IMSA: Porsche Podium at Lime Rock
Round seven of the IMSA SportsCar Championship took place at Lime Rock Park in the US state of Connecticut, a race contested exclusively by GT vehicles… Sharing the No911 car, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy got off to a bad start even before the race had started. Given that qualifying and the race took place on Saturday, the IMSA schedule for the meeting at Lime Rock was somewhat compressed. During the morning warm-up, which took place just thirty-five minutes before qualifying, Pilet slid off the track damaging the No911 Porsche. In the short time available before the race later that day the team managed to swap out the damaged parts, but there was not enough time to check the setup of the car before Pilet started the afternoon’s race from a lowly eighth on the grid.
Both 911 RSRs made a clean getaway off the line at the start of the race, Laurens Vanthoor started the No912 entry from second on the grid and maintained that position until handing the car over to teammate, Earl Bamber. Bamber subsequently managed to close the gap to the leader, however, an error saw him take a short detour off the track, this coupled with time lost due to a mistake during the car’s second pit stop robbed the No912 RSR of a possible victory.
The No911 car remained in eighth during Pilet’s opening stint, when Tandy took over he managed to work his way up to fifth thanks to a good pit stop strategy and an inspired overtaking manoeuvre by the Briton two minutes before the end of the race. Ultimately Vanthoor and Bamber took the flag in third in the GTLM class, with Pilet and Tandy coming home in fifth spot after two hours and 40 minutes. In the overall classification, Porsche still ranks third in the manufacturer’s category.
Patrick Pilet commented: “The car was extremely fast over the whole weekend, but my mistake in the warm-up threw a spanner in the works. On this racetrack, where overtaking is particularly tricky, it’s difficult to compensate for a grid spot at the back of the field. Although I was faster at the beginning of the race I couldn’t make up any positions. When Nick got a clear run he managed to shorten the gap, but at the end of the day it was simply too big. The team’s tactics and strategy were definitely spot-on. It’s important that we managed to collect valuable points towards the manufacturer’s classification with third place for the sister car.”
Laurens Vanthoor said: “You shouldn’t really complain about a podium placing, but we could have won today. We lost 14 seconds due to a pit stop error – which is basically the gap to position one. We had the pace to win, but unfortunately, we only came third.”
Round eight of the IMSA SportsCar Championship takes place on 5 August at Road America in Wisconsin.