Porsche added two class victories today to its international lifetime tally of 30,000-plus wins with titles in both the GTLM and GTD classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The two-hour, 40-minute multi-class race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America was the second win of the season for both the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 (GTLM class) and the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (GTD) in the North American-based race series. Each program also won their classes earlier this year at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Wright Motorsports chased Pfaff to the end earning a third-place finish in the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The victory is 580th and 581st class wins for the German sports car manufacturer in IMSA history, its 14th at Road America since 2000.
This is the home race for the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, and they made the most of the homefield advantage. The normally aspirated Porsche raced by Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) and Porsche factory driver Matt Campbell (Australia) played the pit strategy perfectly to stay in the top-two. MacNeil kept the championship-leading Corvettes in sight before handing over to Campbell – who was seeking his second win at the 4.048-mile track. Campbell then pressured the Corvette while the team played strategy and track position. When the Vette pitted for a last fuel stop, the WeatherTech Porsche assumed the lead and maintained it through to the checkered flag.
The victory is a great sendoff for WeatherTech Racing. The Proton Competition-run team now travels to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. MacNeil will be joined in the No. 79 by factory drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) chasing the LMGTE-Pro honors, August 21 – 22.
The scenario was similar in the Pro-Am style GTD class with track position and pit strategy playing the key role in the success of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Porsche “works” driver Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Porsche one-make champion Zacharie Robichon (Canada). The “Plaid Porsche” owned and operated by Canadian Porsche dealer Pfaff Porsche, ran near the front throughout the day. When the final round of pit stops had sequenced, smart timing and driving placed the No. 9 into the lead of the class for the win. Wright Motorsports chased the Pfaff machine throughout the event, first with Trent Hindman (West Long Branch, New Jersey) and for the final stint Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California). Despite being well-placed and giving a master-level charge to the checkered flag, the Ohio-based No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R racer finished in third-place.
The No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R of Rob Ferriol (Fayetteville, North Carolina) and Katherine Legge (United Kingdom) finished in eight-place in the GTD class.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will have a month off before its next round. The Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, September 10 – 12.
Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
“The race came down to the strategy and the fuel saving between us and the Corvettes. In the end the Proton guys made the right decision to stop when we did for fuel. At the time we thought maybe it was the wrong call. But in the end obviously it all worked out. It was a real fuel race to the end. I am happy for Cooper, David [MacNeil, car owner] and the whole WeatherTech team on a great win today.”
Cooper MacNeil, Driver, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
“This win feels just as good as Sebring. To win at my favorite track, in front of our home crowd and friends and family is great. We have about 300 employees here celebrating with us too, that is very cool. Winning at Road America is always special. This gives us some strong momentum going into Le Mans next week.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“The car was good from the beginning. Zach made my life easy. I had to bring it home with fuel savings and the tires. We have been strong, but we had our mistakes. Now we are back on the level we need. We can carry this on and fight for a championship. That was our goal and still is.”
Zach Robichon, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We were confident. We knew we had a good race car. We had never done more than five laps so we didn’t know what the car would do over a stint. It is a testament to the preparation of the team. We had a race car that was competitive. The pit stop was a fantastic strategy call. The guys saw it and called it and we were able to get in before the yellow. There was a lot of positives that we were not able to show. This weekend we were able to execute on the level we are capable of.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Happy to get back onto the podium after a few rough races. It was a classic endurance race where track position, strategy and a flat-out last stint was required and was a lot of fun. I am proud to get the Wright colors back onto the podium and try and build on this momentum as we head to the west coast.”
Trent Hindman, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Really good job by the Wright Motorsports team. As always, we had the speed that we have had but the luck just hadn’t gone our way. Today, we finally had the fortune in our favor. Great job by Pat and the Wright boys. Big thanks to everyone for their hard work.”