bergmeister crowns 100th race with 1st win of the season,American Le Mans Series, rd 4 Lime Rock, USA

Joerg Bergmeister crowns 100th race with first win of the season

Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

Stuttgart. A perfect anniversary for Joerg Bergmeister: At his 100th race in the American Le Mans Series, the Porsche works driver scored the first win of the season for Porsche. With his works driver teammate, Patrick Long (USA), he won the fiercely-competitive GT class in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports at round four of the racing series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars. This marks his 35th victory in the American Le Mans Series and his sixth in Lime Rock.

Patrick Long, Jörg Bergmeister

The race on the short 2.478 kilometre circuit in the picturesque countryside of the US state of Connecticut, two and a half hours’ drive from New York City, was not for the faint-hearted. Fans watching from the grass banks along the track witnessed a varied race with tough battles for positions, particularly in the GT class, the heart of the American Le Mans Series.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

At the halfway point in the race, Patrick Long moved to the front of the strong field and handed the # 45 silver and red 911 to Joerg Bergmeister as the leader after 100 laps. Bergmeister rejoined the race in third on the narrow circuit after a pit stop, snatched the lead back after several laps and fended off all attacks to the flag. At times the first four GT vehicles were running within a mere second..

Jörg Bergmeister

“We’ve waited a long time for this win. Now we’re all off to Manhattan to celebrate,” said Joerg Bergmeister after his anniversary race.

“We made several mistakes this season, for example our pit stop in Laguna Seca, but mostly it was just bad luck that prevented us from securing podium results. Today, everything ran smoothly, from the performance of the drivers to the pit stop strategy. The Porsche is fantastic. We are still learning about setting up the RSR but today we took a giant step forward.”

Patrick Long

Patrick Long said, “We really earned this victory. It’s a great achievement to beat such a strong GT field. Thanks to the new aero kit we have more grip and a better performance compared to last year.”

Early on in the race, Falken Tire’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Bryan Sellers (USA) also led the very strong GT field for a time, only to have tyre damage in the 35th lap throw him far back down the field.

Bryan Sellers

At the flag, he and Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) finished in seventh place.

Wolf Henzler

Directly behind him came the 911 fielded by Paul Miller Racing with Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA)

Sascha Maassen

Bryce Miller

as well as the second Flying Lizard Porsche with Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and team owner Seth Neiman (USA).

Seth Neiman

Marco Holzer

In qualifying, Marco Holzer had set the second fastest time, but the stewards of the meeting banned the Porsche to start from the back of the field due to a ride height that was too low.

Round five of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 21 July in Mosport/Canada. 

Result
GT class
1. Bergmeister/Long (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 160 laps
2. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 160
3. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 160
4. Sharp/van Overbeek (USA/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 160
5. Hand/D. Müller (USA/D), BMW E92 M3, 159
6. Auberlen/J. Müller (USA/D), BMW E92 M3, 159
7. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 158
8. Maassen/Miller (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 157
9. Holzer/Neiman /D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 157

GTC class
1. Keen/MacNeil (USA/USA)), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 151 laps
2. LeSaffre/Faulkner (USA/IRL), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 151
3. Welch/LeSaffre (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 150

Points’ standings 
GT class
Drivers
1. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet, 72 laps
2. Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Chevrolet, 64
3. Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, BMW, 60
4. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 39
5. Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek, Ferrari, 39
6. Bill Auberlen/Jörg Müller, BMW, 36
7. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 25
9. Sascha Maassen, Bryce Miller, Porsche, 23
10. Seth Neiman, Porsche, 20
11. Marco Holzer, Porsche, 15

Manufacturers
1. Chevrolet, 78 points
2. BMW, 68
3. Porsche, 59
4. Ferrari, 55

Teams
1. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 78 points
2. BMW Team RLL, BMW, 65
3. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 44
5. Team Falken Tire, Porsche, 25
6. Paul Miller Racing, Porsche, 23

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This is the American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The field is divided into five classes that start together but are classified separately:
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers traditionally receives the most support: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series like the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and a 900 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

Source: American Le Mans Series – Porsche AG Media Press Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsportpress

 

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Successful race debut for the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – promising start for World Endurance Championship

Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France)

Patrick Pilet (France), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Marc Lieb (Germany)

World Endurance Championship / American Le Mans Series, round 1 in Sebring, USA

Stuttgart. At the Sebring 12 hour race, the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR celebrated a successful race premiere.

At the wheel of the 911 fielded by the Felbermayr-Proton team, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France) secured second place in the GTE Pro class at the long distance classic in Florida and with this made a very promising start into the new World Endurance Championship.

“Second place is a great result. Right from the start, our new 911 GT3 RSR was reliable and that’s very positive,” said Marc Lieb.

“But we lacked the speed to win off our own bat.”

Richard Lietz, who had to start from the back of the field because the cockpit temperature of his Porsche in qualifying was one degree over what was permitted, said,

“I’m very satisfied with how the race went. For twelve hours our 911 ran without the slightest technical problem. Which is, of course, not something you take for granted at the first race with a new car.”

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Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti made a superb start to the season. With the second Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (2011 model year) run by Felbermayr-Proton they celebrated victory in the GTE Am class.

“This win is a perfect way to kick off the season,” Ried commented. “The last one and half hours of the race were incredibly tough for Paolo, because he had to cope without power steering.”

With the tradition-steeped twelve hour race on the Sebring International Raceway the American Le Mans Series also took off into the season.

Driving the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Paul Miller Racing, Sascha Maassen (Germany), Bryce Miller (USA) and Rob Bell (Great Britain) secured fifth place in the GT class.

At the wheel of Flying Lizard Motorsports’ 911, Americans Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Andy Lally saw the flag in seventh place.

Darren Law (USA) and Andy Lally (USA)

Darren Law (USA) and Andy Lally (USA)

For two other new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the season-opening round in the sunshine state of the USA brought less than perfect results.

Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) secured ninth with Bryan Sellers (USA) and Martin Ragginger (Austria).

After the qualifying, their Falken Tire team had to replace the engine in the 911, and although the mechanics managed this in record time, he still took up the race one lap behind.

Things were not a lot better for his factory pilot colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Holzer (Germany) in the second Flying Lizard Porsche: In the formation lap, a Ferrari rammed into the rear of the Porsche, which threw them far back. After putting in a spirited chase, they still managed to yield tenth and earn valuable points towards the end.

Joerg Bergmeister, Marco Holzer and Patrick Long

Joerg Bergmeister, Marco Holzer and Patrick Long

“Our car ran better in the race than it did in qualifying. We drove consistently fast lap times to the end,” stated Wolf Henzler. Marco Holzer added:

“That was a bitter race. It was already over for us before it had really begun. So our goal was to finish the 70 percent distance and safeguard those important championship points.”

 

Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche motorsport, regarded the start of the season as positive.

 

“Compliments to the Felbermayr-Proton team for their victory in GTE-Am class and second place in GTE-Pro class. This was almost an optimum result,” he said. “I am extremely pleased with the reliability of the new 911 GT3 RSR.

 As far as the time difference to our fastest rivals in qualifying and in the race is concerned, we will be analysing that gap to determine whether the performance balancing influenced this.

Congratulations as well to Paul Miller Racing for its great result in the American Le Mans Series with fifth.

It’s a pity that the race was over before the start for one of our strongest cars, it was not the team’s fault.”

Round two of the World Endurance Championship takes place on 5 May 2012 in Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium.

On 14 April, round two of the American Le Mans Series takes off on the street course in Long Beach, California.

Results

World Endurance Championship
GTE Pro class
1. Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci (I/MC/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 307 laps
2. Lieb/Lietz/Pilet (D/A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 306
3. Mücke/Fernandez/Turner (D/MEX/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 291
4. Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander (I/I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 215
5. Melo/Makowiecki/Vernay (BRA/F/F), Ferrari F458 Italia, 183

GTE Am class
1. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 298 laps
2. Bourret/Gibon/Belloc (F/F/F), Chevrolet Corvette, 297
3. Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy (F/F/P), Chevrolet Corvette, 288
4. Kaufmann/Waltrip/Aguas (USA/USA/P), Ferrari F458, 283
5. Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo (USA/S/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 265
6. Binnie/Palttala/Camathias (USA/SF/CH), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 251

American Le Mans Series
GT class
1. Hand/Müller/Summerton (USA/D/USA), BMW E92 M3, 307 laps
2. Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (DK/E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 307
3. Gavin/Milner/Westbrook (GB/USA/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 307
4. Müller/Auberlen/Alzen (D/USA/D), BMW E92 M3, 306
5. Maassen/Miller/Bell (D/USA/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 302
6. Brown/Segal/Lazzaro (USA/USA/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 302
7. Law/Neiman/Lally (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 302
9. Henzler/Sellers/Ragginger (D/USA/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 289
10. Bergmeister/Long/Holzer (D/USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 251

GTC class
1. Sweedler/Bell/von Moltke (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 291 laps
2. Keen/Dumoulin/MacNeil (USA/CAN/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 291
3. Faulkner/Bleekemolen/LaSaffe (IRL/NL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 290

Points’ standings

World Endurance Championship
Teams GTE Pro
1. AF Corse, Ferrari, 25 points
2. Felbermayr-Proton, Porsche, 18
3. Aston Martin Racing, Aston Martin, 15

Teams GTE Am
1. Felbermayr-Proton, Porsche, 25 points
2. Labre Competition, Chevrolet, 18
3. AF Corse-Waltrip, Ferrari , 12

American Le Mans Series
GT class
1. Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jonathan Summerton, BMW , 24 points
2. Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Chevrolet , 20
3. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook, Chevrolet, 17
5. Sascha Maassen, Bryce Miller, Rob Bell, Porsche, 12
7. Seth Neiman, Andy Lally, Darren Law. Porsche, 8
9. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Martin Ragginger, Porsche, 6
10. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Marco Holzer , Porsche, 5

Manufacturers
1. BMW, 24 points
2. Chevrolet, 20
3. Porsche , 12
4. Ferrari, 10

Teams
1. BMW Team RLL, BMW, 24 points
2. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 20
3. Paul Miller Racing, Porsche, 12
4. Extreme Speed Motorsports, Ferrari, 10

This is the World Endurance Championship
Sports prototypes and GT vehicles race in the new World Endurance Championship. They are divided into four classes that start together but are classified separately:

LMGTE Pro class: This class is reserved for slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
LMGTE Am class: Like the LMGTE Pro, but the regulations stipulate that there must be no more than one professional driver per vehicle.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with around 440 hp and a 900 kilogram minimum weight.

This is the American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles.

The field is divided into five classes that start together but are classified separately:
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers traditionally receives the most support: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).

GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series like the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and a 900 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsportpress

 

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American Le Mans Series, rd 1 in Sebring, USA – Green light for new World Endurance Championship

World Endurance Championship / American Le Mans Series, round 1 in Sebring, USA

Stuttgart. With the qualifying session for the tradition-steeped twelve hour race on the Sebring International Raceway in Florida/USA, both the new World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series took off into the new season. The long distance classic, at which the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR makes its race debut, marks the only time that the two series run together.

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In the GTE Pro class of the World Endurance Championship, Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria) planted his Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the fifth grid spot.

At the wheel of the second Felbermayr-Proton Porsche, Paolo Ruberti (Italy) posted fourth in the GTE Am class.

“My lap was perfect and our car feels very good,” said Richard Lietz.

“Still, the gap is too big. We’ll be analysing this and trying to close that gap as quickly as possible.”

In the American Le Mans Series, Porsche factory pilot Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) also posted the fifth best time in the GT class with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports.

“That was a decent lap,” he said, “but it was all that was possible today.” His works driver colleague Wolf Henzler (Germany) clocked the eighth quickest time in Falken Tire’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

“We have to get more familiar with our new car,” he said. “It handles the bumps extremely well, but we still experienced way too much oversteer.”

Sascha Maassen (Germany) posted the new 911 run by Paul Miller Racing on ninth and commented,

“We turned our fastest lap of the weekend during qualifying and that’s exactly how it should be. But we’re still in the process of familiarising ourselves with the tyres of the new car. And there’s a great deal of potential there.”

Several pilots from the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup are using the GTC class, which they contest with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, to gain experience in international long distance racing.

The seasoned Supercup and Carrera Cup pilot Sean Edwards (Great Britain) clinched pole position with Damien Faulkner (Ireland) posting second. Reigning Supercup rookie champion Kévin Estre (France) put his 911 on position five.

Nicki Thiim (Denmark), who contests the world’s fastest international one-brand series for the 2012 season, qualified on sixth.

“That was an exciting qualifying. We are all very close,” said Sean Edwards.

“My team has done a great job in preparing the 911. Last year an accident before the qualifying prevented us from competing in the race. Now we’re back with a vengeance.”

The race starts on Saturday, 17 March, at 10.30 hrs local time (15.30 hrs CET) and is broadcast live on http://www.alms.com.

Qualifying result

World Endurance Championshi
GTE Pro class
1. Gianmaria Bruni (I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:58.427 minutes
2. Jaime Melo (BRA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.286 seconds
3. Olivier Beretta (MC), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.611
4. Stefan Mücke (D), Aston Martin Vantage, + 1.697
5. Richard Lietz (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.779

GTE Am class
1. Dominik Farnbacher (D), Ferrari F458 Italia, 2:00.258 minutes
2. Niclas Jonsson (S), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.745 seconds
3. Pedro Lamy (P), Chevrolet Corvette, + 1.456
4. Paolo Ruberti (I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.603

American Le Mans Series
GT class
1. Jan Magnussen (DK), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:58.996 minutes
2. Oliver Gavin (GB), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.011 seconds
3. Joey Hand (USA), BMW M3, + 1.031
4. Johannes van Overbeek (USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.098
5. Jörg Bergmeister (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.123
8. Wolf Henzler (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.636
9. Sascha Maassen (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.154
10. Seth Neiman (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 8.358

GTC class
1. Sean Edwards (GB), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:06.674 minutes
2. Damien Faulkner (IRL), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, +0.023 seconds
3. Leh Keen (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 0.037

This is the World Endurance Championship

Sports prototypes and GT vehicles race in the new World Endurance Championship. They are divided into four classes that start together but are classified separately:

LMGTE Pro class: This class is reserved for slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
LMGTE Am class: Like the LMGTE Pro, but the regulations stipulate that there must be no more than one professional driver per vehicle.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class:Sports prototypes with around 440 hp and a 900 kilogram minimum weight.

This is the American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. At the season-opener in Sebring, the field is divided into five classes that start together but are classified separately:
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers traditionally receives the most support: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series like the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and a 900 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsportpress

 

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Porsche Junior Program – Six finalists shine at young driver selection

Dennis Trebing (USA), Klaus Bachler (A), Michael Christensen (DK),  Mario Farnbacher (D),
Tom Blomqvist (GB), Ramon Pineiro (E)

Press Release

02/21/2012

Porsche Junior Program – Six finalists shine at young driver selection

Stuttgart. The selection process to find Porsche juniors for the 2012 season

is now on the finish straight. At track tests in Vallelunga (Italy) six finalists aged

from 18 to 21 years excelled with outstanding lap times and showed impressive

progress over the two days.

Mario Farnbacher (D), Klaus Bachler (A),Dennis Trebing (USA), Ramon Pineiro(E) Tom Blomqvist (GB), Michael Christensen (DK)

Klaus Bachler (20, A), Tom Blomqvist (18, GB), Michael Christensen (21, DK),

Mario Farnbacher (19, D), Ramon Pineiro (21, E) and Dennis Trebing (20, USA)

had earlier come out on top at a rigorous selection process against other

talented youngsters from around the globe.

Michael Christensen (DK), René Rast (D), Sascha Maassen (D) Porsche Juniorsichtung

Currently, Porsche Motorsport is evaluating the data from all the test laps and

will then compare these with the comprehensive sports medicine results.

The chosen drivers will receive support as Porsche juniors in the

Carrera Cup Deutschland. Porsche provides most of the season’s budget.

The junior pilots choose their own teams for whom they want to compete.

A junior coach looks after the training of the Porsche juniors and is on hand

in a mentoring capacity.

Sascha Maassen (D) Porsche Juniorsichtung  Vallelunga 2012

Professional race driver Sascha Maassen (42) takes on this role. The German was

a Porsche works driver from 2000 to 2009, and this season contests

the American Le Mans Series in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Sascha Maassen (D), Ramon Pineiro (E), Dennis Trebing (USA) Porsche Juniorsichtung

Maassen has a great deal of experience as a talent scout, coach and driving instructor.

At the wheel of sports prototypes and GT race vehicles from Weissach,

Maassen won the American Le Mans Series three times and celebrated

class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Sebring 12 hour race.

Porsche Juniorsichtung  Vallelunga 2012

“The six finalists have had very little opportunity to get experience at the wheel of a GT race car. They have far exceeded our expectations,” praises Maassen.

“All of the pilots very quickly grasped how you have to drive the 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in order to be fast.”

Aside from financial support, the drivers receive assistance similar to the

internationally successful Porsche factory pilots.

Fitness tests with constantly adapted training plans as well as media coaching

and sponsor obligations are also part of the programme. Initially, the programme

runs for four years.

Porsche Juniorsichtung  Vallelunga 2012

Porsche has intensively supported talented youngsters in motorsport since 1997.

Today’s Porsche factory pilots Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb and Patrick Long were

trained as Porsche juniors.

Mario Farnbacher (D) Porsche Juniorsichtung  Vallelunga 2012

Recently in 2011, Marco Holzer made the leap from Porsche junior to works driver.

Other big-league names in motorsport to emerge from this scholarship programme

are Dirk Müller, Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller.

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SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

Communication Porsche AG

Motorsportpress

 

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Porsche secures vice-championship with 2nd place at Road Atlanta Petit Le Mans-ALMS Rd 9

American Le Mans Series, round 9 / Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, round 6 in Road Atlanta, USA

Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA) and Patrick Pilet (France)

Stuttgart. A strong season finale for Porsche in the American Le Mans Series: At the thrilling 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA) and Patrick Pilet (France) snatched second place in a heart-stopping final.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA) and Patrick Pilet (France)

At the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports, the trio were a mere six seconds shy of a GT class victory after more than nine and a half hours packed with tough fights for positions and many changes at the lead. Their second position secured the vice-championship for Porsche in the race series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA)

”Patrick Long added:

“We stuck to our plan and kept out of any trouble so that we could attack in the last ten laps. This plan worked.”

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche works driver  Patrick Pilet (France)

“It was a fantastic experience to contest the Petit Le Mans for Flying Lizard Motorsports,” said Patrick Pilet.

“Over the course of the race the balance of our car became better and better and towards the end it was virtually perfect. I’m totally happy.

On the time-honoured circuit in the US state of Georgia, Joerg Bergmeister again showed nerves of steel, waiting until the penultimate lap before making his decisive move on the BMW in front of him.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany)

“In my last stint I speculated that I would be able to snatch the BMW,” said the five-time Road Atlanta winner.

“I used the traffic after the safety car phase, took a risk and overtook him on the outside through Turn six. I’m pleased that I secured the decisive points to win the tyre manufacturers’ classification for Michelin.”

His teammates Patrick Long and Patrick Pilet had laid the foundation for this success with their faultless performances.

Another decisive factor in this good result aside from the strong performance of the drivers was the perfect work of the pit crew.

“The entire Flying Lizard squad did a tremendous job. Every single pit stop was incredible,” commented Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

“Through their excellent effort, the team compensated very well for the handicap from the Balance of Performance measures that were again in place here. In a sensational push at the end, Joerg Bergmeister secured second place and this gave our partner Michelin the tyre manufacturers’ title. Well done to all those who contributed to this success.”

Rounding off the excellent team result for Porsche at the 1,000 mile classic was Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his teammates Bryan Sellers (USA) and Martin Ragginger (Austria).

Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his teammate Martin Ragginger (Austria)

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Martin Ragginger

Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Falken Tire, they brought home fifth place.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Martin Ragginger

“I’m very pleased with this,” said Wolf Henzler, winner of the races in Mid-Ohio and Baltimore together with Bryan Sellers.

“We drove a controlled race and didn’t take any unnecessary risks. I can look back on a good season with two victories to our credit. That was more than we had expected.”

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Darren Law, Seth Neiman

Factory pilot colleague Marco Holzer (Germany) and his American teammates Seth Neiman und Darren Law saw the flag in eighth place in the second Flying-Lizard Porsche.

Darren Law

Victory in the GTC class went to Porsche Supercup pilots Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (Netherlands) together with American Tim Pappas, who won the title.

Petit Le Mans, which counts as a round of the GTE Am class of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, brought no luck for Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria):

Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria)

With the Proton Competition-run Porsche 911 GT3 RSR he lay in the lead, but had to retire after 163 laps with a damaged drive system.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Proton Competition: Richard Lietz, Christian Ried, Mark Bullitt

Statistics: 9th and final race in Road Atlanta, Georgia

Result GT class
1. Fisichella/Bruni/Kaffer (I/I/D), Ferrari F458 Italia, 367 laps
2. Bergmeister/Long/Pilet (D/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 367
3. Werner/Auberlen/Farfus (D/USA/BRA), BMW M3 GT, 367
4. Magnussen/Gavin/Westbrook (DK/GB/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 366
5. Henzler/Sellers/Ragginger (D/USA/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 365
6. Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher (USA/USA/D), Ferrari F458 Italia, 365
8. Holzer/Neiman/Law (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 361
11. Maassen/Miller/Collard (D/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 357

Result GTC class
1. J./S. Bleekemolen/Pappas (NL/NL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 346 laps
2. Sweedler/Keen/Wong (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 346
3. Pumpelly/Ende/Ludwig (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 345

Final standings GT class
Drivers
1. Dirk Müller, Joey Hand, BMW, 161 points
2. Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Chevrolet, 135
3. Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 129
4. Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 102
5. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 97
6. Jaime Melo, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 83

Manufacturers
1. BMW, 180 points
2. Porsche, 162
3. Chevrolet, 139
4. Ferrari, 127

Teams
1. BMW Team RLL, BMW, 180 points
2. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 139
3. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 115
4. Team Falken Tire, Porsche, 97

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Facts and Figures

This is the American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations correspond to those of the Le Mans 24 hour race.

GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers is traditionally extremely well supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,125 – 1,325 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and an 825 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

As part of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the GTE Am class is also contested in Road Atlanta. The difference to the GT class: Vehicles in the 2010 technical specification may be entered and the rules stipulate that only one professional race driver per vehicle is permitted.

All classes start together but are classified separately. This ensures racing that is exciting and constantly changing with many overtaking manoeuvres. Points are awarded only for placings in each class.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Press Database

Public Relations and Media
Motorsportpress

 

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American Le Mans Series, rd 6 in Elkhart Lake, USA-Porsche pilots with new optimism after season’s 1st victory

Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler

Stuttgart. After the first American Le Mans Series win of the season, the Porsche teams head to the legendary Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake with new confidence. Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his American teammate Bryan Sellers will try to repeat their brilliant Mid-Ohio win with their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Falken Tire.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Falken Tire: Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers

And with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by Flying Lizard Motorsports, title defenders Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) also have high hopes for the four-hour race in the US state of Wisconsin. After all, the pair have already clinched three victories in Elkhart Lake.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The race

This venue has been a regular fixture on the American Le Mans Series calendar since 2002. This season, the race runs over four hours.

The circuit

The 6.514 kilometre Road America circuit is one of America’s oldest race tracks and is regarded as the cradle of sports car racing in the USA. The circuit layout with its long finish straight and 14 corners has changed considerably since its foundation in 1955. Most fans watch the races from the hills surrounding the track. The first street race in Elkhart Lake, two hours’ drive north of Chicago, was run in 1950. The circuit of that time was awarded a place in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

The Porsche drivers

Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long drive the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports as reigning GT champions of the American Le Mans Series and three-time Road America winners.

Jörg Bergmeister

Patrick Long

Their works driver colleague Wolf Henzler, who recently won in Mid-Ohio with Bryan Sellers, drives the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Falken Tire team.

Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler

At his debut in Elkhart Lake, Porsche factory pilot Marco Holzer (Germany) shares driving duties in the second Flying Lizard Porsche with American Seth Neiman.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Marco Holzer, Seth Neiman

Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA) take up the race for Paul Miller Racing in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Paul Miller Racing: Sascha Maassen, Bryce Miller

Quotes before the race

Joerg Bergmeister:

“All year I look forward to this race. Road America is my all-time favourite circuit. It’s very fast, very hilly and very challenging – and those are all the things a race driver loves. The race track doesn’t really suit our car, but still the Porsche was very successful there in the last years. So I’m also feeling optimistic this time.”

Patrick Long:

“The smallest mistake here always costs a lot of time. To be able to keep up at the front everything has to run perfectly. And of course the strategy plays a major role at a four-hour race.”

Wolf Henzler:

“The characteristic of Road America with its long straights and fast corners is totally unlike any other circuit on the ALMS calendar. We tested there with very good results and in the race I hope we can now use what we learned. The whole team is highly motivated after winning in Mid-Ohio. We all want to show that this success is not a coincidence.”

Marco Holzer:

“This marks my third race in the American Le Mans Series and the third on a totally unfamiliar circuit. I’ve watched several videos of Road America and I’m very much looking forward to racing on this extraordinary race track.”

The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

The most successful GT race car of the last years took off into the season with a raft of improvements. The output of the four-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine was increased to 455 hp (335 kW). Priority in the development of the car was given to the newly designed aerodynamics at the front and rear. In 2010, the 911 GT3 RSR again won the environmental “Michelin Green X Challenge” classification as the GT vehicle with the best overall efficiency in the American Le Mans Series.

Porsche successes

Of the nine races that have been contested here as part of the American Le Mans Series, Porsche as the most successful manufacturer has won seven. Five victories in the GT/GT2 class went to Joerg Bergmeister, who triumphed with Timo Bernhard in 2002 and 2004, as well as with Patrick Long in 2005, 2006 and 2009. In 2003, Craig Stanton and Johnny Mowlem won for Porsche, in 2008 Dirk Werner, Richard Westbrook and Bryan Sellers. In 2007, Timo Bernhard und Romain Dumas snatched overall honours at the wheel of the Porsche RS Spyder.

The schedule

The race in Elkhart Lake takes off on Saturday, 20 August, at 15.00 hours local time (22.00 hrs CEST) and is broadcast live in the internet on www.americanlemans.com/live. The GT qualifying on Friday is shown on www.porsche.com/alms-live from 22.25 hours CEST.

The American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations correspond to those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. All classes start together but are classified separately:

GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers is traditionally extremely well supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,125 – 1,325 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and an 825 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database
Public Relations and Media
Motorsportpress

 

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