Round eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Road America in Wisconsin took off with a surprise for the Porsche Penske Motorsport team: Because the pole-sitting Cadillac failed to turn up on the grid in time after an accident during warm-up, Matt Campbell inherited the front spot. During his stint, the Australian proved unbeatable. After just three laps, he had increased his advantage at the front to more than four seconds. Campbell then continued to pull clear of his pursuers, stretching the gap to well over ten seconds before handing the car off to his teammate Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian then defended the top spot uncontested to take the flag in first place. In the end, hybrid prototype 963 from Weissach crossed the finish line with a 4.635-second lead.
The No. 6 sister car only managed to tap the huge potential of the Porsche 963 in the first half hour. In the early stages, Nick Tandy worked his way through the field to fourth place, only to be struck by a major setback: a puncture in the right rear tire. The UK driver carefully limped back to the pits for an unscheduled stop – which cost him around two minutes. With no full course yellows, it proved impossible to close the gap in the action-packed race. Ultimately, Tandy and his teammate Jaminet finished seventh.
The customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition had a strong drive to finish in positions five and eight. In the GT classes, the five Porsche 911 GT3 R again could not claim a podium spot.
Campbell/Nasr (AUS/BR), Porsche 963 #7, 80 laps
Blomqvist/Braun (UK/USA), Acura #60, 80 laps
Taylor/Albuquerque (USA/P), Acura #10, 80 laps
Rockenfeller/van der Helm (D/NL), Porsche 963 #5, 80 laps
Tandy/Jaminet (UK/F), Porsche 963 #6, 80 laps
Bruni/Tincknell (I/UK), Porsche 963 #59, 80 laps
Gunn/Riberas (UK/E), Aston Martin #23, 73 laps
Hawksworth/Barnicoat (UK/UK), Lexus #14, 72 laps
Garcia/Taylor (E/USA), Corvette #3, 72 laps
Bachler/Pilet (A/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 72 laps
Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), BMW #1, 72 laps
Iribe/Schandorff (USA/DK), McLaren #70, 72 laps
Skeen/Grenier (USA/CDN), Mercedes-AMG #32, 72 laps
Metni/van Berlo (USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 72 laps
Hyett/Priaulx (USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 72 laps
Brule/Udell (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 71 laps
Brynjolfsson/Hindman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 70 laps
“Congratulations to the team and our drivers: That was a flawless team effort. After a difficult first day of practice, we consolidated our efforts to turn things around and tapped the huge potential of the Porsche 963 in qualifying and the race. This was possible thanks to the perfect synergy between the crew at the track and the team back in Weissach. Everyone put in a strong performance. The pace of our number 6 was great too. Unfortunately, a puncture destroyed all hopes – that’s how it goes in motor racing sometimes. I take my hat off to our customer teams in the GTP class, who put in a clean performance and fast lap times here.”
Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport
“Everyone did an excellent job. We didn’t have the pace on Friday, but we saw today that the team worked together to perform well in the race. Both cars had great pace. Unfortunately, our number 6 entry lost positions due to a puncture early in the race, but at least it managed to get back into the same lap as the leader. Matt and Felipe did a perfect job in the No. 7 car – and that effort earned us our victory. Now we’ve won one race each with both cars. That’s fantastic. We also closed the gap in the manufacturers’ championship.”
In the manufacturers’ standings, Porsche has advanced to third place. With two more races remaining, the gap to the top is only 47 points. In the drivers’ championship, Tandy/Jaminet and Campbell/Nasr rank fourth and seventh respectively and still have an outside chance of winning the title.
The two Porsche 963 racing cars fielded by customer teams delivered strong and flawless drives. Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and his Dutch teammate Tijmen van der Helm set an impressive pace at times in the No. 5 JDC-Miller MotorSports car, even matching the pace of the factory squad. The car decked out in its bright yellow livery concluded the race in fifth place overall. The identical GTP model campaigned by Proton Competition finished its IMSA series debut in eighth with works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Englishman Harry Tincknell.
The customer teams in the two GT classes had no chance to fight for the podium. In the GTD-Pro category, Pfaff Motorsport’s 911 GT3 R piloted by Austrian Klaus Bachler and Frenchman Patrick Pilet finished fourth. In the GTD class, the identical nine-elevens from Wright Motorsports, AO Racing and Kellymoss with Riley finished ninth, eleventh, 13th and 14th.
The next GTP round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on 17 September at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The American racing series will make its maiden guest outing on the so-called “Brickyard” – which is a combination of the oval outer track and an infield course. Formula 1 used this track layout between 2000 and 2007.