Nothing in motorsport is as close as elation and disappointment. Unfortunately, this truth has been proven yet again: the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship saw Porsche customer teams battle it out over six hours at the Watkins Glen race track. But for the 911 RSR piloted by Matt Campbell, Cooper MacNeil and Mathieu Jaminet, the race was over after just three laps. Starting driver Cooper MacNeil collided with a track barrier and his rear caught fire. Despite immediate fire fighting efforts, the race was over for the only 911 RSR on the starting grid before it had even begun. In the GTD class, on the other hand, the Wright Motorsports team led by Porsche works driver Patrick Long had long-standing justified hopes of a podium finish.
IMSA 6h Watkins Glen – a difficult weekend for the Porsche customer teams.
Second place in qualifying for Wright Motorsports.
Amateur driver Trent Hindmann from the USA delivered a great qualifying performance at the wheel of the #16 Porsche 911 GT3 R from Wright Motorsports, giving himself and his team an excellent starting position for the six-hour race with a second place. Sister teams of Pfaff Motorsports and Hardpoint EBM qualified in ninth and thirteenth place for Sunday's race. In the second part of qualifying, in which championship points rather than grid positions were at stake, Porsche works drivers Patrick Long and Laurens Vanthoor as well as Brit Katherine Legge piloted the GT3 cars. The three Porsche cars were also able to secure important points in the fight for the manufacturers' championship.
Unfavourable safety car phase and strategic disadvantage.
Sunday's race could hardly have started any better for the Wright Motorsports team. After just a few laps, amateur driver Trent Hindmann took the lead in the GTD class and handed his 911 GT3 R over to his teammate Jan Heylen in the lead. The Belgian drove a flawless stint. Patrick Long overtook the race car two hours before the end of the race. Due to different pit-stop strategies, he dropped back to second place – but had legitimate hopes of a podium finish. But these different race strategies ultimately meant that the customer team from Ohio could not Text manuscript 2 finish higher than eighth place – right behind the sister team of Pfaff Motorsports. Hardpoint EBM completed the race in tenth place. In a thrilling sprint towards the end of the race, the customer teams delivered a fair exchange of blows.
No rest for the drivers.
Three top 10s is not the result the teams had hoped for – but for Porsche it meant extending its lead in the manufacturers' standings. There is little time for the teams to prepare for the next race. Race #6 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place next weekend – again at Watkins Glen. However, only for a race distance of 2:40 hours.