The French crew of the number 911 Porsche 911 RSR, Fred Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, couldn’t quite catch the third placed Corvette for a spot on the podium at the Long Beach street circuit in California. Pilet told us “I was lucky in the first corner after the start. While Richard’s car was forced into the wall, I just managed to scrap through. Our car wasn’t easy to drive in the first laps, but it improved over the course of the race and the balance got better. In fact, we weren’t far off the top with our times. Still, on this narrow circuit it was impossible to overtake.”
His co-driver Frédéric Makowiecki added “We found it very difficult today to get our tyres up to temperature and for this reason we lost quite some time early on. Towards the end we were held up by a lapped competitor. The marshals waved the blue flag at him, but he simply ignored them for three laps. That was anything but fair.”
The 911 RSR fielded by the Falken Tire customer team, driven by Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler and his American team-mate Bryan Sellers finished in sixth.
A collision at the first corner between the number 912 Porsche 911 of Richard Lietz and the Corvette C7R driven by Oliver Gavin, saw the car in the pits for 15 laps before Jörg Bergmeister re-joined the race in attempt to salvage points. He managed to secure 8th position by the end of the day. With a driving time of just 100 minutes, Long Beach is the shortest race for the GTLM class in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, this really didn’t give the Porsche North America team the time they needed to make an impact on the result.
Lietz told reporters what he thought about the incident, “An accident at the start is something you can really do without, particularly on a street circuit like Long Beach. You know that the race is short and that overtaking is difficult, so you try everything to make up positions at the start. That didn’t work this time. I didn’t expect the Corvette to swerve towards me. I couldn’t avoid him and ended up in the wall.”
A determined Bergmeister said “The front of our 911 RSR sustained heavy damage in the accident. After re-joining the race I simply focussed on bringing the car home without risking too much and on at least salvaging a couple of points.”
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, the Porsche Motorsport boss said “We made the best out of the number 911’s unfavourable starting position and made up three places. But the race was simply not long enough to also get past the Corvette. All in all, the team’s performance was strong. It’s too bad about the accident for the 912 car at the start. But in true sporting spirit we continued despite the large gap. Jörg did everything he could with the somewhat dented car.”
Round four of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship is contested on 3 May at Laguna Seca/California. Due to the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC being held at the same time in Spa-Francorchamps, the Porsche works driver Michael Christensen will support Patrick Pilet in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR as well as Jörg Bergmeister as the second driver in the #912 car on the Monterey circuit.
1. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 76 laps
2. Kaffer/Fisichella (D/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 76
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 75
4. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 75
5. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 75
6. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 75
8. Lietz/Bergmeister (A/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 60