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IMSA Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta

Porsche banks on solid testing ahead of Petit Le Mans GTP decider

Porsche Penske Motorsport believes its extensive recent GTP testing program puts it in a strong position for this weekend’s title-deciding Petit Le Mans finale of the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet

Porsche enters the race leading the constructors’ championship after back-to-back wins at Road America and Indianapolis, while drivers Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet are just five points off the lead in the drivers’ standings.

On a media call with manufacturer representatives, Porsche’s director of factory racing Urs Kuratle confirmed the 963 had run at Road Atlanta for seven days in total since the project started last year.

This was underlined by PPM’s managing director Jonathan Diuguid telling Motorsport.com that the team believes its preparation for this weekend’s 10-hour race will pay off in the decider against rivals from Acura, BMW and Cadillac, as it has made clear steps forward in recent races and testing.

“As a team we’re doing our homework,” he said. “I think we’ve tested at Road Atlanta for five days before the race weekend, and hopefully we can show up there prepared from a car preparation standpoint.

“The biggest change [in car development] that’s occurred over the past three months is there’s been simulator work and physical track testing and learning from the race weekends, and I think all those things combined have really paid dividends.

“We’re able to learn every time the car runs, so whether that’s widening the performance window or being able to hit the knife-edge better, with the information that we have from physical testing and racing.

“We’re a lot smarter than we were six months ago, and even two months ago. The only way that happens is with running the cars and understanding them to perform at their best.”

Tom Blomqvist, Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 in testing at Road Atlanta

Tom Blomqvist, Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 in testing at Road Atlanta

Photo by: Andreas Beil

When Motorsport.com asked the other manufacturers about their testing experience at Road Atlanta, HPD’s David Salter explained that Acura “had a couple of days recently”.

He also quipped: “We had three or four at the start of the project, but we kept crashing the thing! We all camped down there for a bit at the start, and we’ve been back there recently.”

Cadillac Racing’s Mark Stielow stated: “Earlier this season, Cadillac Day, we had some time running there. Our two teams Action Express and Chip Ganassi have also been there for a couple of days last week.

“Trying to evolve our package and bring our best foot forward that we can this weekend.”

BMW’s Maurizio Leschiutta added: “We were also there last week for two days of testing, and we’d had a couple of days there last year as well, but our car was very immature in ’22.

“So about four days of testing at Road Atlanta itself in total.”

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