This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant to those interested in automobiles and auto history. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, by the author.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Porsche GT Team at the Nurburgring, July 16 -- 6 hour race
Porsche 911 RSR
The six-hour race on the Nürburgring on 16 July is the last event on European soil for the 2017 Sports Car World Endurance Championship. After the Nürburgring round, five overseas races will be contested in Mexico, USA, Japan, China and Bahrain. On the storied racetrack in Germany’s Eifel region, the Porsche GT Team fields two new 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class, in which the fight for points and victories is the most cutthroat in the WEC. Thanks to the Balance of Performance, which was created to ensure that all vehicles of different concepts compete on the same performance level, fans will witness gripping fights for positions and thrilling races to the flag. The 510 hp 911 RSR racers were developed from scratch by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach and are based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. The 911 RSR made a successful start to the season, clinching third at its maiden outing in Silverstone. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans recently, the new racer narrowly missed out on a podium spot, securing fourth after a strong performance and long stints in the lead.
The Porsche drivers
Four works drivers compete for the Porsche GT Team: Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) share the cockpit of the #91 Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class. They started into the season with third place at Silverstone. Their team colleagues Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) man the #92 car. In the GTE-Am class, the Porsche customer squad Dempsey Proton Racing fields a 911 RSR from the 2015 model year. It is driven by the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) as well as Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst from Germany. So far this season, they have achieved third place at Silverstone and second in Spa-Francorchamps.
The Porsche 911 RSR
The 911 RSR, which celebrated its race debut at the Daytona 24-hour classic in January, is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed in Weissach from scratch. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is now positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). Thanks to the large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency were significantly improved.
Balance of Performance (BoP)
The “Balance of Performance” applies to the GTE-Pro class of the WEC Sports Car World Endurance Championship as well as the GTLM class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. “BoP” was introduced by the FIA with the aim of achieving a level playing field for the different vehicle concepts, and thus ensuring balanced and fair races. The intention is that it should not make a fundamental difference if a vehicle is powered by a turbocharged or normally aspirated engine, or if the engine is mounted on the front axle or in front of the rear axle. The basic aerodynamic shape of the vehicles should also not play a decisive role.
After an initial grading by the FIA, the balance of performance is adjusted at the races by means of telemetry - not only using lap times, but also acceleration profiles and engine mappings. This data input is automatically analysed and incorporated into the “Balance of Performance”. The most frequently used means of adjusting the performance level is through adding or subtracting weight. In keeping with the rule-makers’ intention, the key to success on the racetrack is not about the individual potential of a vehicle, instead it’s about the performance of the drivers, the race strategy, a perfect setup or the skill of the team with their pit stops.
Comments before the race
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “It’s not only the fans who enjoy the race on the Nürburgring with its great tradition in long-distance events. The entire Porsche GT Team is very excited about our home race. When the WEC first raced here two years ago, Porsche celebrated an outstanding double victory. The Eifel circuit is the home track of our long-standing partner Manthey Racing, who will again run the WEC operations for us this season. We hope we can make the most of our home advantage and get a good start into the second half of the season at our races abroad.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Leader GT Works Motorsport: “We face two main challenges at the Nürburgring. Firstly, we have to see how quickly the team can adjust to the race after the long break following Le Mans, and how can we best optimise our procedures. Secondly, will we manage to find the best possible setup for our new 911 RSR for this demanding racetrack? On top of this, we have to be prepared for absolutely everything in the Eifel and make sure that we have the right tyres for all eventualities.”