It was the penultimate round of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, and Porsche was set to pull out all of the stops in order to secure a prime finish. Rather than their regular two-car entry of the 911 and 912 cars, Porsche entered a third factory-effort GTLM class 911 RSR for Fred Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, the number 910. With a total of four GTLM Porsche entries, including the Falken Tires Porsche, and taking into account the excellent qualifying effort put forth, it looked like Porsche could really make some hay while the sun shined in Texas.
In qualifying, Fred Mako stormed to a convincing provisional pole position in the #910. Unfortunately, at post-qualifying tech inspections, it was found that the team had neglected to install the mandatory rooftop camera, and their fast time posted was disallowed. The three cars started 3rd, 4th, and last with the 912 before the 911 at the start.
As the race wound onward, it looked like the #911 helmed by Nick Tandy (started by Jorg Bergmeister) was the clear favorite for the victory, stretching out a lead and then simply maintaining it. What would be the start of a not very good Saturday in Texas for Mr. Tandy, however, the #911 car packed it in and decided not to finish the race with about 30 minutes remaining to run. Tandy called in late in the race with a complete loss of drive from the 911 RSR.
The #912 was running in the fourth position at the time of Tandy's retirement, and had to push hard to maintain that position, finishing in the last place on the podium following a Dodge Viper 1-2 checkered flag victory. Michael Christiansen took the start from the third position, and after handing over to Pat Long with about an hour remaining, the team could do no better than to finish the race right where they started. The Viper team was strong, and their power advantage certainly lent them some assistance on that long uphill front straight.
The third car, the #910, was mired back in the field for much of the race, having to start from the back of the pack. With a bit of effort and a whole lot of struggle, the duo of Mako and Pilet managed to hoist the car up to fifth in the standings at the fall of the checkers. Makowiecki started the race in last, and used the 911 RSR's strengths to his advantage, making many advances forward through the field of GTLM cars. Unfortunately, he would come under scrutiny of the stewards again when he was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for with a GTD class Flying Lizard Audi R8 which caused a spin. Pilet, however, served a trouble-free second half of the race to bring the car home no worse for wear. Luckily, the #910 team will have another chance to redeem themselves at Road Atlanta's series finale "Petit Le Mans" endurance event in only two weeks time.
The number 17 Falken Tires Porsche 911 RSR of Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler didn't have quite the day that they had hoped for at COTA, finishing down in 8th position.
The Battle For The Manufacturer Championship
Porsche entered the event with a very narrow lead in the constructor's championship, only two points as a matter of fact. With the Viper team finishing first and second, they certainly gained a few points on Porsche in their effort for this much-lauded title. At the end of the day, Porsche and Viper are both tied for championship points at 308 points each. It will all come down to Petit Le Mans to determine this championship points battle, and you can bet it will be a close one!
In the GTD category, John Potter and Andy Lally of the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT America team put in a herculean effort to finish the race second on the podium following yet another Viper class victor home. As a result, Sebring-winning Magnus Racing is still in with a shout for the GTD teams championship.
Having lead the GTD category at one point in the race, Mario Farnbacher and Ian James were taken out of contention when their #23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Porsche hit an LMPC car and damaged the car's radiator.
Probably one of the biggest Porsche stories of the race, however, was the Keen/MacNeil Alex Job Racing Porsche's efforts to turn around a terrible qualifying stint. The pair only managed a 16th position on the grid in qualification, and as they were starting so low, they opted to fit their car with new tires for the start of the race, relegating them to last place at the start. In the end, it would seem that the decision was the right one, as they later went on to work their way through the field and finish in the 5th position, gaining the pair some valuable points. Leh Keen and Cooper Macneil are now only four points out of the driver's championship lead with one race remaining.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America:
“We absolutely had the pace today. We were happy with the way things were going until, obviously, the last half-hour when we lost drive with the number 911. We ended up with a podium finish with the [number] 912 so that is really good. What that means is that we are tied with Viper going into the last race. I think that is going to be good for all the fans. We’ll bring it down to the wire and that is what it is all about. GTLM is one of the closest racing classes in the world and at the pinnacle of GT racing. It is good that we see this fight through to the end of the year.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, No. 910 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR:
“It is not easy to start from the back. The first two laps I tried to quickly overtake the GTD cars and the back of the GTLM class. The car was really quick. I think we had what we needed to win the race if we did not start from the back.”
John Potter, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America:
“We’re all very happy to be back to our old form. This result was well deserved for the crew. We all know how important teamwork is in this sport, and today was once again proof of that. It’s great to see IMSA and Porsche’s efforts for Balance of Performance helped with some improvements, and the car was excellent all day. We obviously would have loved to deliver a win during such a big weekend for Porsche, but second still feels like a great accomplishment, and we’re all walking away satisfied."
Cooper MacNeil, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America:
“We turned a tough qualifying run into a top five finish today. We are second in the championship, just four points back. We are going to Petit with the thought that we have to win the race. The goal has been for the last quarter of the season, get to Petit in sight of the championship. Alex Job Racing always does a great job with the endurance races and now it is in our hands to go and perform.”
GT Le Mans Results
1.No. 93 Jonathan Bomarito (USA)/Kuno Wittmer (Canada), Dodge Viper SRT – 76 laps
2. No. 91 Marc Goossens (Belgium)/Dominik Farnbacher (Germany), Dodge Viper SRT – 76 laps
3. No. 912 Patrick Long (USA)/Michael Christensen (Denmark), Porsche 911 RSR – 76 laps
4. No. 62 Pierre Kaffer (Germany)/Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Ferrari 458 Italia – 75 laps
5. No. 910 Patrick Pilet (France)/Frederic Makowiecki (France), Porsche 911 RSR – 75 laps
6. No. 55 Bill Auberlin (USA)/Andy Priaulx (Normandy/France) – 75 laps
8. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA), Porsche 911 RSR – 75 laps
11. No. 911 Nick Tandy (Great Britain)/Michael Christensen (Denmark), Porsche 911 RSR – 66 laps
GT Daytona Results
1.No. 33 Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco)/Ben Keating (USA) Dodge Viper SRT – 73 laps
2. No. 44 John Potter (USA)/Andy Lally (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 72 laps
3. No. 300 Dane Cameron (USA)/Markus Palttala (Finland) BMW Z4 – 72 laps
4. No. 58 Jan Heylen (USA)/Madison Snow (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 72 laps
5. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (USA)/Leh Keen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 72 laps
6. No. 48 Chistopher Haase (Germany)/Bryce Miller (USA) Audi RS LMS – 72 laps
9. No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Ben Barker (UK), Porsche 911 GT America – 72 laps
10. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/Norbert Siedler (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America – 72 laps
12. No. 30 Henrique Cisneros (USA)/Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), Porsche 911 GT America – 71 laps
14. No. 27 Patrick Dempsey (USA.)/Andrew Davis (USA) Porsche 911 GT America – 70 laps
15. No. 19 Mark Klenen (USA)/Alec Udell (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 69 laps
16. No. 18 Khaled Al Kubaisi (UAE)/Larry Pegram (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 67 laps
17. No. 71 Mike Vess (USA)/Mike Skeen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America - 62 laps
18. No. 23 Ian James (USA), Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America – 58 laps
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
Why Porsche Added A 3rd Factory 911 RSR To The Line-up At COTA
Porsche Has A “Tough Day In Texas” At The Fourth Round Of The World Endurance Championship
Chasing a Porsche 918 Spyder On The Stelvio Pass
Photos provided by Porsche, IMSA, and Racer.com