Sunday 3 April 2011

Grid positions one and two for Porsche in the GTE-Am class

Le Mans Series, round 1 in Le Castellet, France

Grid positions one and two for Porsche in the GTE-Am class

Stuttgart. A perfect start into the Le Mans Series for Nicolas Armindo: At the season-opener in Le Castellet, the Frenchman clinched the best time in qualifying in the newly-created GTE-Am sports car class at the wheel of his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In this class, only one professional driver is permitted per vehicle. In the 911 fielded by the Felbermayr-Proton team, Austria’s Horst Felbermayr Junior rounded off Porsche’s success. In the GTE-Pro class, Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France) secured positions six to eight respectively with 2011-versions of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

“I could jump for joy,” grinned Nicolas Armindo. “To start the LMS season with pole position in our class is simply fantastic. My fastest lap wasn’t even perfect. But our 911 GT3 RSR handles very well. And it’s also important that we’ve earned the first championship point.” The reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland drives for IMSA Performance Matmut with his compatriot and team owner Raymond Narac. Taking up the six hour race from second on the grid in the GTE-Am category for the Felbermayr squad is the father/son duo Horst Felbermayr Senior and Junior as well as team owner Christian Ried (Germany).

“I made a small mistake in the last corner during my flying lap, otherwise I could have set an even better time,” commented Marco Holzer as the quickest of the Porsche factory pilots on his sixth position in the GTE-Pro class. “Our team still has a lot of work ahead because our set-up was not exactly what we want.” The former Porsche-Junior shares driving duties in ProSpeed Competition’s 911 GT3 RSR with Belgian Marc Goossens.

Last year’s winner and title defender Richard Lietz seemed to take his seventh grid position in his stride. “Let’s see how things stand when the flag drops tomorrow at 6pm,” the Austrian said. “Obviously, the grid position is disappointing, especially after being faster in free practice. But we made a conscious decision not to make any extra changes for the qualifying session and instead concentrate on the race set-up. Hence, we experienced a little oversteer.” Lietz drives the first stint from midday tomorrow before handing the cockpit of the Felbermayr-Proton 911 to Marc Lieb (Germany). With four drivers’ titles under his belt, Lieb in the most successful pilot in the Le Mans Series.

Tackling the race on the 5.791 kilometre circuit Paul Ricard in southern France from eighth on the grid are the two Porsche works drivers Patrick Pilet and Wolf Henzler (Germany) driving for IMSA Performance Matmut. Pilet is feeling confident: “There is still a great deal of potential in the improved 911 GT3 RSR that we haven’t tapped yet. I’m counting on our strong points over the race distance and on my new teammate Wolf Henzler.”

Qualifying result
GTE-Pro class
1. Gianmaria Bruni (I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:58.522 minutes
2. Tomas Enge (CZ), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.251 seconds
3. Robert Bell (GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.597
4. Toni Vilander (FIN), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.622
5. Allan Simonsen (DK), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.722
6. Marco Holzer (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.722
7. Richard Lietz (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.933
8. Patrick Pilet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.935

GTE-Am class
1. Nicolas Armindo (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:59.370 minutes
2. Horst Felbermayr Junior (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.984 seconds
3. Marco Cioci (I), Ferrari F430, + 1.100
4. Philipp Peter (A), Ferrari F430, + 1.328

This is the Le Mans Series

Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on the rules of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five six-hour races are contested this season throughout Europe.

GTE Pro class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers (previously known as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with up to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms.
GTE Am class: Like the GTE Pro, but with 2010-spec vehicles. In addition, the regulations dictate that each vehicle must have one professional driver at the most.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 750 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms (petrol engines) or 930 kilograms (diesel engines).
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp, GT class homologated engines and an 825 kg minimum weight.
FLM class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all five classes. With four title wins in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb is the most successful pilot in the series.

Please note: Images of the Le Mans Series are available for accredited journalists from the Porsche Press Database under the internet address On this website you can also activate the Porsche Motorsport SMS Info Service to receive the latest news and information from race tracks around the world via text messages.

Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press
Oliver Hilger

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