Porsche enters final IMSA round in the points lead
10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will be a challenge
Porsche 963, JDC-Miller MotorSports (#5), Tijmen van der Helm (NL), Mike Rockenfeller (D)
Porsche Penske Motorsport has a chance to sweep the title in the top GTP class at the final round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The factory squad travels to the 10-hour race at Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia with its two Porsche 963 as the leaders of the manufacturers’ standings. The ten-hour “Petit Le Mans” race has been a regular fixture on the North American sports car calendar since 1988. The extremely popular event will be contested for the 26th time on the 4.088-kilometre Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The undulating track located about 80 kilometers northeast of Atlanta in the US state of Georgia features twelve turns – including the famous ‘esses’, an ultra-fast, snake-like passage.
The two driver crews Jaminet/Tandy and Campbell/Nasr also have a chance of winning the drivers’ championship, with the Porsche Penske Motorsport team within striking distance of clinching the team trophy. At the so-called “Petit Le Mans”, the customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition each field a 515+ kW (700 PS) hybrid prototype from Weissach. A total of five Porsche 911 GT3 R cars from experienced partner teams will tackle the two GT classes.
For the nail-biting finale on the spectacular Road Atlanta racetrack, the regular drivers will be joined in the works cockpits by a third driver. Mathieu Jaminet from France and Nick Tandy from the UK share the No. 6 car with Belgian factory driver Laurens Vanthoor. In the No. 7 sister car, Matt Campbell from Australia and Felipe Nasr from Brazil will receive support from the American Josef Newgarden. During summer, Newgarden won the highlight of the North American Indycar racing series, the Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske. The trio from Porsche Penske Motorsport prepared for the “Petit Le Mans” with comprehensive test drives.
The factory team
For the ten-hour race, three drivers will share driving duties in each of the two Porsche 963 fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport. At the wheel of the No. 6 entry, which recently won in Indianapolis, regular drivers Nick Tandy from Great Britain and Mathieu Jaminet from France take turns with the Belgian Laurens Vanthoor. In the No. 7 sister car, Road America winners Matt Campbell from Australia and Felipe Nasr from Brazil will be joined in the cockpit by Josef Newgarden. As the reigning Indy 500 champion, the American IndyCar driver from Team Penske will be competing in the Porsche 963 for the first time. In preparation, Newgarden completed several tests, including on Road Atlanta.
The customer teams
In the top GTP class, the customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition tackle the race with one Porsche 963 each. Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm from the Netherlands are joined in the cockpit of the US team’s No. 5 car by the British Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button. Proton Competition’s No. 59 vehicle will be driven by Porsche works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy, Englishman Harry Tincknell and Neel Jani from Switzerland.
Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R contests the GTD Pro category. The Canadian customer team’s No. 9 entry is shared by the Austrian Klaus Bachler, Frenchman Patrick Pilet and the French works driver Kévin Estre. The regular duo clinched class victory in Sebring in March with works driver Laurens Vanthoor. In the GTD class, three customers will field a total of four ca. 415 kW (565 PS) GT3 vehicles from Weissach.
Overview of cars and drivers
GTP class (Porsche 963):
JDC-Miller MotorSports #5: Mike Rockenfeller (D) / Tijmen van der Helm (NL) / Jenson Button (UK)