Porsche has secured a spot on the third grid row in a hotly-contested qualifying at the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Laguna Seca. The number 911 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy (GB) and Patrick Pilet (F) will take up the race on Sunday from position six on the grid. Their team colleagues Earl Bamber (NZL) and Laurens Vanthoor (B) tackle round ten of the season from seventh on the grid in the No. 912 vehicle.
The hunt for top times on the legendary Laguna Seca Raceway in California turned gripping and close. Tandy held off at the beginning of the qualifying in the hope of benefitting from improving track conditions. Sand and dirt on 3.601-kilometre racetrack, however, provided little grip. The British driver concluded the qualifying in 1:22.990 minutes, which put his 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR on P6. Bamber turned a lap just 0.150 seconds slower than his teammate.
In the GTD class, the Porsche customer teams secured good starting positions for the race. Works driver Patrick Long planted the ca. 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R with the starting number 58 on the fourth grid position. The American shares driving duties in the cockpit of the vehicle fielded by Wright Motorsports with Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (DK). Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (USA) take up the penultimate race of the season from fifth place in the identical model campaigned by Park Place Motorsports.
Round ten of the 2018 IMSA SportsCar Championship takes off on Sunday, 9 September, at 14.05 hrs local time (23.05 hrs CEST), and can be viewed live outside the USA and Canada on http://www.imsa.com.
Steffen Höllwarth (Porsche Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “Positions six and seven – this doesn’t look great at first glance. But it’s not the one who is fastest over a single lap that has the best chances. In all of the sessions, we focussed on the longer distance. The performance over the entire race is the key to possible success. The racetrack poses a huge challenge in terms of tyre durability. That’s why we’ve put our main emphasis on the race setup. We’re looking good in the long runs. With this in mind, we’re well prepared for the race.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “That was a difficult qualifying for us. The track temperature was completely different from this morning’s practice. It was difficult to gauge how the tyres would respond. And we didn’t really get everything out of our package. Had we managed to do this, we would have qualified further up the grid. But this doesn’t mean much for the race, because we’ll use different tyres. Over the distance the pecking order can look quite different.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “After the impressions we got from Friday’s session, we’d kind of expected this result. It was hard for us at first to get the best out of the tyres. But in the morning we were satisfied with the performance and were the fastest on the track. However, in the warmer conditions of the qualifying, the balance wasn’t quite right. We have to improve this for the race. If we manage to do this, our chances look good.”
1. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:22.700 minutes
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 1:22.787 minutes
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:22.806 minutes
4. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 1:22.850 minutes
5. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:22.972 minutes
6. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:22.990 minutes
7. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:23.140 minutes
8. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:23.527 minutes
1. Legge/Farnbacher (GB/D), Acura NSX GT3, 1:24.456 minutes
2. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 1:24.595 minutes
3. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 1:24.644 minutes
4. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:24.871 minutes
5. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:24.904 minutes