After being passed by the Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, the #912 Porsche 911 RSR remained in lockstep with the American car over the final half hour of last Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech 240, and Bamber even drew to within one second in the final 10 laps.
However, when Garcia set the class’s fastest lap of the race just before the end of the 2hr40min event, Porsche’s best hope was to keep applying the pressure in the hope that the two-time champion would make an error. That mistake never came, and Bamber crossed the line 1.977 seconds behind the Corvette.
“Our Porsche 911 RSR was again very good, but it certainly wasn’t the fastest car in the tough competition of the GTLM class today,” said Bamber who, along with Vanthoor and endurance driver Mathieu Jaminet, also claimed runner-up spot in the first round of the championship, the Rolex 24 Hours.
“We made the most of our chances and earned plenty of points. Second place has even put us at the top of the drivers’ championship – perfect! We’ll be back to fight again in two weeks. I’m looking forward to it.”
Added Vanthoor: “We were so close to clinching our first victory in the USA with the new Porsche 911 RSR. Second-place is OK. The fact that we’ve now moved to the top of the points standings is even more OK.
“I swing back and forth between feeling satisfied and slightly disappointed. We’ll try to do a little better at the next race in Sebring. But for now, it was terrific to contest a real race again.”
The #911 car clinched the final podium spot after a brave strategy choice at the start, which saw Nick Tandy run wet tires on the damp track and surge forward so rapidly that he passed a Cadillac Prototype and pulled a 17sec lead on the rest of the GTLM class.
However, the track dried rapidly and the Briton had to return to the pits earlier than expected to change to slicks.
“We very deliberately opted for a strategy that was different from all other competitors,” he commented afterward. “In retrospect, it was the wrong choice. The track needed to stay wet for two or three more laps. Then it would’ve worked because we could have built up a decent lead.
“Still, we made the best out of it. Once again, both Porsche 911 RSRs finished on the podium. You can’t really complain about that.”
Observed co-driver Frederic Makowiecki: “The heavy downpour before the start created an opportunity for us to take a gamble with the strategy. The track dried up too quickly and there was no caution phase, which would certainly have helped. Our pace in the race was very good.”
#911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki
Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images