IMSA: Porsche Wins Petit Le Mans
Porsche ended its troubled IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship season with a victory in the final round – ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta. The No911 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki maintained a promising position in the early phase of the race. However, it was the sister 911, No912, driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet that looked best placed to take victory despite suffering a puncture during the early part of the 10-hour race.
Ultimately a drive-through penalty sent the No912 car down the order, Bamber, Vanthoor and Jaminet tried everything to catch up the lost time but the fierce level of competition in the GTLM class prevented major progress. The No911 entry worked its way through the field to lead the race with three hours remaining, Tandy driving it over the line for victory with an 11 second advantage over the car in P2 – the No912 Porsche took the flag one minute further behind in sixth place overall.
Tandy said after the race: “What a crazy race! We were relegated from the front to the back and then came back to the front. When you’re a lap down and still manage to win, it shows just how brilliantly the entire team worked. Our focus was on ensuring that the car was still fast in cool temperatures at the end. And it worked perfectly. And that was the key to victory.”
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars, said: “Our strategy worked perfectly. Right from the start, we focused on having a car at the end of the race that was very fast in cool conditions. Patrick laid the foundations for this success with a strong double stint. Nick and Fred then brought it home. But you need the right tactic, too, and that worked perfectly. Petit Le Mans was a huge race. This victory fits perfectly with the successes that came just in time for Porsche’s 70th anniversary. If someone had written a film script for such a scenario, no one would have believed it to be real. But it worked and that’s just terrific!”