Friday, March 20, 2015
Porsche at Sebring, FL, March 21, 2015
The Sebring 12 Hours is the oldest and toughest sports car race in the USA. On 21 March, eight works drivers of the Porsche North America works team and the Falken Tire customer squad, will do their utmost to repeat Porsche’s win from last year on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, which is notorious for its bumpy surface. With 18 overall victories and 67 class wins, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Sebring 12 hour race.
The Sebring International Raceway hosted the inaugural race on 31 December 1950. Built on a former airfield, the circuit with its 17 corners is 5.954 kilometres long. Immortalised on the winners’ list are racing legends like Juan Manuel Fangio, Dan Gurney, Hans Hermann, Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti. Hollywood stars Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, who finished second overall in 1970 with a Porsche 908, have also fulfilled their racing dreams in Sebring.
Six Porsche factory pilots compete for Porsche North America in Sebring. Sharing the cockpit of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR are Patrick Pilet (France), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). Last year’s winners Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) as well as Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) share driving duties in the number 912 vehicle. Tackling the race for the Falken Tire customer outfit are the Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), reinforced by Bryan Sellers (USA). Porsche Junior Connor de Phillippi (USA) contests the GTD class at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Muehlner Motorsports.
The Porsche 911 RSR and the Porsche 911 GT America, which are run in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, are based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. As the successor to the winning 911 GT3 RSR, the 470 hp 911 RSR last season scored victories at America’s most prestigious long-distance classics in Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. For 2015, the winning racer from Weissach has received improvements in many areas. The Porsche 911 GT America, built specifically for the GTD class of the 2014-inaugurated Tudor United SportsCar Championship, features a four-litre, six-cylinder engine and also produces 470 hp. The vehicle is an improved version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the most successful and widely-produced race car in the world.
The first outright victory for Porsche in Sebring came in 1960 courtesy of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien in the Porsche 718 RS/60; the most recent in 2008 was clinched by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard with the Porsche RS Spyder. Porsche’s list of successes also includes no less than 67 class wins at this race. The most recent success was last year with Jörg Bergmeister, Michael Christensen and Patrick Long at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR.
The 12 Hours of Sebring takes off on Saturday, 21 March, at 10.45 hrs local time (16.45 hrs CET) and can be viewed live in the Internet on www.imsa.com as well as on the motorsport channel Motors TV.