Porsche’s two factory GT Le Mans class entries have been withdrawn from this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio due to several positive COVID-19 tests within the team from the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The German manufacturer has quarantined all of its staff and factory drivers that were part of last weekend’s French endurance classic after routine COVID-19 testing on Sunday revealed three positive cases.
It confirmed late Monday that nine of its factory drivers would not be taking part in this weekend’s Nürburgring 24, which has included the withdrawal of Manthey Racing’s factory-crewed Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Laurens Vanthoor — were also competing at Le Mans and therefore have followed the same protocol outlined by Porsche Motorsport.
With only Earl Bamber available out of its regular lineup, it has forced the CORE autosport-run operation to pull out of this weekend’s race.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Fritz Enzinger.
“This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
It will result in a four-car GTLM field for Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute race, with Porsche now essentially out of the title race due to its withdrawal from the event.
The four drivers are currently tied for fifth in the drivers’ championship, 20 points behind points leaders Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor of Corvette Racing.
Bamber, meanwhile, has been reassigned to a KCMG Porsche for the Nürburgring 24 this weekend, as one of several replacement drivers to support Porsche’s effort in the race.
Despite rumors of the program being terminated altogether, five races early from its planned end, Sportscar365 understands the team plans to be back in action next month at Charlotte Motor Speedway.