The championship gives drivers Zach Robichon (CAN) and Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor their second driver’s titles (2019 GTD sprint & 2019 GTLM champions, respectively), and brings Porsche’s total manufacturer’s championships in the IMSA WeatherTech series to seven. 2021 also marks first time a Porsche team has won the championship in seven years – and it has been eight years since Porsche has won the GTD title as a manufacturer.
At Road Atlanta, Robichon and Vanthoor were joined by endurance teammate and Nürburgring production car record holder Lars Kern (GER) in what would be the trio’s final outing together as part of the Pfaff squad.
Opening the weekend with all three practice sessions on Thursday, Pfaff paced as high as fourth in the day and night sessions, but Friday’s qualifying sessions brought challenges ahead of Saturday’s 10-hour endurance race, with the team managing seventh in position and sixth in points behind their closest rivals in the pole-sitting Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini.
With a come-from-behind victory a recent memory from the previous round at VIR, the team remained focused on clean and strong race craft from its driver lineup, and a strategy for the entire 10 hours.
Taking the green flag for Saturday’s endurance race, Robichon immediately jumped one position after the no. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche suffered a puncture on lap one. The Canadian continued chipping away at the leaders and moved into fourth before handing the car to Kern at the 40-minute mark, who jumped to third on lap 86 of 378.
In a race riddled with 10 full course cautions, strategy became paramount, and Kern handed the car to Vanthoor at the 2h30 mark, from where the Belgian proceeded to clock some of the team’s fastest lap times. From there, Kern jumped back in for his final stint, then handed the car to Robichon just before the halfway point of the race.
Vanthoor clocked the team’s fastest lap of the race on lap 361 with a 1:19.745, as the Motul Porsche sat comfortably in second. At race end, Vanthoor crossed the finish just seven seconds behind the winning no. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin to secure the GTD title.
The championship gives the Pfaff team, long associated with Porsche, its fourth total championship with the manufacturer, building on its three Porsche GT3 Cup Canada and 2018 GT World Challenge America team titles.
Stay tuned for further announcements from Pfaff Motorsports. For more exciting news and behind-the-scenes content, follow @PfaffMotorsports, @Pfaff_Porsche, @Porsche_Markham, and @PfaffAuto on Instagram and Facebook.
Image credit: Pfaff Motorsports/Lenssen Photo