The penultimate race of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Fuji, Japan, saw Team Project 1 together with Optimum Motorsport/Inception Racing shine with fast cars, confident racing and well-executed pit stops. Despite their best efforts, however, the team eventually had to give way to the faster competitors from Aston Martin and Ferrari in the LMGTE Am class.
“We had a nice event. The cars were great and the drivers were in good spirits too. Like all teams in our class, we had problems with building up the tyre pressure over the weekend. But the goal was very clear, to go full throttle and keep everything together. We did that”, team boss Axel Funke looks back positively on the visit to Fuji Speedway.
The trio of the number 46 Porsche 911 RSR collected important points. Owing to a strong and flawless team effort, Niki Leutwiler, Mikkel O. Pedersen and Matteo Cairoli secured sixth place during the race. The third and fastest driver of the combination, Matteo Cairoli, was even able to fight his way in front of the Spirit of Race Ferrari.
The sister car with number 56 was also driven flawlessly over the entire race distance. Takeshi Kimura, Ollie Millroy and Ben Barnicoat took the chequered flag in eighth place in the LMGTE Am class, giving Porsche its second-best result. Kimura left an excellent impression in front of his home crowd. The 51-year-old showed an impressive performance and was on par with the other Bronze drivers in the field.
Considering the conditions, Axel Funke is satisfied with the results of the weekend. “The race went well and given the circumstances we really made the most of it, but we just couldn’t keep up with the pace of the top finishers. Our amateur drivers in particular did a great job and consistently improved throughout the race. Now we’re going to Bahrain feeling satisfied and will be again showing what we’re made of.”
The last race of the FIA WEC for the team from the German town of Lohne is scheduled for 12 November when the Bahrain 8 Hours wraps up the championship.
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