***Earl Bamber’s run in the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, which saw lap times unofficially clocked in the 1:07 range, could have been significantly faster, with LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl hinting to Sportscar365 that a sub-1:00 lap may be realistically achievable in the 1,000-plus horsepower beast.
***Porsche has opted not to attempt a record lap around WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the car instead completing “demonstration laps” over the weekend with Bamber and Timo Bernhard, in the final public outing prior to its retirement to the Porsche Museum later this year.
***Bamber, who turned his first laps in the car on Friday morning, joins Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Nürburgring Nordschleife record holder Bernhard in having experienced the 919 Hybrid Evo at racing speeds.
***While admitting his desire to get behind the wheel of the car, Mark Webber said it would have been a “selfish proposal” to ask for seat time. “The car’s having enough fun with the guys involved,” he told Sportscar365. “I’m happy to watch from a distance. I don’t need to get sweaty about it.”
***Thirteen of the 18 Porsche factory drivers are in attendance this weekend, including the first-ever Rennsports for Laurens Vanthoor, Gianmaria Bruni and Sven Mueller.
***Vanthoor took over Porsche’s Instagram account on Thursday, providing fans with a behind-the-scenes look of the trackside festivities.
***Patrick Pilet completed his first laps in the 2015 IMSA GT Le Mans class championship-winning Porsche 911 RSR on Friday since claiming overall victory with the car at Petit Le Mans that year, alongside Nick Tandy in the rain-shortened race.
***The Frenchman purchased the car from Porsche for his personal collection, which also includes a road-going 911. “The collection is quite small,” Pilet said. “I have a wife and I don’t have a big garage, so if I want to stay married I have to stop with what I have now!”
***Fellow factory driver Richard Lietz, meanwhile, owns his FIA World Endurance Championship-winning Porsche from 2015, although it remains on display in Manthey Racing’s showroom this weekend. “The plan is to one rollout per year, just for the machinery not to get rusty or have any damage from sitting around,” he said. “But every time you start it, it costs money.”
***As many as 20 drivers are set to take part in the first-ever Porsche tractor races on Saturday and Sunday. The pair of races, which will run from the start/finish line to Turn 5, will feature a Le Mans-style start.
***Among those expected to participate include David and Cooper MacNeil and Patrick Long, although a final entry list has not yet been released.
***The MacNeil’s have brought a half-dozen cars to Rennsport, including ex-Penske and Essex Racing Porsche RS Spyders driven by Cooper and Gunnar Jeannette.
***2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour class winner David Calvert-Jones is also here with his Porsche 911 GT3 R, which is due to be shipped back to Australia following this weekend’s event for another run in the around-the-clock enduro next February.
***Timo Bernhard told Sportscar365 that he expects a similar program for Team75 Bernhard next year, having ruled out an expansion to the Blancpain GT Series for his family-run squad, which currently competes in ADAC GT Masters.