Despite being outperformed by the rest of the GT field in a genuinely thrilling 2016 6 Hours of Spa last weekend, the 911 RSR found itself en route to a GTE-Am podium finish. The 911 was denied its well deserved result when an LMP2 car crashed into Patrick Long, minutes from the chequered flag.
The race had gone well for Pat, team leader Khaled Al Qubaisi and David Heinemeier Hansson. The team had worked its way up to second in the Abu Dhabi Proton GTE-AM RSR, with Long looking good for a podium finish. Thirteen minutes from the end of the six-hour race, an LMP2 prototype put a move on the Porsche, which ended in tears for the Proton Racing challenge.
Long holds back the best Irish swear words
“That was a rough end to an otherwise great week at Spa,” said Long, showing impressive f-word restraint. “In the final stint, I was able to overtake the AF Ferrari for P2 and we were set on just bringing it home, on a day when we didn’t have much for the winning Aston Martin. With three laps to go, an LMP2 car had a failure of brakes – or brain – and cleaned me out, snapping the right front suspension. It’s tough to accept after the weekend that my teammates David and Khaled had – they were nothing short of spectacular the entire race. But, onto the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
“This is unfortunate really as the whole team had worked very hard for this result the entire weekend,” said Al Qubaisi. “However, we are taking away many positives from the Spa campaign and we will continue to push for the rest of the season.”
The team now looks forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 18-19. Al Qubaisi finished second in class in 2014 and Patrick Long finished second in last year’s edition. As is often the case when Belgium stays dry, the RSR’s pace was nothing special at Spa, so we’ll have to see how it goes at La Sarthe. The factory drivers are keeping a positive mindset.
Porsche 911 RSR too slow in Spa
“The balance of our 911 RSR was better than in practice, but the warm weather didn’t play into our hands,” said reigning FIA WEC GT champion, Richard Lietz. “We did everything we could, but we still weren’t fast enough. Only as the temperature cooled towards the finish did our performance improve.” Michael Christensen echoed his sentiments, taking comfort in the quick pit stops from the works team at Spa. “In the run to Le Mans, every race kilometre and every pit stop is important. That’s the positive outcome of a race in which unfortunately we weren’t able to yield what we had planned.”