After a difficult start to the 66th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Wright Motorsports bounced back from two laps down and earned a sixth place finish for the No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen, Mathieu Jaminet and Robert Renauer.
After qualifying eleventh in the GT-Daytona class, Nielsen had the honor of taking the green flag for the 12-hour classic. Following a clean start, the Porsche Selected driver managed to drive the No. 58 Porsche as high as fifth place in her opening stints.
Known for its challenging and unforgiving attributes, Sebring presented the team with a number of challenges- including a pit lane penalty and a minor off – that set them back two laps in the early stages of the race. Despite the setbacks, the John Wright-led team wasn’t prepared to give up. From there, the group maintained their composure, kept the car clean, and proceeded to knock out quick laps.
Long was in the midst of a stellar stint when a full course caution came out and with four hours remaining, the No. 58 Porsche was brought back onto the lead lap. That’s when the tension picked up and Jaminet, was called up to complete his first laps of the race.
After joining the race from fourteenth in class, the Porsche Young Professional managed to climb his way up to fifth before handing the car back over to Long for a single stint. Long maintained the pace and returned the controls to Jaminet for the final two hours of the race, where he drove the car up to podium contention in third place.
With the nature of endurance racing, it’s rare that any two teams are on the same strategy and pit cycles, which can lead to excitement, but also unpredictability. That was proven with 50-minutes remaining, when Jaminet pitted from third to take fuel. Once he re-entered the field, the Frenchman was demoted back to eighth in class. He continued to push for tenths of seconds and ultimately brought the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a sixth place finish.
The Batavia Ohio based team looks to best this result on home ground as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to competition May 4-6 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Patrick Long // Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “I feel like the end result of the race really isn’t reflective of the speed the race car really had. This was a great step forward from Daytona in performance and execution. I’m very proud of my teammates and the entire Wright organization. It was also great to have our partners from Porsche Consulting here this weekend to cheer us on. That will push us forward in momentum so we can go after a podium in the next round at Mid-Ohio.”
Christina Nielsen // Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – This last week was a week with mixed emotions. I got to know the team a lot better, which was really good for me. Their professionalism, optimism and hard-work is really something that’s hard to come across and a pleasure to be around. The Twelve Hours of Sebring is never an easy race and unfortunately this wasn’t our weekend. Even as hard as we tried, any endurance racing result is determined by a lot of external factors that can be without a driver or crew member’s role. It was not flawless, but it was a process in the right direction and I very much look forward to continuing that process when we get to Mid-Ohio.”
Mathieu Jaminet // Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “I would like to thank Wright Motorsports and my teammates for allowing me to race this weekend. This was a great opportunity for me. During the race we did a great job with no mistakes from the crew or drivers and we had a really strong car. We maximized our package throughout the weekend. I’m a little bit disappointed with where we ended up because we had some really tough fights during the race. It was still a good points race and there’s long way to go for the team. I wish them the best and hope to be back later in the year.”
Robert Renauer // Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “Thanks to my teammates and the whole Wright Motorsports team. Everyone did a great job the whole weekend. We had a great car and were very strong in the end. Unfortunately, we lost some positions after the last pitstop, which cost us a good result. Of course we are disappointed, but this gives us another reason to come back stronger.”
Source. Carlin Sanderson/Wright Motorsports