Patrick Pilet is a French racing driver who serves as Porsche factory driver for more than ten years, currently competing full-time in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and occasionally in other GT competitions.
Pilet's first big success with Porsche was a victory in the French Porsche Carrera Cup in 2007. Since then, he collected numerous trophies with Porsche in different championships all over the world, including two GT class podiums at 24h Le Mans, IMSA GTLM class championship title, victory at 24h Nurburgring...
French Formula Renault champion in 2004
Following is a relatively successful career in karting competitions as a teenager, Patrick Pilet entered car racing in 2000, competing in Formula France and then in Formula Renault. He was waiting for the first Formula Renault victory until 2003, when he won two races and finished second in the points, losing the championship to Graff Racing teammate Loic Duval.
A year later, Pilet stayed with Graff Racing and he was on the top podium spot after five races, winning the championship title in the French Formula Renault. He also participated in five rounds of the Formula Renault Eurocup, winning the race at Donington Park.
Two seasons in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series
In 2005, the next step in Patrick's career was the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, the competition just one step below Formula 1. In the first season, he was driving for Jenzer Motorsport in four rounds and then for GD Racing in the last two rounds, scoring one podium to finish 11th in the points.
In 2006, he continued to race with GD Racing but later moved to Tech 1 Racing. Without wins or podiums, he was just 21st in the points.
French Carrera Cup champion in 2007
After a relatively poor performance in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, it was clear that his future isn't in open-wheel racing so he switched to GT racing, entering the French Porsche Carrera Cup with IMSA Performance team.
In fourteen races, he reached the podium nine times, including four victories, to win the championship title ahead of Frederic Makowiecki, who later became his teammate in the Porsche factory team.
Starting a North American career in 2008
With the national championship trophy in his hands, Pilet was ready for the international GT career and he spent 2008 as a full-time competitor in the American Le Mans Series, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Flying Lizard Motorsports. Sharing the #46 Porsche with Johannes van Overbeek, he scored five podiums to finish third in the GT2 class final standings.
Outside ALMS, he raced at 24h Daytona with Alegra Motorsports (DNF) and a couple of rounds of the Italian GT Championship with Autorlando Sport.
Podium at Daytona 24 Hours in 2009
After spending a season in the US, Pilet returned to Europe in 2009 to drive a Porsche for the IMSA Performance Matmut team in the International GT Open and Le Mans Series. Sharing a car with team owner Raymond Narac, he won six races in the International GT Open and finished third in the points. In the Le Mans Series, they were on a podium two times, finishing sixth in the points.
In January 2009, Pilet joined Wright Motorsports at 24 Hours of Daytona, finishing third in the GT class. Five months later, he made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving the #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for IMSA Performance Matmut. Sharing a car with Raymond Narac and Patrick Long, he didn't finish the race.
Podium at Spa 24 Hours in 2010
In 2010, Pilet stayed with the IMSA Performance Matmut team both in the International GT Open and Le Mans Series. Four wins and fourth place was his result in GT Open. In the Le Mans Series, he was fifth with just one podium.
In his second attempt at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving again the #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for IMSA Performance Matmut and sharing it with Narac and Long, Pilet finished fifth in the GT2 class. The highlight of the season was second place at 24 Hours of Spa in August. His co-drivers in that race were Narac, Long and Richard Lietz.
Pilet was fifth again in the GT2 class at Le Mans in 2011, sharing a car with Raymond Narac and Nicolas Armindo. For the rest of the season, he raced in the Le Mans Series.
GT class podium at 2012 Sebring 12 Hours
In 2012, the inaugural season of the revived FIA World Endurance Championship, Pilet participated in three races with two teams (Felbmayr-Proton and Flying Lizard Motorsports), finishing second in GTE Pro class at Sebring 12 Hours, winning GTE Pro class at Spa and finishing fourth in GTE Am class at Le Mans 24h.
For the rest of the season, his main competition was the International GT Open again, driving a Porsche for IMSA Performance Matmut. He won one race to finish sixth in the points.
2013 - first Le Mans podium with Porsche factory team
In 2013, Pilet became a member of the Porsche factory squad in the FIA World Endurance Championship, spending a season in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR.
His full-time co-driver was Jorg Bergmeister. In eight races, they were on a podium five times, including second place in the GTE Pro class at 24 Hours of Le Mans. The third co-driver in that race was Timo Bernhard.
GTLM class victory at 2014 Daytona 24 Hours
Later during the season, he participated in three more IMSA SportsCar Championship events but his main job was to drive the #91 Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He and Fred Makowiecki won the race in Shanghai. At the end of the season, Pilet finished fourth in the final classification for GT drivers.
IMSA GTLM champion in 2015
In 2015, Pilet had a double programme as Porsche factory driver, competing full season both in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship. He was much more successful in the North American competition, winning four races in the GTLM class and becoming the champion. He changed six co-drivers in the #911 Porsche during the season so he was the sole champion.
In the FIA WEC, his only victory was in the season's finale at Bahrain and he finished sixth in the final points. At 24 Hours of Le Mans, he didn't finish the race.
Focusing to North American racing since 2016
In 2016, Pilet left FIA WEC, racing only at Le Mans 24h and not finishing the race. His full-time job was at the wheel of the #911 Porsche in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, together with Nick Tandy. They won one race (Long Beach) to finish 8th in the GTLM standings.
In 2017, Pilet's full-time co-driver in the #911 Porsche was Dirk Werner. They won at Lime Rock Park only and finished fifth in the final IMSA GTLM classification. Outside the IMSA championship, Pilet joined Porsche GT Team at Le Mans and finished fourth in the GTE Pro class.
Victory at 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 2018
Nick Tandy was Pilet's co-driver again in the 2018 IMSA SportsCar Championship season in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. They two races, Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans, finishing seventh in the GTLM standings and second in the North American Endurance Cup.
Outside IMSA, the highlight of the season was the overall victory at 24 Hours of Nürburgring, together with Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy in Manthey Racing's #912 Porsche 911 GT3 R. At Le Mans 24h, Pilet, Tandy and Earl Bamber finished just 10th in GTE Pro class.
2019 – three IMSA GTLM victories, podiums at Le Mans, Spa
In 2019, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy wee partners again in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, taking three wins in the #911 Porsche (Sebring, Watkins Glen, Virginia) and finishing the season second in the points.
In other competitions, Pilet finished third in the GTE Pro class at 24 Hours of Le Mans and second at 24 Hours of Spa.
Photos: Patrick Pilet,