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2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring:

 

Porsche Wins GTD Class

 

By: Kevin Sims

Photos: Porsche Press

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SEBRING, Florida - March 21, 2015 - After 12 grueling hours of intense heat and event more intense competition at Sebring International Raceway, Porsche captured its 70th career class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. The No. 23 Team Seattle Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America took the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class victory, adding to the German marque’s status as the most-winning manufacturer in the legendary North American endurance race. Adding to the success, the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR earned a podium finish in the manufacturer-laden GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.

 

Porsche 911 RSR

 

Consistency and speed were the hallmarks of the Porsche 911 RSR on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring circuit. Each of the three entered 911 RSRs – the most advanced variant of the seventh-generation of the iconic sports car – led during the first 11 hours of the 12-hour race. Despite near record-high ambient and track temperatures, the balance of the rear-engine racers proved steady over the course of each fuel stint and throughout the race. Ultimately, it was the No. 17 Team Falken Tire entry driven by Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) as well as Falken Tire factory driver Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia) which would take the podium with a third-place finish.

 

Factory drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Patrick Pilet (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) ran a flawless race in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR backed by a mistake-free strategy and crew work in pit lane. The official works entry held a strong lead into the final hour when a shifting problem slowed the car. Tandy would bring the car home in fifth in class.

 

The No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR sat on the pole position and would challenge its sister car and the Falken customer entry throughout the race. Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) were threatening for a podium finish when the left-rear wheel nut failed, locking the wheel to the hub. The team attempted to make repairs in pit lane but would move to the paddock to finish repairs. The car returned to track with 30-minutes remaining to finish seventh in GTLM.

 

Porsche 911 GT America

 

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 Saturdays’s second round of the 2015 season. The battle throughout the day saw the bespoke Porsche 911 GT America challenge the Dodge Viper SRT for class superiority in the heat of the central Florida sun. The battle came down to the closing minutes of the 12-hour event. The No. 23 Team Seattle Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America – shared by Ian James (Phoenix, Arizona), Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Alex Riberas (Spain) – 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 in second-place and began the charge to recapture the lead. With four minutes left on the clock, the Viper rolled into pit lane without power. Farnbacher brought the No. 23 home with the win. 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.

 

Richard Lietz, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “It was a good job with the 912 and 911. Everybody put so much heart into this race. I was excited to finish on the podium but this time luck was not on our side. But, we will go home and work and come back stronger.”

 

Patrick Pilet, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "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.”

 

Earl Bamber, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “The car was really good all day. The 912 was pretty strong, starting from pole and leading the first stint. We dropped back a little, but fought our way right back to the front to second-place and there was a one-two there, looked very nice. Then unfortunately it fell apart. But it shows we’ve got strong pace, that the team is doing a good job and we still have good spirits and will come out fighting at Long Beach.”

 

Jörg Bergmeister, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “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.”

 

Frédéric Makowiecki, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: “Honestly, the team did an amazing job. We came here one month ago to do a private test and we found a really good solution. The car was really quick and I think in terms of pure performance, the 911 and 912 were the most consistent cars on the track. But unfortunately, the result is not the result we expected. And from our side we missed a good result.”- AA


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