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May 29, 2014 - 06:15 AM
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Porsche Motorsports Event Notes. Detroit Sports Car Classic
Posted by: newsla on May 29, 2014 - 06:10 AM
Porsche Motorsports Event Notes. Detroit Sports Car Classic

Porsche Events.
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Date. Saturday, May 31, 2014, 12:10 p.m. ET/ 9:10 a.m. PT
Race Duration. 100-minutes
Classes. GT Daytona class (Porsche 911 GT America)


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Pirelli World Challenge
Date. Race 1: Saturday, May 31, 10:05 a.m. ET/ 7:05 a.m. PT Race 2: Sunday, June 1, 11:00 a.m. ET/ 8:00 a.m. PT
Race Duration. 1-hour each
Classes. GT/GT-A (Porsche 911 GT3 R), GTS (Porsche Cayman S)

Porsche Profile. Event Story Lines

Le Detroit – From Belle Isle to Le Mans

Two of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) teams running Porsche 911 GT Americas at Belle Isle this weekend will be headed to the 24 Hours of Le Mans June 14-15. As previously announced, Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California), Joe Foster (Atlanta, Georgia) and Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) will reunite for the 82nd edition of the French classic, returning to the GTE-AM class with Dempsey Racing-Proton for the second-consecutive year. This June will see the only all-American driver trio in a Porsche 911 RSR built, by regulation, to 2013 specifications. The Dempsey Racing group finished fourth in class a year ago, narrowly missing a podium.

WeatherTech Racing, part of the Alex Job-owned team that runs the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America entry in GTD, will contest Le Mans with drivers Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Bret Curtis. The lineup will drive the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR, also in the GTE-AM class, with Prospeed Competition. The team has joined forces with Porsche stalwart Prospeed Competition out of Belgium. MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) will be running Le Mans for the second time in as many years and Bret Curtis (Lake Sherwood, Calif.) will put a second notch on his Le Mans license having run the race in 2012 with Prospeed. Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) will be in his ninth French 24. MacNeil and Bleekemolen combined to win the 2013 American Le Mans Series GTC title. Bret Curtis is currently competing full time in the Pirelli World Challenge GT Series and has won co-driving with Bleekemolen in the past. Bleekemolen (originally from The Netherlands) won the LMP2 class at Le Mans in 2008 in a Porsche RS Spyder with fellow Dutch countrymen Peter van Merksteijn and Jos Verstappen.

Not Your Run of the Mills Driver
Michael Mills might not be the most well known road racer in the country, but the Angleton, Texas-resident is one of the few amateur drivers who spends every day at the racetrack. Mills’ “day” job is operations director at MSR Houston, a karting and sports car track in the Texas metropolis. The new GT Amateur (GT-A) class in Pirelli World Challenge, for drivers who are not professional racecar drivers, has proven the perfect fit for the former motorcycle racer. Mills, who drives the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, currently leads the class with consistent top-three finishes, including his first class victory in the Grand Prix of Long Beach and his most recent second-place finish late last month at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham Alabama. The early-season successes have given the Texan a total of 225 points – 20 points ahead of his nearest rivals – in the point championship. Mills has both a Sebring and Road Atlanta win under his belt racing the last three years in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA series as well as more than 60 wins in various regional motorcycle racing series. His teammate, German driver Tim Bergmeister, will be striving for his first podium finish of the season in the GT class at Detroit.

Not on Site and Certainly Not Out of Mind; Porsche 911 RSRs Test in Preparation for The Glen
While there is no GT Le Mans (GTLM) class race this weekend at Belle Isle, it does not mean the two teams that contest the category with a trio of Porsche 911 RSRs are not hard at work. The week leading up to the Memorial Day weekend saw both the Porsche North America works program and Team Falken Tire test at Watkins Glen International. The Six Hours of the Glen, scheduled for June 29, is the next round of the Tudor SportsCar Championship. The third round of the four-race Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship – the fifth race overall in the season – will see all classes of IMSA’s top series return to the track in the same race for the first time since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The race is at a critical point in the season championship and for the Endurance Championship, which Porsche currently leads in all categories – manufacturer, team (No. 911) and driver (Richard Lietz, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet) – after winning the first two rounds of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Despite the rain and cold conditions that plagued the two-day test, the multiple days of running provided vital information for Porsche as the highest level of GT car in North America has not run at the New York track in recent memory.

Porsche History – Detroit Belle Isle
Key Victories.
2007 – Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas – Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder – overall and LMP2 winner – defeated LMP1 Audi with last lap pass
2008 – Wolf Henzler/Joerg Bergmeister – Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – GT2 class winner en route to class championship – Pilet/van Overbeek were second for Lizard one-two finish

Porsche Point of View.
Jens Walther, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America
“Detroit offers us an opportunity to highlight our customer programs in both the GT Daytona class and the World Challenge series. As is always the objective of Porsche, our teams have continued to make gains at each race during the 2014 season. We openly admit the natural terrain courses have proven more successful thus far in both the IMSA and World Challenge series. However, with what we have learned at each street race, we have closed the gap overall and are confident we will continue to do so this weekend. Additionally, we look forward to many of our teams and drivers, including the full contingent of Porsche North America works team drivers, competing at Le Mans on June 14th and 15th. It is a very busy and very exciting time to be part of Porsche.”

Jan Heylen, Driver, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America – Tudor United SportsCar Championship
“We’ve had a good start to this year, and overall we’ve had a strong car from day one. That’s encouraging for everyone, but it’s tricky in that we’ve had some tough breaks. I’m looking forward to Detroit, where hopefully we can get things going again and be where we need to be. Overall, the Porsche has been very consistent in speed. We’ve shown we have a fast car, and there’s no reason to think we’re not going to have a podium later in the year. Everyone is motivated. The whole second half of the season can be as good as the first, performance wise, and get us back in front of the championship. Detroit is back on the street courses, and that’s what I like. I’m looking forward to it even though it’s a new track for me. It’s also good that Madison Snow has been here before, so it’ll give us a nice edge in the early goings of the weekend."

Tim Bergmeister Driver, No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R – Pirelli World Challenge
“The main difference for me between endurance racing and World Challenge is to be the only driver in the car – no driver changes or fuel stops. Also, doing standing starts again, like my Supercup days, is really nice. Managing the GTS [class] traffic is a new experience as I am usually in a GT car, the slowest class in endurance racing, and the faster cars are passing me. Now I am doing the passing of the slower classes. I enjoy every race in World Challenge and I am quite positive that EFFORT Racing will improve again in Detroit.”

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