After scoring pole position in 2014 and 2015, the best Porsche 911 RSR this year takes up the 12 Hours of Sebring – round two of the IMSA SportsCar Championship – from the fourth grid row. In the qualifying for the long-distance classic on the bumpy airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, the reigning IMSA GT champion Patrick Pilet (France) clocked the seventh quickest time in the GTLM class with his 470 hp 911 RSR (#911) fielded by the Porsche North America works squad. His teammates for Saturday’s race are Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Kévin Estre (France). Last year’s polesitter, Frédéric Makowiecki (France), planted the second Porsche 911 RSR on tenth place. Sharing driving duties with him in the cockpit of the #912 racer are Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Michael Christensen (Denmark). With 18 overall and 70 class victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the illustrious history of the 12-hour race.
In the GTD class, the best-placed Porsche 911 GT3 R set fourth in qualifying for the second longest race of the US season. The new customer racer from Weissach is campaigned by the Seattle/Alex Job Racing team with drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Alex Riberas (Spain), and Ian James (Great Britain).
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The qualifying didn’t turn out quite as we’d expected. First of all, this shows just how strong our opposition is, but it also underlines how tight the GTLM field is. But the qualifying results are not quite as critical in a twelve-hour race. Much depends on the weather. The forecast is somewhat vague, but it might rain and we wouldn’t mind that. However, I hope that our race result doesn’t depend just on the weather, but rather on the performance of the team and what we’re capable of over these twelve hours. In any case, we’re focussed and well prepared.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “This qualifying was closer than expected. And that is positive in itself. After not doing so well in the final free practice we opted for a completely different setup in qualifying. That didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, but we’ve been heading in the right direction. I believe we have the speed for the race, especially if it’s hot. I don’t regard the fact that we’re not starting further up the front as a major problem. I’m definitely feeling more confident now than I was before the qualifying. And as for our chances: You can win a twelve-hour race from the seventh grid spot, as well.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “Last year we started from pole position after an excellent qualifying and experienced bad luck in the race. Perhaps it’ll be the opposite for us this time.”
The race gets underway on Saturday at 10.40 hrs local time (15.40 hrs CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA on http://www.imsa.com.
First race victory for the new Cayman GT4 Clubsport
The new Porsche Cayman GT Clubsport celebrated its first win in a professional race on the Sebring International Raceway. Cameron Cassels (Canada) and Trend Hindman (USA) won the IMSA SportsCar Challenge round for Bodymotion Racing, which was held on Saturday just before the qualifying session for the 12 Hours of Sebring. The Cayman GT4 Clubsport mounted with a mid-engine 385 hp flat six engine is positioned just below the 911 GT3 Cup and caters for ambitious amateur racers and hobby drivers.
1. Auberlen/Spengler/Werner (USA/CDN/D), BMW M6, 1:58.402 minutes
2. Edwards/Luhr/Wittmer (USA/D/CH), BMW M6, + 0.190 seconds
3. Guidi/Bertolini/Serra (I/I/BRA), Ferrari 488, + 0.235
4. Briscoe/Dixon/Westbrook (AUS/USA/GB), Ford GT, + 0.306
5. Garcia/Rockenfeller/Magnussen (E/D/DK) Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.454
6. Gavin/Fässler/Milner (GB/CH/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.476
7. Tandy/Pilet/Estre (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.607
10. Makowiecki/Bamber/Christensen (F/NZ/DK), + 0.768
1. Segal/Nielsen/Balzan (USA/DK/S), Ferrari 488, 2:02.350 minutes
2. Keeting/Miller/Bleekemolen (USA/USA/NL), Dodge Viper, + 0.036 seconds
3. Klingmann/Curtis/Freiberg (D/USA/USA), BMW M6, + 0.310
4. Farnbacher/James/Riberas (D/GB/E), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.687
5. McNeil/Keen/Jeannette (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.891
6. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.934