The new Porsche 911 GT3 R scored a place on the podium at its first outing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Works drivers Romain Dumas (France) and Sven Müller (Germany) as well as Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France) finished the eight-hour race at Laguna Seca (USA) in third place. Over long stretches, the trio driving the No. 911 vehicle of the American customer team Park Place Motorsports even looked on course for a win. The identical car fielded by the customer team Wright Motorsports had also led the race only to retire early with a technical defect.
Facing the GT3 vehicles from seven other manufacturers, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R proved to have the most consistent pace over the distance, however the drivers were unable to fully use this advantage due to the lack of overtaking opportunities. The No. 911 car had moved into the lead for the first time after around three hours of racing, but after the pit stops was often held up over long stretches by slower cars. As a result, this prevented the final driver Sven Müller from fighting for overall victory at Laguna Seca. Over the entire eight hours of the race, there were no incidents, no caution phases and not one safety car phase.
Bad luck struck the winners of the season-opening round in Bathurst. At around the midway point in the race, Dirk Werner (Germany) pulled into the pits with a defect gearshift component. Until then, the German, who shared the more than 500 hp vehicle with Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Norway), had led the field over many laps. Due to this fault, the No. 912 was forced to retire early.
In the GT4 class, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport fielded by the TRG customer team scored third place with American drivers Chris Bellomo, Jason Alexandridis and Spencer Pumpelly.
Comments on the race
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “We witnessed a strong debut of the new 911 GT3 R in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. We regard a podium result at its first outing as a success. The team effort of our two American customer squads was impressive. A much larger contingent of Porsche 911 GT3 R will race at the next round; the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps. We very much look forward to this classic in the Ardennes.”
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “Here again we were in a position to be able to fight for overall victory. Unfortunately, one car retired, and the other had no problems at all. The speed was there, and the teams’ pit stops were excellent. Park Place Motorsports worked perfectly on minimal pit stop times. Both cars displayed an impressive pace over the distance. This makes us very confident for the remaining races.”
Patrick Lindsey (team owner Park Place Motorsports): “From unloading the vehicles at the track to the chequered flag, our team did a super clean job. The drivers drove an immaculate and impressive race. We absolutely deserve this podium result. The collaboration with Wright Motorsports worked brilliantly. This synergy resulted in two very strong cars in the race. For this reason, I’m very sorry that the number 912 car had to retire early.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “A podium spot is really good, but more would have been possible. It was a tough fight over the distance and we weren’t far off a win. This is the first podium result for the new Porsche 911 GT3 R in this fiercely contested series. Now we’ll closely analyse this race and perform even stronger in Spa.”
Sven Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “We’re satisfied – a podium finish is always a nice reward. We did our best and our performance was flawless. This is the first time we’ve contested a race in America for Park Place Motorsports. With this in mind, it was an all-round strong performance.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “It’s a good result. Still, after many laps at the front of the field, we’d expected a bit more. We had a bit of bad luck with the traffic. Two rivals managed to benefit from this. You can’t do anything about it. After eight hours of racing under green, we were only 20 seconds behind the winners. Everyone in the team can be proud of that.”
John Wright (team boss Wright Motorsports): “The combination of the two American customer squads Park Place Motorsports and Wright Motorsports worked excellently. The result of this intensive and open cooperation was very obvious in the pace of the two Porsche 911 GT3 R at Laguna Seca. Of course, we’re disappointed that the race ended early for us. We would definitely have had a good chance of winning.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “It’s really frustrating when you don’t get the just desserts when things had looked so promising. But sometimes this is just how it goes in motorsport. The important thing is that we managed to show how strong we are in the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. We want to win the next round in Spa.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “It’s really disappointing. We’d fallen behind at the beginning and had to work our way up through the field. I was leading at the halfway mark when the defect occurred. Our car was very fast, the team worked perfectly. We could have controlled the race from the front, but unfortunately we couldn’t reap the rewards of our good work this time.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “We had one of the fastest cars in the field – if not the fastest. Our Porsche 911 GT3 R was simply perfect. Unfortunately, a technical fault threw us out of contention. That’s a shame. Not only for us drivers, but for the entire Wright Motorsports team who did a fantastic job all weekend.”
1. Foster/Slade/Molina, Ferrari 488 GT3 #27, 327 laps
2. Marciello/Buhk/Götz, Mercedes AMG GT3 #999, 327 laps
3. Dumas/Müller/Jaminet, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911, 327 laps
DNF. Werner/Olsen/Campbell, Porsche 911 GT3 R #912, 168 laps