The "36-Hours of Florida" came to a close last night when the checkered flag flew at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. With a promising start for the Porsche factory 911s, the team and fans alike were hopeful the damage done at the start of the season during the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona could be undone. For the first 11 hours of the 12 hour race it looked like the problems of Daytona were safely in the rear-view. Then, it all fell apart in a way that only those familiar with endurance racing can understand. Fortunately, it wasn't all doom and gloom for Porsche and there were celebrations in both GTD and GTLM. More importantly, despite the final results, the factory platform, the 911 RSR, looked very competitive. Read Porsche's full race report after the gallery for all the details.
Porsche's Full Race Report From The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring
Both of Porsche's factory 911 RSRs ran near perfect races for the first 11 hours. With the No.911 and No.912 running 1-2 they commanded a large lead over 3rd place. Then, in a matter of minutes, it all fell apart.
Issues With The No. 912 Porsche
The No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR started the race in P1 and ran in the top 3 for most of the race. However, on their last pit stop, the crew was unable to remove the left rear-tire and had to send the car back around. After completing one more lap No.911 rumbled back in and the tire was successful changed. However, they were now two laps down. Shortly after rolling back onto the track the left rear tire could be seen trying to shake itself off. It was apparent that the wheel nut had failed, locking the wheel to the hub. After attempting to make repairs in the pits, Porsche moved No.912 back to the paddock to finish repairs. When they emerged, 30-minutes later, they had lost muliple positions and finished the race in seventh in GTLM.
Jörg Bergmeister had this to say, “At the beginning of the race, we had the quickest car. For the whole race we were able to fight for the lead or lead the race. But in the end, it is unfortunate, very unfortunate, that we had that problem with the wheel nut. But the positive thing is that we were very competitive and I look forward to Long Beach now.”
Issues With The No. 911 Porsche
With the No. 912 out, it was up to the No. 911 car to take things home for Porsche's factory team. However, within minutes, Porsche pilot was reporting shifting problems and the 911 began to slow. It was soon overtaken by the winning Corvette and Tandy finished the race in 5th place.
Patrick Pilet, had this to say, "The car was strong. The entire team was strong. I think we can be proud because honestly it was the best race I have ever had. From aspect of pace, no contact, the car was really quick, the mechanics did a great job, the strategy was perfect. Unfortunately, we had a problem shifting, but that’s motorsport, this can happen. It is really frustrating because we had the perfect chance to win both races, Daytona and Sebring, and we didn’t get it but we will continue to fight. I’m pretty optimistic because the team is really strong and that’s a good thing to have.”
Hope Remains With The Team Falken Tire 911 RSR
Alongside the two factory 911s, Team Falken Tire ran in one of the top five positions for most of the 12-hour race. When the two factory Porsche's fell behind, and the chance of a Porsche 1-2 finish (or perhaps a podium sweep) was lost, it was the No. 17 Team Falken Tire entry driven by Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler and Patrick Long as well as Falken Tire factory driver Bryan Sellers who took the podium with a third-place finish in GTLM.
Patrick Long had this to say, “A long day. Sebring is always difficult but today was extra difficult with the heat. We had a great start to the race to get up with the lead pack. I’m happy with the podium after a pretty trying day. I think the guys had great pit stops all day and it was awesome to lead early on. It’s a great honor to be a part of this group with Bryan and Wolf, Walker Racing and the Falken organization. I look forward to Petit Le Mans and I wish these guys the best the rest of the season.”
Porsche 911 GT America - GT Daytona
Like the faster GTLM class, the GT Daytona class has become a model of close competition. However, nowhere in the Pro-Am class’ history has proven to be more competitive than closing laps of today’s second round of the 2015 season. The battle throughout the day saw the Porsche 911 GT America challenge the Dodge Viper SRT for class superiority throughout the race. In the closing minutes of the 12-hour event, the No. 23 Team Seattle Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America – shared by Ian James, Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas – led with ten-minutes remaining. Under heavy pressure from the Viper, Farnbacher went deep into Turn 10 and off the track. He returned undamaged but now in second-place. With four minutes left on the clock, the Viper rolled into pit lane without power and a blown engine. Farnbacher brought the No. 23 home with the win. Giving Porsche its 70th win.
Mario Farnbacher had this to say about the race, “I was battling with the Aston Martin and the Viper. I really beat up the front tires. With the new set of tires and the cooler temperatures I was good at the end until I started to lose the brakes. I struggled to keep the Viper behind me and then he went past. I thought it was over. The team radioed and said he pitted and got out of the car and that I had 10 seconds lead on the Aston. I just kept my focus and brought the car home for the win. It is a great feeling to get Team Seattle their first win, especially at Sebring!”
In 63 years of the 12 Hours of Sebring, Porsche has stood on the top step of the podium with class and overall victories 70 times. 10 of those class victories have Alex Job Racing pedigrees. Alex Job Racing has Sebring victories in 2015, 2013, 2012 (one-two in GTC class), 2010 (one-two-three in GTC), 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1995.
Alex Job, owner, Alex Job Racing talks about their history at Sebring, “Wow, ten wins at Sebring. Super Mario [Farnbacher] brought it home for us. We went through the full range of emotions at the end. Mario did a great job to bring the car home for the win. Ian and Alex did had fantastic runs all day and had the car up in the top five all race. We had good strategy and great pit stops. The only hiccup we had was a flat tire in the late afternoon, but we were able to overcome that and take the win. What a day!”
GT Le Mans Standings
1. No. 3 Jan Magnusson (Denmark)/Antonio Garcia (Spain)/Ryan Briscoe (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R – 330 laps
2. No. 62 Pierre Kaffer (Germany)/Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy)/Andrea Bertolini (Italy), Ferrari F458 Italia – 330 laps
3. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA)/Patrick Long (USA), Porsche 911 RSR – 329 laps
4. No. 24 John Edwards (USA)/Lucas Luhr (Germany)/Jens Klingmann (Germany), BMW Z4 GTE – 329 laps
5. No. 911 Nick Tandy (UK)/Patrick Pilet (France)/Marc Lieb (Germany), Porsche 911 RSR – 328 laps
7. No. 912 Jörg Bergmeister (Germany)/Frédéric Makowiecki (France)/Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Porsche 911 RSR – 317 laps
GT Daytona Standings
1. No. 23 Ian James (USA)/Mario Farnbacher (Germany)/Alex Riberas (Spain), Porsche 911 GT America – 318 laps
2. No. 007 Christina Nielsen (Denmark)/James Davison (Australia)/Brandon Davis (USA), Aston Martin V12 Vantage – 318 laps
3. No. 63 Bill Sweedler (USA)/Townsend Bell (USA)/Anthony Lazzaro (USA), Ferrari 458 Italia – 318 laps
4. No. 93 Al Carter (USA)/Marc Goossens (Belgium)/Ben Keating (USA)/Cameron Lawrence (USA), Dodge Viper SRT – 317 laps
5. No. 48 Christopher Haase (Germany)/Miller (USA)/von Moltke (USA), Audi R8 LMS – 317 laps
6. No. 58 Madison Snow (USA)/Jan Heylen (USA)/Emilio Valverde (Costa Rica), Porsche 911 GT America – 316 laps
7. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (USA)/Leh Keen (USA)/Andrew Davis (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 316 laps
11. No. 44 John Potter (USA)/Andy Lally (USA)/Marco Seefried (Germany) Porsche 911 GT America – 179 laps
12. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/Spencer Pumpelly (USA)/Jim Norman (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 155 laps
13. No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Mike Skeen (USA)/Michael Avenatti (USA)/Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), Porsche 911 GT America – 104 laps