Porsche’s factory campaign in the North American sports car scene came to an end for at the moment last weekend with the final outing in Sebring.
At the twelve-hour race in Florida, the Porsche GT Team and its long-standing partner Core Autosport once again made a strong impression: At a spectacular final round of the season, the two Porsche 911 RSR took the flag in first and second place.
The emotional and extremely successful farewell from the fiercely competitive GTLM class contested by numerous manufacturers in North America concludes a seven-year programme that yielded an outstanding record: Seven title wins in the IMSA series, five championships in the North American Endurance Cup, 21 race wins and 56 podium results went to Porsche.
Perfect debut with major wins and many titles
When the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am racing series merged to become the Tudor United SportsCar Championship at the beginning of 2014, Porsche makes a decision: This new sports car scene would become the playing field for a new works squad and two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Joining forces with the experienced Core Autosport team from the US state of South Carolina, a top squad is created within a very short time. At the very first outing, the team scores a major achievement. Works drivers Nick Tandy from Great Britain, Richard Lietz from Austria and Patrick Pilet from France celebrate a class win at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
In the second round of the season, the legendary Sebring 12-hour classic, their factory colleagues Michael Christensen from Denmark, Jörg Bergmeister from Germany and American Patrick Long triumph. After strong performances at the following races and another victory at Petit Le Mans, Porsche promptly takes home the manufacturer’s title at the end of the season.
Unforgotten: Overall victory for Porsche at the Petit Le Mans in 2015
Fans are in awe and the strong rivals in the GTLM class cheer when the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart harvests all titles in the North American Endurance Cup in its first year. This competition includes the longest and toughest races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and the spectacular Road America. It is on this very racetrack not far from the headquarters of Porsche Cars North America that the works squad notches up what is arguably its greatest success in North America.
At Petit Le Mans in Braselton in early October 2015, Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz not only beat their GTLM rivals but also outstrip the prototype vehicles in heavy rain. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR scores the overall victory. This incredible feat hands Porsche its second straight manufacturers’ title as well as the team championship, with the prestigious drivers’ crown in the US racing series taken by factory driver Patrick Pilet.
New Porsche 911 RSR outpaces the competition in the 2017 endurance events
The 2016 season turns out differently – at first. The organisers now run the championship under the new name IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and Porsche fields the brand new 911 RSR for the first time. In the fierce competition against five other manufacturers in the GTLM class, the factory team under the name Porsche North America leaves the season-opening classics at Daytona and Sebring empty-handed. However, at round three on the spectacular street circuit of Long Beach in California, the works squad are back on the road to success. Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy clinch the maiden win for the new 911 RSR on the racetrack close to Los Angeles.