porsche penske long beach2

IMSA Long Beach: Penske Porsche make history

IMSA Long Beach: Penske Porsche make history porsche penske long beach2

While Formula 1 is in a far-too-long early season hiatus, and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) camped in the hills of Portimao, history was made at Long Beach when Roger Penske’s team scored its first IMSA sports car victory since reuniting with Porsche.

Mathieu Jaminet won the race under caution for Porsche Team Penske when Ricky Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing crashed trying to pass him for the win. The win for Jaminet and Nick Tandy was the first since Penske launched the program, which dabbled in the WEC last season before entering IMSA’s top class this year.

The Taylor crash pushed Connor De Philippi and Nick Yelloly of BMW into second for the second consecutive race, with Penske taking third with Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr. Jaminet and Tandy delivered the first victory for the Porsche 963 by completing the entire 100-minute race on a single set of Michelin tires.

A spin by Sebastien Bourdais at the start knocked the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac out of the race. He collected the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Tom Blomqvist, who dropped a lap off the pace. Bourdais’ car, which sustained nose damage, was stranded in the Turn 1 runoff and brought out the race’s first yellow.

Meanwhile, in the GTD Pro class, Vasser Sullivan scored a commanding win with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat. Barnicoat drove the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 to the win over the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD of Jordan Taylor.

Hawksworth started from class pole and never gave up the lead. Barnicoat only extended the lead following the driver change. It was the duo’s first GTD Pro class win since last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.

In GTD, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow won for Paul Miller Racing in a BMW M4 GT3. It was the duo’s third consecutive win on the downtown streets of Long Beach.

Tandy: The first victory for the Porsche 963 feels fantastic

Jaminet summed up his day after the race: “What a terrific feeling! We’re all very relieved. When the Acura appeared in my rear-view mirror towards the end, I knew he was going to attack – after all, I was on the back foot with significantly older tires.

“He tried to out-brake me in the first corner. I immediately realized he wasn’t going to make the corner and took evasive action while he landed in the tire barriers. That was some real nail-biting stuff at the end of the race. Now, we’re celebrating the Porsche 963’s first victory!”

Teammate Tandy added: “It was clear to us before the start that we couldn’t win the race based on our pace. We didn’t have the fastest car. So, we thought through all possible strategies before race day and agreed not to change the tires.

“That’s the beauty of sprint races in the IMSA series: there are always many conceivable scenarios and sometimes a gamble pays off. We didn’t know whether the tires would last the distance, but it worked out. We also owe our victory to our colleague Matt Campbell, who put in a terrific performance in the battle for second place.

“That was a super strong effort from him! The first victory for the Porsche 963 feels fantastic. It’s a well-deserved reward for everyone around the world who put an incredible amount of work into this project,” added Tandy.

Diuguid: This day will go down in the history of our team

The significance of Porsche’s win in the top tier of the IMSA Sportscar Championship is that the great German manufacturer is also contesting the top tier of WEC, this weekend in Portugal as they revive their global endurance racing campaign; victory at Long Beach a boost for their latest multi-platform racing programme.

“What an exciting and fantastic race,” says a delighted Thomas Laudenbach, V-P Porsche Motorsport. “It was a spectacle from the first to the last lap. Our team chose an optimal strategy and did a perfect job with the pit stops. Our drivers gave their utmost and drove flawlessly without exception despite coming under enormous pressure.

“This performance was deservedly rewarded with our first victory. Many thanks to everyone in the team, our employees in Weissach and all our partners who made this success possible. I’m sure today’s victory will give our team extra motivation in the FIA ​​WEC as they head into Sunday’s race in Portugal,” added Laudenbach.

Jonathan Diuguid, MD Porsche Penske Motorsport “This day will go down in the history of our team. The first victory with the Porsche 963 is incredibly important to us. We put in so much energy and work to be able to celebrate such a success.

“Our strategy was certainly risky, but it paid off. We owe this triumph to every single person in the team. What Matt Campbell did in the battle for second place at the end was awesome. He had the sister car’s back in the important final phase. I’m enormously proud of the entire team!” declared Diuguid.

Thanks to this victory at Long Beach, Tandy and Jaminet have taken the lead in the drivers’ championship. In the GTP class manufacturer’s classification, Porsche ranks third. Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested in Laguna Seca on May 14. (Additional Reporting by Jenna Fryer,  Associated Press)