2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship review part one

After winning the manufacturers’ title in the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Porsche returned to America this year with even greater success, securing all three GTLM class titles.

It was truly a season of two halves for the factory 911 RSRs, as our two-part season review will show. Here’s how they did it:

Round 1 – 24 Hours of Daytona
Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche North America, Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet, Marc Lieb

2015 did not get off to the start that Porsche North America Racing would have wanted. Having won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2014, this year’s running of the famous American endurance race saw both factory Porsche 911 RSRs miss out on the podium.

Approaching the 12-hour mark, both factory 911s were running well up the order. The no. 911 car was second with the no. 912 machine one place behind in third. However, that all changed when Earl Bamber in the latter RSR collided with Marc Lieb in the sister car while lapping a backmarker.

From then on, the race became a recovery for the factory Porsches. While the no. 912 of Bamber, Jörg Bergmeister and Frédéric Makowiecki was eventually forced to withdraw, the no. 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Lieb would be classified fifth.
No. 911 result: 5th
No. 912 result: 7th

Round 2 – 12 Hours of Sebring
2015 - TUDOR United SportsCar - 12 Hours of Sebring

Sebring (another race won by a factory Porsche 911 RSR in 2014) would also prove difficult for PNAR in 2015, although the customer car of Team Falken was able to secure third place, giving Weissach some valuable points in the manufacturers’ battle.

The no. 911 RSR would, once again, cross the finish line in fifth having been hampered by a gearbox issue. It was particularly cruel luck as, until the final hour, Tandy, Pilet and Richard Lietz had been leading the GTLM standings.

Across the garage, the no. 912 crew’s luck was no better, an issue with the rear suspension and hub assembly leaving the sister car to take the chequered flag in seventh place.
No. 911 result: 5th
No. 912 result: 7th

Round 3 – Grand Prix of Long Beach
2015 - Long Beach Grand Prix

For the Grand Prix of Long Beach – a race just 100 minutes long – Porsche’s fortunes improved slightly, with the no. 911 machine of Pilet and Makowiecki narrowly missing out on the podium in fourth.

This was the first USCC round that Tandy was forced to miss thanks to his commitments to Porsche’s third 919 Hybrid entry at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Bergmeister and Lietz (the latter replacing Bamber due to the Kiwi’s Le Mans duties) could only manage eighth in the no. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, setting the team’s championship hopes back another notch.
No. 911 result: 4th
No. 912 result: 5th

Round 4 – Laguna Seca
2015 - TUDOR United Sportscar Championship - Laguna Seca

The fourth round of the 2015 USCC, the Grand Prix of Monterey, finally saw a factory Porsche 911 RSR take to the podium as Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen secured third place in the no. 911 machine.

It was a superb drive from the duo after an early safety car period saw the duo drop to the back of the highly competitive GTLM field.

Christensen (on double duty replacing the Le Mans-bound Tandy and Bamber) also helped the no. 912 entry to fifth. Along with Jörg Bergmeister, the result was the team’s best so far in 2015.
No. 911 result: 3rd
No. 912 result: 5th

Round 5 – Six Hours of Watkins Glen
2015 - Six Hours of The Glen

In a race blighted by heavy rain, Porsche finally took it’s first United SportsCar Championship victory of 2015, however it was the customer 911 RSR of Team Falken that topped the podium.

For much of the race it looked as if the no. 911 car of Pilet and the returning Nick Tandy would triumph. Unfortunately, a late stop dropped the Anglo-French duo to sixth.

Earl Bamber put in a late charge in the sister no. 912 RSR though, carving through the field to challenge Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers for the win before ultimately having to settle for second.
No. 911 result: 6th
No. 912 result: 2nd

Read the second part of our 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship season review to see how Porsche turned their fortunes around.

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