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Pfaff Motorsports Leaves Indianapolis With Promising Result

The Pfaff Motorsports Porsche battled for a 4th place finish at Indy. Photo: Stephen Conley | TPF

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – While it has been a challenging season for the No. 9 Porsche 911 for Pfaff Motorsports, last Sunday’s race at Indianapolis gave the team a much needed boost ahead of the finale of the 2023 Weathertech Sports Car Championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in October.

With incredible pace and leading a portion of Saturday’s session, it was a big start for the team and they would carry that momentum over into qualifying, finding themselves taking the pole award for the second time this season. On Sunday, coming to the fronststretch for the start of the race, pole sitter Klaus Bachler wanted to get a look at a battle in class, changing lanes too soon.

This resulted in a drive through penalty, forcing the Pfaff team to adjust strategy and fight a little harder than expected going in to the race.

After the race, Bachler was contrite about the opening lap mistake.

“I have to apologize to the team.,” he said. “At the start, I made a mistake and I went too early to the right side. I just wanted to fight with P2 in our class.”

With a short two hour and forty minute sprint race, mistakes can hamper any chance at a win. Bacheler and Patrick Pilet battled all day hoping for a little luck with yellow flags. That was not quite in their cards for the Porsche powered team.

“We were not one hundred percent lucky with the yellows,” Bachler said. “There was only a chance to catch the Corvette before the end. It’s sad because we had really good pace today.”

Still, Bachler believed the team had a really strong shot at a win last Sunday.

Learning Indy

Pilet took over driving duties just past the one hour mark in to the race and had a shot at the Corvette at the end to try and get to the podium.

However, he was not only having to drive from behind, but learn the racetrack. Namely, Pilet came in to this race having nothing more that two practice sessions to get accustomed to this 14 turn course.

“It may look easy on paper,” Pilet said. “But when you get out there, it is very deceiving.”

Nevertheless, Pilet and the team entered the race on the pole and wanted to make sure they kept the car in position to make that learning curve a little easier. Although that did not happen, Pilet benefited from great strategy calls from his team, overcoming the lack of time on the track doing what he does best — driving the race car.

Prior to the race, Pilet observed how Indianapolis reminded him a little bit of Sebring which Pfaff won at earlier this year.

“Indy has some very technical sections and you have to extremely precise when attacking those corners,” Pilet said. “This track is surprisingly fast in areas that you’d expect to be a little slower.”

Mainly, the two corners that Pilet referenced are Turns 1 and 7. Both were at the end of long straightaways which most drivers observed as the two best passing opportunities on the 14 turn course.

Similarly, Pilet echoed many drivers sentiments and the close, nip and tuck nature of racing in these tight corners. Contact was a regular occurrence for some of the field.

As for Pilet and Bachler, they were able to avoid most of the incidents, remaining in contention with their fast Porsche. Now, they have an opportunity to go to Road Atlanta with an outside shot at the championship.

Pfaff’s drivers understand that it will take a perfect weekend to have a shot.

“The mistake happened, we can’t change it and now we just have to look forward to Petit Le Mans next month,” Bachler said.

It was a hard fought drive from the Pfaff drivers to get back to fourth. (Photo: Wayne Riegle | The Podium Finish)

A hard drive at Indianapolis by Pilet left him with optimism heading into the final race.

“I’m proud of the engineers and the guys on the box because the car was great,” he said. “The car was very nice to drive and I had a lot of fun. I had a shot at the end to drive flat out and try to catch the Corvette. I managed to do it without any issues like in practice. It was nice to be back in a fast car again.”

Pfaff Motorsports will take the next month to get their Porsche ready, hoping to have the same speed they did at Indianapolis and vie for another win in the Motul Petit Le mans.

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera. I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO. The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth. Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras. My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports. See you at a track soon

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