After breaking the record books last time out, Porsche will be seeking to extend its win streak to six this weekend at Lime Rock Park, in what’s been a “sensational” last few months for the manufacturer in IMSA competition, according GT factory motorsport director Pascal Zurlinden.
Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber gave the factory squad its fifth consecutive GT Le Mans class victory in the most recent round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, smashing the previous four-race record held by multiple GTLM teams in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
With strong momentum behind them, and no Balance of Performance adjustments made to the GTLM class for this weekend’s Northeast Grand Prix, Zurlinden is confident their string of success can continue in Saturday’s two-hour and 40-minute GT-only race.
“We are determined to continue our sensational winning streak at Lime Rock,” Zurlinden said. “At this race on the small circuit in Connecticut, it would be particularly important to finish in first place – because it’s one of the very few chances in the IMSA series to celebrate overall victory.
“After our five straight wins, we’re certainly not about to lean back. We’re leading the championship, and it should remain like this to the end of the season.”
Vanthoor and Bamber retook the lead of the drivers’ championship with their third class win of the season and now sit four points ahead of teammates Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, who claimed top class honors in the Michelin Endurance Cup races at Sebring and Watkins Glen.
The No. 3 Corvette Racing duo of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen are closest in pursuit to the Porsches, 11 points behind #Bamthor.
Porsche, meanwhile, has a size-able 24-point lead in the manufacturers’ standings over BMW heading into the final five rounds of the season.
“Porsche has always performed strongly at Lime Rock,” Vanthoor said. “After our recent five successive wins, we’re feeling very optimistic but also totally focused.
“Our great run can only continue if we make the absolute best out of the possibilities once again in the upcoming race. We want to stay at the lead.”
Lime Rock was the site of the mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR’s maiden win with Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in 2017 and has gone on to collect key victories in all of the major endurance races.
The 2015 GTLM champion expects to have another competitive showing this weekend, which could see the continuation of an intra-team rivalry.
“The course suits our Porsche 911 RSR with its relatively short wheelbase,” Pilet explained. “We’ll definitely be competitive there.
“For me personally, I’d like to reclaim the lead of the drivers’ championship with my teammate Nick. The duel against our works colleagues in the 912 car has been great fun.”