Porsche’s Fred Makowiecki branded his third-placed finish in the VIRginia International Raceway IMSA SportsCar Championship race as “the saddest podium of my career” after losing victory to a puncture.
Makowiecki and team-mate Nick Tandy had led the early stages of the GT-only race from pole before a left-rear puncture after 11 laps dropped them off-sync with the rest of the field.
But the CORE Autosport-run #911 Porsche had got back to the lead via an alternate strategy and strong race pace before a second left-rear tire issue with Tandy at the wheel dropped it back to third, promoting the Corvette of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia to a third win of the season and Corvette’s fourth in a row.
The result, which allowed Taylor and Garcia to open up a 19-point advantage in the standings, left Makowiecki feeling “absolutely gutted”.
“To be honest, this third place is the saddest podium of my career,” he said. “We were so strong this weekend. In fact, our team dominated the weekend. It’s just terrible that third was the best we could do. This result is so unjust for the team, the car and us drivers.
“And it also makes me sad that we’re falling further and further down the rankings in the championship. We really don’t deserve that.”
Teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in the #912 Porsche had run in second and would have been in position to inherit the lead when Bamber was rear-ended by Connor De Phillippi’s Team RLL BMW, resulting in damage to the rear bodywork that required a lengthy pit visit. The car was classified three laps down in fifth, leaving Vanthoor “utterly frustrated” as the team has yet to win a race this season, despite coming close several times.
“Our unlucky streak just doesn’t end,” the Belgian said. “During the last three races, we were on course to win only to be robbed of the fruits of our hard work. Something always crops up. The team worked perfectly, our car was ultra fast and the drivers tapped the full potential. Sadly, there was an unlucky contact which damaged the rear.
“Now we’re looking ahead. At some point, we’ll be on the sunny side again.”
Porsche’s head of operations in IMSA Steffen Hoellwarth added: “Both cars started the race from the first grid row, we were leading with both vehicles and ultimately finished on third and fifth. That’s bitterly disappointing.
“For the upcoming race at Road Atlanta we want to finally get through a race without hiccups and claim the first win of the year with the new Porsche 911 RSR.”