Tudor USCC: Road America race report
The no. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Porsche North America Racing secured another top-five result in round eight of the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship at Road America however there was more disappointment at Elkhart Lake for the sister machine of Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz.
In the first race for the works Porsche 911 RSRs since their Balance of Performance adjustment (the changes arriving too late for the Indianapolis round), PNAR was thrown in at the deep end without enough time to test the upgrades.
This meant practice and qualifying were trips into the unknown for the US-based Porsche factory squad, leading to Patrick Long qualifying the no. 912 machine in fifth, with Nick Tandy a further two places back in the ten-car GTLM field.
However, as at Indianapolis, in race trim, the factory 911 RSR duo enjoyed much better pace throughout the two-hour, 45-minute race, with the bigger front splitter, revised rear wing, and larger air restrictor afforded by the BoP changes providing extra competitiveness in the tight GTLM class.
Once again, Tandy showed his supreme race craft in the opening stint, quickly making up positions on the flowing 4.05-mile, Wisconsin-based circuit. The first few laps were not so kind to Long who spun to the tail of the field on the second tour.
By half distance, Tandy and the equally impressive Lietz had moved their way into contention for the race win, with the former taking the lead for a time before disaster struck at the team’s final pitstop.
The Austrian racer, a winner this year at Daytona alongside Tandy and Patrick Pilet, would brush one of the Corvette team’s wheels upon leaving the pitlane. Contact was light but it was enough to see the no. 911 RSR return to the pits to serve a 20-second penalty, eventually leaving them to finish at the tail of the field in tenth.
Meanwhile, Long and teammate Michael Christensen (a revelation in his first season as a Porsche works driver) had worked their way back into the thick of the battle, even moving as high as third with just 20 minutes of the race left to run.
The revised Porsche 911 RSR was proving a match for the Dodge Vipers, BMW Z4s, and Corvette C7.Rs however, the no. 912 would have to settle for fifth after losing a few positions late on due to a lack of straight-line speed.