When the checkered flag flew on the Motul Petit Le Mans, the focus for Wright Motorsports shifted directly into another endurance race, in turning around its Porsche 911 GT3 R for this weekend’s California 8 Hours.
The Ohio-based team had had less than a week to transform its No. 58 car into the factory-backed No. 911 entry and send it across the country to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
It has put the John Wright-led crew’s endurance skills to the test.
“It was always the plan for this car to run the California 8 Hours, so with the events being back-to-back all of the suspension components and the gearbox were prepped to do a 24-hour race before we even got to Petit Le Mans,” explained Wright Motorsports technical director Bob Viglione.
Viglione said the team knew what was at stake even entering the ten-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale, which saw Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen and Robert Renauer drive to a fourth place class finish in GT Daytona.
“Thankfully it wasn’t anything critical, but we definitely had damage from contact at Petit,” he said.
“Some of the curb riding at Road Atlanta is also pretty severe, even with the car raised to accommodate it.
“Because of that the rocker panels, the floor boards and some of the fender mounts needed to be repaired; which is what really placed it outside of normal endurance prep.”
Following the Oct. 13 race, the team was able to take advantage of the man power that they already had on site and completed most of the heavy labor at Road Atlanta.
Once packed up on Sunday evening, the Porsche was shipped 500 miles north to Ohio, only to be back in the crew’s hands by Monday morning.
Apart from the apparent switch from Continental to Pirelli tires, a change in championship meant a change in specifications to the Porsche as well.
While the core of the car is the same FIA GT3-spec Porsche, both the weight and restrictor size needed to be dialed back to meet SRO Motorsport Group’s Balance of Performance tables.
That however, was only the beginning of it.
“For any endurance race we essentially have to have a full second car’s worth of body panels in case of an incident,” Viglione added.
“A huge part of this turn-around once we got back to the shop was going through all of our spares and making sure every part was cleaned, replaced, straightened and ready to go.
“We also had to do general maintenance— inspect the suspension, check the wiring, nut and bolt the whole car, and run through data from the race.
“Once all of that was complete and everything was functioning in its proper operating window, we felt confident loading the car on Friday morning.”
Porsche factory drivers Romain Dumas, Fred Makowiecki and Dirk Werner, who completed the opening three rounds of the season in a Manthey-entered car, will share driving duties of the No. 911 Wright entry this weekend.
It will be the only all-pro-crewed Porsche in the race.