RS Spyder, Penske Racing: Sascha Maassen, Romain Dumas
One man’s luck is another man’s misfortune – and this can certainly be said to describe the drama of the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series in Elkhart Lake. Nine pace car phases interrupted the four hour race, forcing teams to constantly change their strategy. Whilst Porsche celebrated a double victory in the GT2 class, the RS Spyder pilots had to settle for second and third. Competing for Penske Racing, Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) defended their lead in the championship with second position and climbed the podium for the 27th time in succession. Marino Franchitti (Great Britain) and Butch Leitzinger (USA) brought their Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder home in third.
Despite securing second place, Timo Bernhard, who drove the last stint, was disappointed at the finish. “We had a winning car today. But the yellow flags came out at just the wrong time and they seemed to last for ages. I was clearly faster than the winner David Brabham. But when you are stuck behind a pace car you can’t pass anyone,” said the annoyed title defender.
For much of the race it looked as though Bernhard and Dumas could utilise the fuel consumption advantage of the new DFI engine with direct fuel injection to claim victory. Through a late first pit stop and a particularly efficient driving style, the team wanted to do one pit stop less than their opponents. Due to the unusually high number of caution phases this plan was thwarted. “Our strategy to play off the efficiency of our engine against our competitors would have worked under normal circumstances. But today we simply didn’t have luck on our side,” Dumas said after the race.
In the #6 RS Spyder, Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) secured fourth in their class. With this result, the two defended their number three position in the championship. The RS Spyder of the Porsche-supported US privateer Dyson Racing team swept across the finish line in sixth. Chris Dyson (USA) and Guy Smith (Great Britain) saw the flag two laps behind the winners.
The Elkhart Lake race marked the second time that both Penske Racing’s RS Spyder sports prototypes competed with the 3.4-litre V8 engine with direct fuel injection. Like in its production 911 and Cayenne counterparts, the power output was increased and specific consumption reduced. Instead of 476 hp, the new racing unit generates 503 hp (370 kW) at 10,000 rpm. Maximum torque increased from 370 Nm at 7,500 revs per minute to 385 Nm to 8,500 rpm.
Statistics: 7th of 11 races of the American Le Mans Series in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
1. Werner/Luhr (D/D), Audi R10 (LMP1), 102 laps
2. Pirro/Fässler (I/CH), Audi R10 (LMP1), 102
3. Brabham/Sharp (AUS/USA), Acura ARX-01B (LMP2), 102
4. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
5. Leitzinger/Franchitti (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
6. Maassen/Long (D/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
7. Field/Field/Berry (USA/USA/USA), Lola B06/10 (LMP1), 101
8. Devlin/Bonilla (USA/USA), Lola B07 46 (LMP2), 100
9. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 100
10. O’Connell/Magnussen (USA/DK), Chevrolet Corvette (GT1), 97
Result LMP2 class
1. Brabham/Sharp (AUS/USA), Acura ARX-01B (LMP2), 102
2. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
3. Leitzinger/Franchitti (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
4. Maassen/Long (D/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 102
5. Devlin/Bonilla (USA/USA), Lola B07 46 (LMP2), 100
6. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 100