October 2012

Since I last checked in, we’ve been to the ALMS rounds at Baltimore and VIR. We considered ourselves favorites at Baltimore, so heading into the race, knowing how good a 911 is on a street course and how well we showed there last year, regardless of the mechanical failure, we were really excited. That race’s debut was just so great last year, the turnout was fantastic. There were a few hitches with the race track but they got through everything and it turned out to be a great race. This year the promotion and the fanfare around the race was really special once again. We had a great turnout from the PCA Chesapeake Region and it was great to see everybody before the race.

From the first practice I was concerned that we might not be as close to the front as I thought we would be. We worked through practice and qualifying and found some speed but about an hour into the race I knew that we were just going to have to measure ourselves against ourselves and try to execute a perfect race. The highlights and low lights of the race were that the start was absolute carnage and the track was blocked but we made it through and clawed our way back up into the top five. For the first time in my life I performed double duty and drove basically the whole race between the #45 and the #44 after Seth was injured in practice. All in all, a fifth and a seventh isn’t what we would have hoped for but it was still a solid weekend and it was a great win for the Falken Porsche so we had to be happy from that angle. It was a super special race weekend because we had our CEO Mr. Müller as well as Mr. Kristen, the head of Porsche Motorsport, in town to cheer us on. That was a lot of fun and I think that eyebrows were really raised in the ALMS paddock to see how supported we were as a manufacturer and a team.

Pushing forward on to VIR, we tested shortly after Baltimore at VIR for our first time at that race track with the ALMS cars and quickly found that the Porsche was pretty accustomed to the twists and turns and the narrowness and changing elevation around VIR. It’s a track that I have been to in the past in the Grand Am series in Daytona Prototypes, but I really enjoyed driving it in the RSR. The race went to plan for us and we executed from beginning to end and came away with a second place. All in all September was a busy but good month for us on the ALMS side.

Shortly after VIR I jumped on a plane and headed for Weissach for a test that we’ve had in the works for a long time. It was certainly something special to jump into the most iconic Porsche that I’ve ever had the chance to drive and to compare it to a car that I had three seasons behind the wheel of that I believe will go down in the books as a true icon of the 21st century of Porsche motorsport. I look forward to the story that will be out in the upcoming issue of Panorama.

Coming up is Petit Le Mans. It’s always a special race and this year, like last, the fact that it is the finale adds to that. Atlanta is the home of Porsche Cars North America and we always have such a great turnout of Porsche family and a ton of local sports car enthusiasts, so I’m really looking forward to the race. We’ll have Patrick Pilet joining us again after last year’s dramatic second place finish. Petit is always a long week. We start testing seven days before the race, so we have the lay of the land by the time Saturday rolls around and we start the 1000 miles or ten hours. It’s a marathon leading up to it but it’s the only way I could imagine the season ending. It’s a big title; I’ve had the chance to win three times before and I’m hoping to add number four to it.

Send your comments and questions to Patrick at askpatrick@pca.org. Although he can’t respond individually, he’ll get to as many as possible in his blog.