Published on September 20th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Earl Bamber & his Porsche 911 RSR conquers the heat in Texas
Successful fiery battle: At the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) won the penultimate GTLM race of the IMSA SportsCar Championship with the Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche North America works team. With five manufacturers, this category is the most hotly contested. Their teammates Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) clinched second with the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. After Long Beach, this is the second win this season for the 911 RSR in the USA.
In temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius, Patrick Pilet got the best start on the 5.472 kilometre Grand Prix circuit in the hills near the Texas capital. At the wheel of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, the defending IMSA GT champion snatched one position in the first lap and slotted into second place behind the leading Ferrari. Making the most of his slipstream, Frédéric Makowiecki (#912) also swept past a rival. These three then proceeded to pull clear of their pursuers, putting the 911 on course for podium results shortly after the start.
At the first pit stop, Nick Tandy took over driving duties from Patrick Pilet, with whom he had won the Long Beach race earlier this season. In the 27th lap, he moved into the lead of the GT field. In the second 911 RSR, Earl Bamber maintained third place. In lap 35, the Ferrari again took the lead, but the 911 RSR kept the frontrunner under heavy pressure. With 25 minutes left of the 2.40-hour race, the Ferrari had to make an unscheduled pit stop, thus handing the lead at the hottest race of the year to Porsche. In the final phase, Earl Bamber overtook his leading teammate and secured the first win of the season for him and Frédéric Makowiecki in the most important sports car championship on the North American continent.
Equally as gripping was the GTD-class race in which customer teams campaign the 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R. The former Porsche Junior Alex Riberas (Spain), who had tackled the race from pole position for the Seattle/Alex Job Racing squad, defended his lead over long stretches. His teammate Mario Farnbacher (Germany) was on course to claim a seemingly safe second place when he stranded with an empty tank. In Park Place Motorsports’ 911 GT3 R, Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and his teammate Patrick Lindsey (USA) finished fifth.