At the halfway point in the 2018/2019 WEC Super Season, Porsche leads the field in the GT Manufacturers title by a healthy margin. This position was undoubtedly helped by the huge points haul following the momentous 1-2 result in the Le Mans 24 Hour race back in June. But the broader picture also shows that Porsche’s two cars have combined well, both finishing higher at each race than the other teams. The WEC though, is seldom without drama of some kind, and news of a twist in the championship broke after the Fuji race (see below). Porsche’s weekend victory haul of a win in the WEC Fuji 6 Hours was preceded by a win for the factory team in the final round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on Saturday.
Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta
Qualifying for the ten-hour race at Braselton, Georgia on Saturday, the field was well mixed with the top three places in the field being filled by three different manufacturers. The #24 BMW was on pole followed by the #3 Corvette and the #912 Porsche, with the #911 Porsche down in fifth place in class.
With consistent lap times and well executed pit stops by the #911 Porsche, the trio of Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki worked their way up through the field during the race. With approximately three hours left on the clock, Makowiecki moved into the lead and successfully defended his position which left Tandy with the task of bringing the car over the finish line in first place. Frédéric Makowiecki said after the race, “Victory at Sebring, at the Nürburgring and now here – amazing! It shows just how well Patrick, Nick and I work as a team. Again today, we always believed we could do it and we stayed calm even in difficult situations.”
For 71 laps, the #912 sister car driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet was also on course for victory, despite a puncture early on in the ten-hour race. A drive-through penalty, however, threw the trio down the field. Bamber, Vanthoor and Jaminet tried everything to catch up. However, the fierce competition in the GTLM prevented them from making up lost ground. The #912 vehicle crossed the finish line in sixth place in class. And after the race, Earl Bamber commented, “We definitely had a winning car today. That’s why it was extremely disappointing to receive a drive-through penalty. It ruined our chances of winning.” Laurens Vanthoor added, “This race actually went like the second half of the season: We had every chance to win, but we walked away empty handed. Congratulations to our teammates in the #911. It was a tremendous achievement for Patrick, Nick and Fred.”
In the GTD class, the Porsche customer team, Wright Motorsports, finished the final race of the season in fourth place. Works driver Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen and Robert Renauer put in a strong drive in the #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R. However, a drive-through penalty also cost them a possible class win. Unfortunately, the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Wolf Henzler, Timothy Pappas and Spencer Pumpelly had to retire early from the race.
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