Super in Sebring: Porsche Wins the 12-Hour Race

Porsche has notched up yet another victory at the “Super Sebring” race weekend. Nick Tandy and his teammates Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki took the flag in first place in the Porsche 911 RSR at the twelve-hour race of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship.

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The Race
With this success, the trio in the No. 911 car have not only repeated their win from last year, but also rounded off an extremely successful weekend for Porsche. A day earlier, the racing car from Weissach had won both GTE classes at the 1,000-mile race of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. The No. 912 sister car driven by Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) finished the thrilling long-distance classic in the USA on fifth place.
Early on in the race, lack of grip in the heavy rain initially threw both Porsche 911 RSR down the field. As conditions improved at the half-way point of the race, the experienced Porsche GT Team utilised every last strength of the car. Thanks to great tactics, top-class driving and flawless teamwork, the No. 911 car fought its way back into the lead. In a gripping finale, Nick Tandy fended off all attacks and crossed the finish line after twelve hours with a 1.951-second lead. Tandy, Pilet and Makowiecki are the first driver trio to win the IMSA race at Sebring twice in a row. Thanks to their victory, the No. 911 crew now ranks first in the overall classification. The No. 912 line-up fell back two laps in the early phase. Putting in a spirited charge through the field, the Daytona podium finishers concluded the race on fifth.

In the GTD class, the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Pfaff Motorsports customer team held the lead for about half of the race distance. The rewards for this strong performance from Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) and his Canadian teammates Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon were few. While switching out a faulty sensor in the 500 hp GT3 racer from Weissach, the squad lost crucial ground and reached the flag after twelve hours in tenth. Prior to this, the trio had held a comfortable lead over long stretches. In the identical vehicle run by Park Place Motorsports, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (USA) and his compatriots Nicholas Boulle and Patrick Lindsey narrowly missed out on climbing the podium with sixth place.

Comments on the Race

Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “I’ve been in motorsport for a long time, but I’ve never experienced anything like this. Within 48 hours we won a 1,000-mile race and a twelve-hour race with our factory teams at one venue. That’s phenomenal. I was impressed by how focussed every single person worked. That’s what sets Porsche apart. And we mustn’t forget the successful performances from our customer teams. It was one of the best motor racing weekends I’ve ever experienced – just brilliant.”
 
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “Perhaps we should rename the event the “Porsche Super Sebring” race weekend. Three pole positions, three victories – what more could you want. Our team did everything right. Ultimately, when things went down to the wire, we were there. The key moment was when we reclaimed the lead after a perfectly timed pit stop. Our strategy was to wait and strike at the right moment. Now it’s time to celebrate!”
 
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “It somehow feels unreal. We started from pole position, and then we were running last, and now we celebrate our second Sebring victory in a row – unbelievable! Our team is simply something very special. We never gave up, we always believed that we had a chance and now we’re standing here as winners. It’s indescribable.”

Qualifying

The Porsche GT Team takes up the 12 Hours of Sebring from the first two grid spots. Patrick Pilet (France) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) posted the fastest lap times in qualifying for the second round of this year’s IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. This marks the first time that the two Porsche 911 RSR, which contest the long distance classic in Florida again decked out in the design of the legendary Brumos team, line up side-by-side on the first grid row in the North American sports car championship. So far in the “Super Sebring” race weekend, Porsche has a perfect record. On the previous day, the works driver colleagues Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) had clinched pole position for the 1,000-mile race of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC.
 
Pilet (France) made perfect use of the grip of the fresh tyres in his first fast lap. With top times in all three sectors of the 6.02 kilometre racetrack, the Frenchman clearly underlined the huge potential of the Porsche 911 RSR. Last year, Pilet won the twelve-hour race at Sebring in the No. 911 car with his works driver teammates Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). During his first flying lap, Vanthoor (Belgium) missed out on topping the time sheets, but in his second fast lap he managed to push past all other cars from manufacturers contesting the GTLM class. The Belgian shares the cockpit of the No. 912 car with factory driver Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France). Early this year at the season-opener in Daytona, the trio had scored a podium result.
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