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Porsche Trio Delighted with Third Major Win of Year

Porsche drivers, Walliser reflect on multiple successes in 2018, capped off with PLM win…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Nick Tandy has praised how well he and co-drivers Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki work together in endurance races after scoring their third major victory of the year in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans. 

The trio’s Porsche 911 RSR took the GT Le Mans class win in the ten-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale after previous victories together at the Nürburgring 24 and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring earlier this year.

“The team is really strong on endurance racing; the car is obviously a great endurance car,” Tandy told Sportscar365.

“It goes to prove how well we work together as an endurance driving team as well. We didn’t look like we were in the race at all. We were a lap down, but there was still a long way of the race to go.”

Despite winning two of the series’ longest races, Porsche faced a challenging run in WeatherTech Championship sprint rounds, with Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor’s class victory at Mid-Ohio being the CORE autosport-run squad’s only other win this season.

Tandy and Pilet’s best finish in a two-hour and 40-minute race came with a fourth at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July following a turbulent season that was marred with several retirements due to mechanical issues.

As a result, the duo, who claimed overall honors at Petit Le Mans in 2015, finished seventh in the GTLM drivers’ championship.

“If it wasn’t for having such a bad run of races throughout the middle of the season, it would be awesome,” Tandy said.

“It’s great to win these single races but we still want to win a championship together.”

Pilet added: “Like Nick said, we had so many bad races with bad luck.

“Some small technical issues or whatever but we could easily have had three more wins during the season and would have been fighting for the championship.

“We always remember the last race and we nearly won the first one of the season in the U.S. We’ll have a good winter.”

Walliser: Porsche “Did not Expect” Such a Successful Year

Porsche couldn’t have expected or planned to win so many major endurance races this year, according to head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser.

In addition to Tandy, Pilet and Makowiecki’s successes in Sebring, Petit Le Mans and the Nürburging, the German manufacturer also took a historic 1-2 class  finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“After we stepped out from LMP, there was more pressure and more opportunities [to do more GT racing],” Walliser told Sportscar365.

“That it would pay out like this, we did not expect it. You cannot. The racing here is way too close that you can’t expect or plan something like this.

“You have to focus on it and prepare for everything but there is nothing that you can plan.”

The wins came at an especially meaningful time for Porsche, with the brand celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

To commemorate the occasion, it has run a number of retro liveries, including homages to the ‘Pink Pig’ and the 911 GT1-98.

Walliser joked that the retro liveries were the cause of the success and indicated that Porsche will run another historic color scheme in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in an attempt to keep the streak alive.

“For sure, we need a special livery!” he said.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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