Difficult qualifying for Porsche Penske Motorsport in Mosport

July 9, 2023

  • Best Porsche 963 starts from position five, sister car on ninth
  • Hybrid prototype of the JDC-Miller MotorSports customer squad on P8
  • Pfaff Motorsports' Porsche 911 GT3 R qualifies fifth for its home race
  • Customer squads in the GTD category far off the top positions

Works driver Felipe Nasr has qualified in fifth for round six of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the hunt for top times in Mosport, Canada, the Brazilian was the fastest driver at the wheel of a Porsche 963. The sister car fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory team will tackle the race over 2:40 hours from ninth position. The ca. 510 kW (693 PS) hybrid prototype campaigned by JDC-Miller MotorSports turned the eighth fastest time in qualifying. In the two GT classes, the five Porsche 911 GT3 R cars fielded by four customer teams lagged behind, in some cases considerably.

Stuttgart. The conditions for the qualifying of round six of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season were perfect. With a pleasant air temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, the sun warmed the asphalt to around 30 degrees Celsius. Accordingly, the nine cars in the top GTP started category went out on the track early to hunt for top times. Felipe Nasr spent three laps warming the tyres on his No. 7 car to get them into the optimum operating window. Then the Brazilian went full throttle for ten laps. Posting a time of 1:06.521 minutes, Nasr qualified fifth, almost nine-tenths of a second off pole position.

Mathieu Jaminet did everything he could over eleven laps in the No. 6 car however, the Frenchman never came close to the times of the sister car. With a gap of 1.676 seconds to the top, he only managed ninth place. "We couldn't do anything about the two Acuras today, but we had an outside chance for third place with the No. 7," said Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: "The balance of the sister car was completely off in qualifying. Mathieu had no tyre grip at all on the front axle. We'll take a good look at that. Right now though, we'll put this disappointing day behind us and concentrate fully on the race."

Mike Rockenfeller tackled the qualifying in the Porsche 963 fielded by the customer team JDC-Miller MotorSports. The seasoned specialist from Germany gradually improved over the 13 laps and netted eighth on the grid with a time of 1:06.946 minutes. For the race, Rockenfeller shares the cockpit of the No. 5 car with Dutchman Tijmen van der Helm.

GTD classes: Porsche's customer teams among backmarkers
In the two GT categories, the four customer teams were far off achieving top results with their five Porsche 911 GT3 R. Klaus Bachler turned the fifth fastest time in Pfaff Motorsports' 911. The Austrian shares the No. 9 car at the home race of the Canadian team Pfaff Motorsports with Patrick Pilet from France. The identical, 415 kW (565 PS) GT3 cars run by AO Racing, Wright Motorsports and Kellymoss with Riley head into the race from positions ten, eleven, twelve and 14 respectively.

Round six of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Bowmanville gets underway on Sunday, 9 July, at 12:05 pm local time (6:05 pm CEST). Outside the USA and Canada, the six-hour race can be watched via a free live stream on imsa.tv.

Drivers' comments on the qualifying
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): "We did what we could today. We had no chance at all compared to some of our rivals, especially in the first sector. This section of the track actually only consists of two very fast corners. Apart from these passages, we were doing quite well. We made noticeable progress in the practice sessions and qualifying. Now we start from the midfield. Everything is still possible. The race day forecast is for hot weather. So it's a matter of conserving the tyres over the distance without deterioration at the end of a stint."

Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): "Something was very wrong with our car. We don't yet know exactly what caused the balance problems. It's very strange: the car's behaviour was completely different in left and right-hand corners. There was a lack of grip and downforce on the front axle, and also a lot of vibration and understeer in right-hand corners. I tried to ignore the problem and go all-out but that had its limitations – so it's ninth place on the grid."

Mike Rockenfeller (Porsche 963 #5): "The timesheets show that the Porsche 963 was a bit behind in qualifying. I hope that the situation will be somewhat different in the race. For us, it was the first time that we made a serious qualifying attempt. Unfortunately, the pressure in the tyres was a little low. With more air pressure and a bit more experience, maybe I could have gone three or four-tenths of a second faster. But my fastest lap was basically okay. It's huge fun driving on this racetrack. Hopefully, we can advance up the field a bit more tomorrow."

Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): "Fifth place on the grid is what we ended up with, but what's more important is the fact that we've significantly improved our car setup after the free practice sessions. We'll now take another close look at our data and hopefully make further progress until the start of the race. If everything runs smoothly, we should hopefully be able to make up a few positions over the 2:40-hour race on Sunday."