I just love the smell of orange blossoms and race fuel in the morning. It can mean only one thing. It's time for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring! This year's race, the 64th, was one for the history books. Due to heavy, heavy rains and dangerous lightning, the race was under a red flag for more than 2 hours. The 12 Hours of Sebring slowly became the 9 hours and 45 minutes of Sebring. In fact, this is only the 6th time it has rained during the 12 hour race with the last time being in 1997.
Normally, rain favors Porsche's racing game. This weekend, it looked like that would be the case once again. Before the torrential rains temporarily halted the race, during lap 6,6 Porsche was running first and second in the GTLM category. However, once the race restarted, a hard crash during lap 126 took out both the lead Porsche and Corvette. From there, the best our team could hope for was a third place finish as the 911 RSR just couldn't keep up the lead pace in the drier conditions.
Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “Our race was good and we really deserved the podium result. Our 911 RSR was very well prepared and the team had developed a great strategy, which enabled us to fight to the flag. Unfortunately our opponents were a little faster, but still it was a good result for Porsche.”
Porsche's full race report is available under the pictures below. When viewing the images, simply click the "x" in top left corner of the picture gallery to return to the post at any time.
Porsche 911 RSR third at Florida long distance classic
In a gripping and dynamic race under at times very difficult conditions, Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) scored third place in the GTLM class with the 911 RSR fielded by Porsche North America. In the drivers’ championship of the most important sports car series in North America, they moved up the rankings to now sit second. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche maintains second position. Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Kévin Estre (France) did not make it to the flag. While running in the lead, a collision resulted in them having to park their 911 RSR.
The 64th edition of the oldest and toughest sports car race in the United States will not be forgotten quickly by the 140,000 fans who visited the racetrack. When severe weather with torrential rain, thunder and lightning broke out over the storied race track three hours after the start, the long distance classic in the heart of Florida had to be stopped for more than two hours. In the history of the race, rain has fallen only six times before – most recently in 1997.
Before rain began to flood large stretches of the circuit, the Porsche 911 RSR made the most of the situation. As conditions worsened, Le Man winners Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber were in their element at the wheel of the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach, which had received modifications to the aerodynamics to comply with the new regulations. Nick Tandy took over the wheel of the #911 racer from the reigning IMSA GT champion Patrick Pilet, and in deteriorating conditions had moved into the lead after 56 laps. Earl Bamber battled his way up the order to second place in the number 912 contender with which he had secured third at the season-opening round at Daytona. After 66 laps, the race was red-flagged due to the weather turmoil and the flooded racetrack, and the field was directed back to the pits. At this time, the two Porsche held positions one and two.
Even as the track dried, after the enforced interruption the 911 RSR turned consistently quick lap times amongst the strong GTLM frontrunners. Kévin Estre, the teammate of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, held the lead after seven hours, with Michael Christensen running in third in the sister car. But shortly afterwards, after 116 laps, the leading 911 RSR was out: While fighting for the lead, Kévin Estre had collided with a Corvette in Turn 13, ended up in a tyre barrier and retired. Michael Christensen inherited the lead spot, but under dry conditions was unable to maintain the lead. Frédéric Makowiecki took the wheel of the 911 RSR at the next pit stop while running fourth. The Frenchman quickly made up a position, and Earl Bamber did the rest: Until shortly before the flag he was running in second place, but was ultimately flagged off in third just five seconds off the leader.
GTLM class race result
1. Gavin/Fässler/Milner (GB/CH/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, 235 laps
2. Auberlen/Spengler/Werner (USA/CDN/D), BMW M6, 235
3. Makowiecki/Bamber/Christensen (F/NZ/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 235
4. Fisichella/Rigon/Vilander (I/I/SF), Ferrari 488, 235
5. Briscoe/Dixon/Westbrook (AUS/USA/GB), Ford GT, 235
6. Edwards/Luhr/Wittmer (USA/D/CH), BMW M6, 235
10. Tandy/Pilet/Estre (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 116
GTD class race results
1. Segal/Nielsen/Balzan (USA/DK/S), Ferrari 488, 229 laps
2. Klingmann/Curtis/Freiberg (D/USA/USA), BMW M6, 229
3. Potter/Seefried/Lally (USA/D/USA), Audi R8, 229
4. Farnbacher/James/Riberas (D/GB/E), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 229
5. McNeil/Keen/Jeannette (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 229
6. Miller/Sellers/Snow (USA/USA/USA), Lamborghini, 229
GTLM Drivers Points’ standings
1. Millner, Fässler, Gavin, Corvette, 72 points
2. Bamber, Christensen, Makowiecki, Porsche, 62
3. Auberlen, Spengler, Werner, BMW, 60
4. Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller, Chevrolet, 56
5. Fisichella, Rigon, Vilander, Ferrari, 55
6. Pier Guidi, Serra, 54
7. Briscoe, Westbrook, Ford, 50
8. Bourdais, Hand, Müller, Ford, 49
9. Estre, Pilet, Tandy, Porsche, 46
1. Chevrolet, 70 points
2. Porsche, 62
3. BMW, 60
4. Ferrari, 58
5. Ford, 52
1. #4 Corvette Racing, 72 points
2. #912 Porsche North America, 62
3. #25 BMW Team RLL, 60
4. #3 Corvette Racing, 56
5. #62 Risi Competizione, 55
6. #68 Scuderia Corsa, 54
7. #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 50
8. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 47
9. #100 BMW Team RLL, 47
10. #911 Porsche North America, 46
This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship
The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, which was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), P (Prototype) and PC (Prototype Challenge). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.