It was a brilliant race weekend for sprint and endurance racing. Fans got a double package of motorsport with the Porsche 963 past Sunday: during the fifth run of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Monza, Italy and during the race even of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Bowmanville, Kanada.
Fifth run of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Monza.
The 6 Hours of Monza were the final World Endurance Championship race ahead of the summer break – and in heated temperatures on and off the track, at that. The thermometer displayed 35 degrees Celsius when both Porsche Penske Motorsport factory vehicles started into the race from positions eight and ten. The Porsche 963 Customer Racing Team Hertz Team JOTA followed from ninth position, the hybrid prototype belonging to Proton Competition from twelfth.
Directly after the first turn, all four teams moved up by one spot due to a collision. Porsche Penske Motorsport opted for a change of strategy after the first Safety Car phase had commenced after 30 minutes: Laurens Vanthoor steered the vehicle with the number 6 into the pit only for refueling. Meanwhile, number 5 stuck to the plan and completed its first stint.
Heated battle: #5 on fourth position.
Repeatedly, the 506 kW-strong (688 HP) Porsche 963 could keep up with the lead. Factory driver trio Frédéric Makowiecki from France, Michael Christensen from Denmark and Dane Cameron from the USA just missed the fourth position by 14 seconds and finished with car #5 on fifth spot. With a retroactive surprise: Due to a penalty, Toyota received additional time, dropping their vehicle onto sixth position. A boon the Porsche 963 #5 team – it moved up by a position onto fourth. Following on seventh position with a greater gap was the sister car with the number six and the team of Kévin Estre from France, André Lotterer from Germany, and Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium.
We delivered a flawless race, and we were also very good from a technical and strategic standpoint. However, the yellow phases had their snags for us.
Porsche 963 #5 factory driver Dane Cameron was also pleased after the race, “Fifth place for our number five Porsche here in Monza – in the end, it was a good day. We made smart tactical decisions during the race and executed them well. We were pretty much at the limit of our current capabilities. It’s a pity that towards the end, our chances of a podium finish slipped through our fingers like they did at Spa. Nevertheless, we made good progress with the Porsche 963 and with the development of the team.”
A great performance by Porsche Penske Motorsport, crowned by the improved position onto fourth spot – much to the joy of the entire team.
Dempsey-Proton with peak performance on the podium.
Porsche could celebrate on multiple fronts in the GTD Am category. The Dempsey-Proton Team with Christian Ried from Germany, Mikkel Pedersen from Denmark and Julien Andlauer from France scored the class victory with the Porsche 911 RSR #77. On spots two and three, the sister vehicles with the numbers #60 and #86 followed.
The Iron Dames also achieved a top success: For the second time of the current WEC season, the team in the pink Porsche 911 RSR managed to score the Pole Position, this time during the Qualifying for the race in Monza. A great starting position for the trio consisting of Sarah Bovy from Belgium, Michelle Gatting from Denmark and Rahel Frey from Switzerland, who determinedly steered their Porsche with the number 85 onto fifth spot of the GTE Am category.
Race 6 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Bowmanville (Canada).
Without a second of a break, Sunday for Motorsport fans continued in the Canadian city of Bowmanville north of Toronto: Fingers crossed for the Porsche cars on the roughly four-kilometer-long racetrack with ten curves and multiple high speed sections.
Unlike in summery Italy, the teams started beneath cloudy skies and with an air temperature around 24 degrees. For the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team drivers Nick Tandy from Great Britain and Mathieu Jaminet from France, the race started from ninth position. They fought their way forward quickly with their Porsche 963 #6 – Jaminet displaying his talent with strong passing maneuvers. To great success: The factory team reached fifth spot in the two hour and forty minute-long race. Following closely was the sister car with the team of Felipe Nasr from Brazil and Matt Campbell from Australia on sixth spot.
JDC-Miller MotorSports on fourth position.
As best-ranked Porsche 963 in the GTP class, the JDC-Miller Motorsports Team just barely missed the podium – and finished in fourth position. “At our third outing, we finished fourth for the second time in a row – we can live with that,” says a satisfied Mike Rockenfeller. “We took small steps again and were in the midfield with our performance. Of course, we were also a bit lucky. We have to be satisfied with that. The team did a good job and Tijmen put up a strong defense at the end. We were the best Porsche. Not bad!”
GTD class: Porsche on the podium.
A grandiose second position was won in the GTD Pro class by the Customer Racing Team Pfaff Motorsports. Thanks to an excellent strategy and strong driving, the team of the Austrian Klaus Bachler and the Frenchman Patrick Pilet passed the competition with their Porsche 911 GT3 R – and scored a well-deserved second spot on the podium.
When one race finishes, the other begins.
After Canada, IMSA fans will only experience a short pit stop until the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship continues on July 22: The GT cars will start into the next race in Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Connecticut. Meanwhile, the GTP class will continue from August 4-6 during the IWSC race on the Road America.
WEC fans will have to wait a while longer. The next race will be the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan on September 10. Time for some refueling – and then it’s fingers crossed again for the next stint on the track.