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Porsche Penske Motorsport wins Watkins Glen

6-hour endurance battle with rain

Porsche Penske Motorsport’s No. 7 Porsche 963 has won the IMSA race in Watkins Glen. The Daytona winners and championship leaders Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron beat their rivals to the finish line after a gripping and rain-sodden six-hour race. The sister car, driven by Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet, ended the day in third place.

The race

With this success in the US state of New York, Porsche, the works team, and the drivers Nasr and Cameron have extended their position to the top of the championship standings. The Stuttgart sports car manufacturer now also leads all classifications of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

Round six of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship began with a rollercoaster ride that lasted almost five hours. The field was turned upside down due to the multiple safety car deployments, rain showers in the first half, and a torrential downpour around two and half hours before the flag. Almost all cars in the top GTP class spent time at the front – including both of Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Porsche 963. The cards were then reshuffled: With 1:20 hours remaining, there was so much water on the tradition-steeped racetrack that the race director red-flagged the event.

Victory was ultimately decided in a thrilling 17-minute showdown. Felipe Nasr and Mathieu Jaminet launched their last-gasp sprint from second and fourth place. After the restart, the Brazilian grabbed the first opportunity and, with an impressive move, swept past the leading Acura. Jaminet also plowed his way up to third place shortly before the chequered flag and took his place on the winners’ podium.

Management comments

“What a nail-biting race in Watkins Glen,” grinned Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “This is our third victory of the season, we’ve climbed the podium at every race so far and have extended our lead in the championship – things couldn’t be better! A huge compliment to our Porsche Penske Motorsport works team and to the drivers, who put in a stellar performance under the trickiest conditions. Many thanks as well to all the employees back in Weissach and our strong partners, who give us excellent support in this project.”

“Our strategists, drivers, and the pit crew did an awesome job in a truly crazy race,” states Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “We demonstrated that we’re adept at handling extremely difficult situations. After our performance in Le Mans, this is great for everyone. Our customer team, JDC-Miller MotorSports put in an extremely strong drive today. Unfortunately, they received a major penalty. Still, congratulations to the team on its first-class work.”

“It’s a banner day for our whole team, and it’s wonderful to see the Porsche 963 in victory lane,” explains Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “Our cars were incredibly fast in the race. The team did a great job under changeable conditions. I’m particularly pleased that our number 7 advanced to the top of the overall leaderboard thanks to this victory. We now have a longer break until the next race at Road America. It’s nice to head into this break with a victorious feeling.”

2024 Championship points

Porsche now holds a 41-point advantage at the top of the manufacturers’ championship. The crew of the No. 7 car and the works drivers Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron lead the team and drivers’ championships with a clear buffer of 93 points. Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet currently rank third. Porsche now ranks first in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, a special classification that includes the five longest races of the year.

JDC-Miller MotorSports customer team dominates in the early phase

The customer team JDC-Miller MotorSports put in an inspired drive during the first hour of the Watkins Glen race. After planting the No. 85 Porsche 963 on P4 in qualifying on Saturday, Phil Hanson set a blistering pace in his opening stint. In the first two laps, the UK driver swept past two rivals and promptly catapulted the bright yellow hybrid prototype into the lead.

However, his teammate Tijmen van der Helm was unable to maintain this position, and bad luck hit Richard Westbrook two hours before the flag. While driving out of the pit lane, the Englishman accidentally knocked over the tire partner Michelin’s RFID system. Consequently, he was handed a five-minute penalty, which heralded the end of his dream of victory. Proton Competition’s identical car took the flag in seventh place overall without any significant incidents.

GT classes: Wright Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R stripped of podium spot

In the GTD class, Wright Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R crossed the finish line in second place after six hours – only for the team with drivers Adam Adelson, Eliott Skeer, and Jan Heylen to lose its podium place shortly afterward. The crew of the No. 120 car had violated the regulations regarding the minimum driving time. Wright Motorsport’s 911 was relegated to 21st place, with the identical cars from MDK Motorsports and Andretti Motorsports taking the flag in ninth and eleventh positions. In the GTD Pro class, AO Racing’s 911 GT3 R, dubbed “Rexy,” finished sixth. As a result, Sebastian Priaulx and the former Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich defended their championship lead.

Round seven of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will be contested on the second weekend in July at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – however, only the two GT classes and the LMP2 category will compete there. The next outing for Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two Porsche 963s and the identical cars from the customer teams will be at Road America in Elkhart Lake on 4 August.

Result Highlights

GTP class:

  • 1. Cameron/Nasr (USA/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 148 laps
  • 2. Bourdais/van der Zande (F/NL), Cadillac #01, + 0.749 seconds
  • 3. Jaminet/Tandy (F/UK), Porsche 963 #6, + 2.819 seconds
  • 7. Bruni/Viscaal (I/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 1 lap down
  • 9. Hanson/Van der Helm/Westbrook (UK/NL/UK), Porsche 963 #85, 2 laps down

GTD-Pro class:

  • 1. Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 140 laps
  • 2. Kirchhöfer/Jarvis (CH/UK), McLaren #9, + 1.340 seconds
  • 3. Garcia/Sims (E/UK), Corvette #3, + 2.517 seconds
  • 5. Heinrich/Priaulx (D/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, + 3.976 seconds

GTD class:

  • 1. Ward/Ellis/Dontje (USA/UK/NL), Mercedes-AMG #57, 140 laps
  • 2. Franco/Costa/Sbirrazzuoli (USA/E/MC), Ferrari #34, + 1.651 seconds
  • 3. Potter/Lally/Pumpelly (USA/USA/USA), Aston Martin #44, + 2.891 seconds
  • 7. Li/Fjordbach/Bachler (CHN/DK/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R #86, + 10.276 seconds
  • 8. Andretti/Chaves/Hargrove (USA/USA/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R #43, + 14.971 seconds
  • 21. Adelson/Skeer/Heylen (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #120, + 0.884 seconds

Above content © 2024 Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG reviewed and edited by Rex McAfee

Race Highlights