The week’s preparations started well for the factory Porsche team, as the two cars locked out the front row of the grid for race start at 14h05 local time on Saturday 13 April. Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR secured the first grid spot, with colleagues Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in the #912 Porsche alongside them in second place. This was Porsche’s third pole position this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. So, it was a case of, if you go to the beach today, you’ll see an all-Porsche front row on the starting grid.
During the 15-minute qualifying session, Nick Tandy edged ever-closer to the track barriers of the street circuit, with the Briton improving on his best time with each lap. In the end, a qualifying time of 1:16.313 minutes saw Tandy set not only a new qualifying record at Long Beach, but he also added to his personal record in the IMSA series. This pole position marked the seventh time that Tandy had posted the fastest time in the GTLM-class qualifying. Driving the #912 Porsche, Laurens Vanthoor was just 0.064 seconds adrift of Tandy’s time.
At the start of the 100-minute race – the shortest on the IMSA calendar – Tandy and Vanthoor defended their lead and managed to gradually pull clear of the field. However, a safety car phase shortly before the halfway point of the race all but eliminated the advantage they had built up. After the restart, Bamber squeezed past his colleague Pilet, and into the lead. While the #912 car defended its lead to the chequered flag, Pilet grappled with deteriorating tyres, bringing the #911 Porsche home in fifth place.
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