Porsche enters key race in Long Beach with momentum

April 12, 2018

Porsche enters key race in Long Beach with momentum

April 12, 2018

Porsche’s actual home is Germany, but its spiritual home in the U.S. could be Southern California.

California is renowned for its car culture and Porsche has noted that. Its second Porsche Experience Center opened recently in Carson, Calif., not far from Los Angeles. The first is in Atlanta. The streets of Long Beach represent a place for Porsche to star for its legion of fans.

“After our phenomenal win at the Sebring 12-hour classic, we’re now going to tackle the shortest race of the season at Long Beach. The contrast couldn’t be greater,” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche’s President of Motorsport and GT cars.

“California is the most important Porsche market in the United States. That makes this race a very special challenge for us. Many of our customers and fans travel from far and wide to watch the 911 RSR on a fascinating city circuit.

“For us, this intense interest is an obligation to do everything we can to fight for victory and give the spectators an impression of this Porsche’s potential. Aside from that, Long Beach, which is regarded as the Monte Carlo of America for good reason, is an absolute highlight of the season.”

The Porsche GT Team enters Saturday’s 100-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race (4 p.m. ET, FOX) on a high from its win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki took the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR to victory last time out. All three drivers factored in Porsche’s most recent GT Le Mans class win here.

In 2016, Makowiecki attempted to pass Tommy Milner’s Corvette at the hairpin, but nudged Milner into a spin. The resulting contact opened the door for Tandy to power through and score the victory.

Pilet and Tandy made up significant ground in the GTLM championship chase with their Sebring win. They’re five points back of leaders Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, in the No. 67 Ford GT.

“Long Beach is a very special place to go racing. It’s a fantastic city circuit and great fun,” Tandy said. “The comparison to Monaco really fits.

“The racetrack is tricky and the more rubber that’s left on the track, the faster we get from one practice to the next. Finding the perfect setup for our 911 RSR during the short practice session puts the entire team under pressure right from the start.”

Teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in the sister No. 912 car finished third at Sebring, a strong achievement as well. Both love racing on street courses, with Bamber noting how much fun they are.

“Long Beach is unique. The city circuit is one of the most beautiful in the world, but it’s also one of the most difficult,” he said. “There are virtually no run-off areas. Every mistake has immediate consequences. If you take a corner too fast you’ll hit the wall. I love street circuits. They’re something very special and a wonderful change for us drivers. And aside from that, California with its sun and beaches is simply fun.”

Can Porsche win its second straight race this year? Tune in this weekend to find out.

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