porsche ended its imsa campaign in 2019 at petit le mans in october with six victories and a championship double. almost exactly one year later, and the german powerhouse sits behind both corvette and bmw in the standings with a handful of podiums but no wins.
体育赛事投注平台it’s a sobering turn of fortune for the defending champions in a year where they have not necessarily been outpaced. in fact, far from it: the pairings of nick tandy and fred makowiecki and laurens vanthoor and earl bamber have look downright dominant at times, with a stunning qualifying performance at virginia international raceway springing to mind.
体育赛事投注平台there were cases where porsche was genuinely outpaced on the road, like at the weathertech 240 at daytona, where vanthoor and bamber were beaten on the road by antonio garcia and jordan taylor to kickstart corvette’s run of momentum. the same was the case in the rolex 24 at daytona, where they started the year out alright, debuting the porsche 911 rsr-19 in american competition.
the all-new car had already been a proven race winner in the fia world endurance championship and proved its credentials by going toe-to-toe for victory with bmw, but coming up narrowly short in second and third.
体育赛事投注平台since those two daytona rounds, however, things have gone downhill fast and in most cases it’s just been downright rotten luck that has befallen the two porsches. in the cadillac grand prix at sebring, the two cars looked strong and laurens vanthoor was leading the race. that was until a pitstop mishap saw team-mate nick tandy rip the belgian’s front bumper clean off with contact on pit road, leaving vanthoor limping back round for repairs, while tandy would later suffer a puncture as a result of the damage.
it was much the same tale at road america, where vanthoor and bamber were once again leading when a massive downpour struck. with his radio malfunctioning, bamber missed a call to come in for wets and aquaplaned right off the circuit. tandy would also later slide off the track.
at virginia international raceway, a dominant performance from tandy and makowiecki was undermined by late puncture, which transformed a certain win to a heartbreaking third. bamber and vanthoor were once again taken out of contention in virginia, this time with diffuser damage following contact with a bmw.
more mechanical mishaps followed for bamber and vanthoor at the tirerack.com grand prix at road atlanta, where a brake issue cost them several laps while tandy and makowiecki once again looked set for victory until being outpaced by bmw and corvette in the final stint.
as the old saying goes: when it rains, it pours, which was definitely the case for porsche after the covid-induced break. things only became worse after road atlanta when the team sat out the mid-ohio round altogether following three positive covid-19 tests at le mans, which led porsche to withdraw all personnel who were present at le mans. this included all but one of their gtlm drivers, which left the imsa squad with little choice but to sit the race out.
and yet, with all of the bad luck and mishaps that had befallen porsche throughout the 2020 season, saturday night’s dark and rainy race at the charlotte motor speedway roval was something of a new low. it was always going to be a difficult race going in, with a new and unforgiving track and limited preparation. mistakes would be likely, and that’s exactly what happened.
it began in qualifying, when laurens vanthoor made a rare mistake and smacked the #912 porsche 911 into the wall at turn 7, ending his session early. on the bright side, a strong showing for fred makowiecki gave porsche a front row start, as the frenchman just missed out on pole by 0.056s.
体育赛事投注平台that evening, however, things would take a turn for the worse. heavy rain struck the roval and after a delay of an hour, the race got underway. it would prove a brief one for porsche. vanthoor had made up two places in the torrential rain and was running fourth when he was caught out by the rain and hit the wall with the rear of the car, severely damaging it and effectively ending his race after ten minutes. vanthoor did come in to give the team a chance at repairs and install bamber behind the wheel, but it was over.
体育赛事投注平台barely had vanthoor made it back to the pits or porsche’s dramas became complete when makowiecki too fell victim to the treacherous conditions, spinning round at turn one and smacking the car’s left front against the wall. he too brought the car into the pits, but much like the sister car, the damage proved too significant to continue.
after a mere 20 minutes, both porsches were out, leaving corvette and bmw to fight amongst themselves, with corvette eventually coming out on top for its sixth win of the season. bmw sits at two with wins in daytona and road atlanta, while porsche’s win count sits at a sobering zero.
体育赛事投注平台even in a year as rotten as 2020, saturday night’s events provided something of a new low for the german marque.
“first i have to let this sink in. i’m deeply disappointed,” said fred makowiecki afterwards. “after the qualifying, things seemed really good. the second grid spot looked promising for the race. but heavy rain threw a spanner in the works. we had massive problems with aquaplaning and the car just couldn’t be controlled. we’ve had difficulties in heavy rain throughout the year.”
体育赛事投注平台vanthoor, who hit the wall in both qualifying and the race, pointed the finger at himself.
“crash in qualifying, crash in the race. quite honestly, that was my worst performance in years,” he said. “i don’t know what happened. it just didn’t work. we had hardly any grip in the rain. we had nothing to lose so i tried everything to match the pace of the leaders. unfortunately, it went terribly wrong.”
with their absence form mid-ohio and the double retirement at the roval, porsche’s title hopes are practically finished. the two cars sit at 197 and 196 points respectively with three rounds remaining, with the leading pair of antonio garcia and jordan taylor at 261 points.
体育赛事投注平台the 10-hour petit le mans and sprint round at laguna seca remain before the season closes with the 12 hours of sebring. road atlanta and sebring have been happy hunting grounds for porsche in recent years.
体育赛事投注平台in 2018, it won both rounds and in 2019, tandy, makowiecki and patrick pilet won the twelve-hour enduro in florida, while locking up the championship double in georgia. that was almost exactly one year ago, but in contrast to twelve months ago, the team sits bottom of the table in gtlm.
with porsche pulling the plug on its gtlm program in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the german manufacturer would not want to step away from imsa competition without a single victory in 2020. it has just three races left to make it happen and make the rotten streak finally come to an end.