Dirk Werner driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup With free practice, qualifying and the race all in one day, it was clear from the beginning that we didn't have enough time to make changes on the car setup. So we started...
driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing
No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
With free practice, qualifying and the race all in one day, it was clear from the beginning that we didn't have enough time to make changes on the car setup. So we started with the setup we had at the 24-hour race in Daytona and it was already pretty good.
It turned out today that the car was fast -- we had the fastest time in free practice -- and we could improve the car a little bit. But still, the Porsche is not as good as the Mazda on tire wear. The Pontiacs seemed to struggle a little bit in the free practice sessions, so it turned out it was going to be a fight between the Mazda and us.
I was happy to see that the 87 car was back on speed and was the fastest Porsche. The last race was the changing point for the team, with the win of our teammates Lehman Keen and Eric Lux in the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Porsche. I still was motivated for this race and I was thinking, 'At a certain point, the bad luck has to go away.'
Qualifying went kind of okay. Two laps from the end, I still had the GT pole, but the Mazda pushed a button somehow and did a very fast lap, so I had to start second. But it was just the 70 Mazda and us that were fast -- the other cars already had a little gap.
For the race, we knew that the 70 Mazda would be the hardest competitor. In the beginning, the Porsche was very good; I could do very fast lap times. But then, like any other race, the tires start to go down a little bit and you have to not overdrive the tires, so you have to play conservative. I had to back off a little bit.
The Mazda could still do very fast lap times and they didn't have to change tires at the first pit stop. The driver did nearly a double stint on the tires, so that shows how well-balanced the Mazda is on the Pirelli tires, and how much it is a [purpose-built] race car. To be able to keep up with the Mazda with a street-based race car was very good!
I just tried to stay clean in my stint, stay out of trouble and give my co-driver Bryce Miller a good car so that he could make the best out of it. Obviously, he did! He stayed in third position, which was very good, then he got passed as one of the Mazdas had a crash. I hope the driver is okay ...
But Bryce kept a cool head and I think he knew the Porsche was fastest on the front straight. He waited 'til the last lap and caught the other car on the front straight. It was pretty good to see and it was great to feel the atmosphere with our team at the end of the race.
Even with a second place, I'm very, very happy. I want to thank the team -- especially the crew of the 87 car -- for never giving up and keeping on working hard and preparing the car. The car was fast every race. Speed wasn't the problem; it was just bringing it to the finish line. So now I hope for the last three races of the season, we can get paid off for the first half of the season.