2015 Tudor USCC: Petit Le Mans preview
This is it. Over eight months of intensive endurance racing comes to a conclusion this weekend at the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship finale, the 18th annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
For the last two years, the 10-hour Petit Le Mans has been won by a Porsche 911 RSR, standing Weissach in good stead this weekend. However, on both occasions, the victorious crew has been clothed Team Falken colours rather than those of the factory Porsche squad.
Porsche North America Racing will be looking to come out on top this year though with the works team in the box seat to win all three GTLM titles up for grabs at Petit Le Mans.
Despite a late fuel stop dropping them to third last time out at Circuit of the Americas, the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy heads to Road Atlanta at the top of the teams’ championship, three points ahead of the no. 25 BMW crew of Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen.
Pilet also tops the drivers’ standings by the same margin over the BMW Z4 drivers while Porsche leads the manufacturers’ table with Weissach looking to wrap up the latter for a second year in a row.
Road Atlanta has been a happy hunting ground for Porsche 911 RSRs in recent years, with the two factory cars and the Team Falken entry dominating proceedings last year.
Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer saw off the no. 912 PNAR Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Long, Michael Christensen and Earl Bamber in 2014, defending the team’s 2013 Petit Le Mans win that featuring Sellers, Henzler and Tandy.
As at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, all the GTLM teams will use three drivers this weekend at Road Atlanta as Richard Lietz joins Tandy and Pilet in the no. 911 machine and Frédéric Makowiecki backing up Bamber and Jörg Bergmeister in the sister no. 912 RSR.
For 2015, Team Falken will be joined by Long who helped the customer squad to a third place finish at Daytona at the start of this year and will be hoping for more success on his return to home soil.
Should the no. 25 BMW Z4 win at Petit Le Mans, the no. 911 Porsche squad would lose out on the three titles on count back (while tied on wins, the BMW crew have more second-place finishes).
To win the driver, team and manufacturer crowns, the no. 911 crew need to finish one place behind the BMW should Werner and Auberlen finish second, third or fourth. Should the BMW finish fifth, a seventh place finish for Pilet and Tandy would be enough for the 2015 titles.
GTLM qualifying takes place today at 3:45pm Eastern Time with the ten-hour race getting underway on Saturday at 11:10am, finishing in the Georgia darkness at 9:10pm ET.
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