The Classic 12 Hours of Sebring is the traditional start to the American Le Man Series. This upcoming weekend's race (running for the 57th time on Saturday) is the oldest in the US and will field five (5) Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in a hunt for the title.
Five of the 450 hp 911 GT3 RSR contest the GT2 class at the season-opener of the race series showcasing the world’s fastest sports cars. Racing for the Flying Lizard Motorsports team, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) hold good winning chances in Sebring. In 2005 they won here for Porsche and secured the championship title. With two Sebring victories to his credit (2005, 2008), as well as three championship titles (2005, 2006, 2008) with Porsche, Joerg Bergmeister is one of the most successful drivers in the American Le Mans Series. Stay tuned on Friday for Porsche Purist.com's in-depth interview with Joerg on how he got his start, his transition from open wheel racing to driving Porsches and what it means to be a Porsche factory driver.
“Sebring is the toughest race of the season and one of my favorites. The bumpy circuit is very demanding and hard to drive,” says Joerg Bergmeister. Like Patrick Long, he is thrilled with the further developed 911 GT3 RSR. After initial tests he said: “The new car handles better than the old one, and that was already very good.” For the Porsche works driver, the 2009 racing season kicked off with a class win at the Daytona 24 hour race as part of the Grand-Am Series.
Sharing driving duties in the second Flying Lizard Motorsports 911 GT3 RSR are Americans Darren Law, Seth Neimann and Johannes van Overbeek. VICI Racing also plan to race two 911 GT3 RSR. Their drivers have yet to be confirmed.
With 18 overall and 63 class victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the 12 Hours of Sebring. The race starts on Saturday, March 21st, at 10.35 hours local time.
Sebring Facts and Figures
- Sebring International Raceway is a 3.7 mile, 17-turn circuit. It is the Oldest road course in North America, portions of which were originally a WWII B-17 training base.
- 3,360 cars have started the 12 Hours of Sebring, covering over 2.3 million miles on the famous circuit.
- 102 drivers have won the 12 Hours of Sebring. Thirty-nine drivers from the USA have won, more than any other country.
- Audi has won Sebring eight consecutive years.
- In 2008, the 57th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented By Fresh From Florida received 170,800 spectators.
- Steve McQueen, James Brolin, Gene Hackman, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Newman and Patrick Dempsey are among the many entertainers who have driven at Sebring
[Source: PCNA, Sebring International Raceway]
[Images: PCNA, Google Earth, autosportimage.com]