Porsche GT Team 2018 preview

January 19, 2018

Porsche GT Team 2018 preview

January 19, 2018

michelinracingusa.com will preview its GT Le Mans technical partner teams in the run up to next week’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Next up is the Porsche GT Team, which narrowly missed a win here last year.


Car: Porsche 911 RSR
Drivers: 911-Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy/Fred Makowiecki (endurance races), 912-Laurens Vanthoor/Earl Bamber/Gianmaria Bruni (endurance races)
2017 Points Finishes: 911-5th Place, 912-6th Place
2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona Finishes: 911-2nd Place, 912-6th Place

You can never count out Porsche. The latest new 911 RSR with the engine in front of the rear axle, which debuted last year, moves into its second season in the championship. The last time Porsche had a new GTE-specification car in its second year, the previous generation 911 RSR swept to a dominant championship in 2015, thanks to a mix of a steady driving lineup and a meshing with Michelin’s new “single stint” tire that premiered midseason. There was a rather memorable overall win in the rain at Petit Le Mans that year too…

So what does year two for this group look like now? For starters, Patrick Pilet (right) and Laurens Vanthoor are retained from last year, and after the end of Porsche’s LMP1 program, the nearly inseparable duo of Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber are back Stateside after a one-year absence.

Tandy will be paired with Pilet in a reunion of the lineup that saw Pilet won the 2015 GT Le Mans driver’s title. Meanwhile, Bamber and Vanthoor are a fresh blend of mid-20s factory aces that have blossomed in their early years with Porsche.

Vanthoor now knows the U.S. scene after his first year last year, and will have a steady teammate after rotating through three co-drivers last year in Kevin Estre, Wolf Henzler and Gianmaria Bruni (pictured with Bamber). Michael Harvey, a veteran past champion team manager in another IMSA series, joins this team on the ground to oversee the proceedings.

The car itself had its good and bad days in 2017, as one would expect for a new piece of machinery. Pilet’s final stint at Daytona nearly netted the car a debut victory and he and Dirk Werner combined to produce the car’s first win at Lime Rock later in the season. There were other weekends the new Porsche was mired at the back of the GT Le Mans class, which always seemed odd to witness.

With the combination of drivers now intact after a rotation throughout 2017, Porsche looks to 2018 ready to ascend back to the top of the class, and add yet another round of accolades to the seemingly eternal book of chapters covering the Porsche 911’s glory in sports car racing.

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