Road Atlanta: Porsche qualifying report

Porsche teams in four classes for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans classic found various success in qualifying rounds, but drivers for the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Porsche RS Spyder, and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup are pointing...

Porsche teams in four classes for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans classic found various success in qualifying rounds, but drivers for the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Porsche RS Spyder, and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup are pointing to the race itself - ten hours, or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, piloted by American Le Mans Series GT points leaders Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), will be looking for a top-ten finish to clinch the drivers' championship, but they must beat the top BMW on the track for Porsche to beat BMW in the manufacturers title, where Porsche owns a slim one-point lead. The same goes for the team title, where Flying Lizards are leading Rahal- Letterman Racing by a single point.

"It's hard to be thrilled with our eighth-place position on the grid, but we have won from that position before, and our race-day strategy has not changed," said Long, who drove the car for the 20-minute qualifying session.

"We have to run hard and smart - and without mistakes - and the day will not be a success unless we can capture all three titles," he said.

Klaus Graf (Germany) qualified second in LMP2 in the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder - Graf needs to win on Saturday with co-drivers Sascha Maassen (Germany and Lucas Luhr (Germany) in order to have the possibility to win the title, and the Brabham/Pagenaud Honda needs to DNF for Graf to clinch the championship.

In ALMS GT Challenge, Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) captured his sixth pole of the season in the Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and he and team owner/co-driver Tim Pappas are well on their way to the class championship. Only Shane Lewis and Bill Sweedler have a chance to catch the Black Swan pair.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car laboratory, which will run tomorrow's race, but is in its own experimental class - GT Hybrid or GTH - did not participate in the qualifying session and will start at the back of the pack as it is listed as "unclassified." But that doesn't impact the Hybrid on Petit Le Mans.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which demonstrated the potential of its groundbreaking technology over 22 hours and 15 minutes at this year's Nurburgring 24 hour race and led the overall classification for more than eight hours, exemplifies the philosophy of "Porsche Intelligent Performance". Under braking, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel. During acceleration, this energy is automatically delivered to the front wheels, supporting the combustion engine. This leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and increases the cruising range. Moreover, drivers can manually utilize the stored energy with a boost-paddle on the steering wheel for overtaking.

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans winners, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Mike Rockenfeller (Germany), will drive the car.

-source: porsche

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Shane Lewis , Klaus Graf , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Tim Pappas , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Mike Rockenfeller , Bill Sweedler
Teams Black Swan Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports