Third for Third

Park Place Motorsports’ third-place finish in the GT Daytona class at the 20th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans bumped the team to a third-place finish in the championship standings.
 
It suffered bumps and bruises but the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R survived the Motul Petit Le Mans to finish on the podium the third year in a row. The team won Petit Le Mans in 2015, finished second in 2016 and now adds a third-place finish to its resume at Road Atlanta. Though points are not finalized, the team is set to jump from fifth to third in the GTD Team Championship. 
 
Park Place Motorsports advanced nine positions to take the podium. Team Principal Patrick Lindsey qualified the No. 73 in the twelfth position. The qualifying effort was not as hoped, but it allowed the team to understand better what part of the car setup could be adjusted. Lindsey rightly deduced the issue with help from engineers, allowing the Park Place Motorsports crew to have the car in top form for race day.
 
“Qualifying definitely didn’t go as planned but we weren’t worried because so much can and did happen over a ten-hour race,” Lindsey said. “I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish. We came back from getting knocked out at Daytona to a third-place championship finish. You always kind of wonder what if, but I’m happy with how the year turned out considering how tough it was at the start. We fought hard for this finish, as hard as we’ve fought all season.”
 
The 10-hour endurance race featured a dizzying number of yellow flags due to incidents and debris on the track. The No. 73 managed to escape the carnage and rough racing all but one occasion. During endurance driver Matt McMurry’sfirst stint the No. 911 GT Le Mans Porsche made contact with the right rear of the car. The contact pinned the right door shut but allowed the car to continue in the race.
 
“I’m excited for everyone to end the season together on podium,” McMurry said. “We had the one incident with the 911; people were fighting really hard out there. I jumped in for one last stint near the end that I don’t think was planned but I held onto third before passing the car off to Jörg. We came out on top I think. The team did a great job all season; it was fun driving with them again.”
 
The seemingly harmless damage during McMurry’s stint would cause drama later in the race for Porsche Factory Driver Jörg Bergmeister. The crew was unable to refresh the driver water bottle or cool suit cooler due to the door being unable to open. The humidity, heat, and lack of hydration created left Bergmeister drained at the end of his two-hour stint. Porsche medical deemed him fit to drive another stint but not before rehydrating and cooling off. Bergmeister ended his race like always, in the driver’s seat of the No. 73.
 
“Third place is alright considering,” Bergmeister said. “It was so hot in the car; I got in during the hottest time of day. Without the cool suit and no water, it was just awful conditions. So, it was harder for me to push as hard as I wanted really. I think we did a good job, no big issues on our part. We ran a clean race. I’m very happy for the team, of course, it’s always better to end with a podium.”
 
Park Place Motorsports has not yet revealed its plans for the 2018 season. Porsche Motorsports North America has continued to pledge its support to the team as has sponsor Park Place Porsche of Dallas. The team is focused on a comeback to the GTD class in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.