2015 Tudor USCC: Long Beach race report
After the dramas of Daytona and Sebring, the Tudor United SportsCar Championship headed to California for the shortest race of season, a 100-minute thrash around the demanding Long Beach street circuit.
Historically, the Porsche 911 RSRs haven’t enjoyed strong fortunes at the 1.97-mile track 25 miles south of Los Angeles city centre. In 2014, the two factory entries finished fourth and fifth.
Porsche’s struggles continued into qualifying for this year’s event with the no. 912 RSR of Richard Lietz and Jörg Bergmeister qualifying sixth (0.7 seconds slower than the GTLM pole time) and the no. 911 car of Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki ending the session seventh. The Team Falken Porsche propped up the GTLM field in eighth.
For Saturday’s race, the Porsche North America Racing team knew they had to go on the attack from the word ‘go’ thanks to the race’s short length however, for Lietz in the no. 912 car, a first corner incident would rule them out of contention almost immediately.
Exiting turn one, the Austrian racer was squeezed into the wall by one of the Corvettes, severely damaging the front of the Porsche 911 RSR. After a lengthy stop for repairs, the no. 912 car returned to the race 15 laps down, eventually finishing eighth.
Pilet and Makowiecki enjoyed better fortune in the sister entry as the remaining factory Porsche showed better pace under race conditions. The French duo battled their way through the hotly contested GTLM field early in the race, moving up to fourth.
The no. 911 Porsche was catching the championship-leading no. 3 Corvette in the closing stages but, around the tight, twisting street course, Makowiecki couldn’t find a way through.
As the clock ticked down and the chequered flag unfurled, the leading Porsche 911 RSR crossed the line just 0.202 seconds away from a podium finish, while the Team Falken 991 RSR came home sixth after a tough afternoon in California.
The next round of the 2015 Tudor USCC season sees the GTLM class head to Laguna Seca on 2-3 May for a 160-minute encounter around the famous 2.24-mile circuit in the Monterey sand dunes.
For all the latest Porsche 911 race and rally news, check out our dedicated motorsport section now.