Porsche wins 2019 IMSA Sebring 12 Hours fresh on the heels of winning the WEA 1000 Miles of Sebring during SuperSebring weekend. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR drove home this final unprecedented weekend triumph last Saturday.
Piloted by Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and his teammates Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki from France, the approximately 510-hp No. 911 Weissach racecar crossed the Sebring finish line first at the drop of the GTLM-class checkers.
Porsche Underscores the “Super” in SuperSebring Weekend by Winning the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring after Dominating Both GTE Classes in the 1000 Miles of Sebring
Tandy, Pilet and Makowiecki’s victory in the 2019 12 Hours of Sebring is the Porsche trio’s back-to-back win after their top-of-the-podium conquest during last year’s grueling American twelve-hour Sebring marathon. Last weekend’s race was round 2 of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
This marks Porsche’s extraordinary, unprecedented 96th career win at Sebring.
Porsche’s IMSA GTLM tour de force comes a day after Porsche’s WEC GTE-Pro and GTE-Am tandem triumphs in the 1000 Miles of Sebring race, round 6 of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC), on Friday.
In the latter brawl, two more Weissach 911 RSR wonders downright shut out both GTE fields: The No. 91 Porsche RSR driven by Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) and Richard Lietz (Austria) in GTE-Pro; and the No. 77 Porsche RSR piloted Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia), Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer (France) and Christian Ried (Germany) in GTE-Am.
“I’ve been in motorsport for a long time, but I’ve never experienced anything like this,” attested Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “Within 48 hours we won a 1,000-mile race and a twelve-hour race with our factory teams at one venue. That’s phenomenal.”
Porsche’s 12-Hour Tour de Force
Kudos to the No. 911 Porsche RSR Team and Their First-Place Finish in GT Le Mans (GTLM) Class
Meanwhile, back at Saturday’s 12-hour endurance affair, the race classic got off to a miserable start. A deluge of downpours made for a messy, slippery course from the get-go. These dismal conditions drove the No. 911 Porsche RSR — with little to no grip — further and further down the leaderboard.
But the horrible weather began improving near race’s midpoint — as did the No. 911’s progression up through the field. The team’s world-class racing experience, savvy tactics and impeccable teamwork propelled the No. 911 to the head of the pack in P1.
“We had major problems in the rain early on in the race, but we battled our way forward again in an incredible manner,” Frédéric Makowiecki confided. Like last year, it was a perfect team effort. With such successes, it really becomes clear just how important it is for the entire squad to work perfectly.”
Nick Tandy vanquished all attempts of the field to catch up with and pass him. He thus ensured that his RSR was the first GTLM car to hit the checkered flag with a 1.951-second lead.
“It was a totally crazy race that one rarely experiences,” Tandy stating the obvious. “We got the lot: extremely wet at the beginning, a dry track, then predicted rain, which didn’t eventuate. We started from pole, then quickly fell back, only to end up in the lead again.”
Tandy concluded, “You only get such things at a long-distance race. And this is the precisely the kind of discipline that Porsche excels at. Never give up, always push and then pull out all stops at the right moment. That’s how it’s done.”
As an awesome result, the trio of Makowiecki, Pilet and Tandy became the first race team to win the 12 Hours of Sebring two times in a row. Another excellent race result to come from this historic win is the fact that the No. 911 team has shot up to the top of IMSA’s GTLM rankings.
“It somehow feels unreal,” Pilet added. “We started from pole position, and then we were running last, and now we celebrate our second Sebring victory in a row — unbelievable!”
“Perhaps we should rename the event the ‘Porsche Super Sebring’ race weekend,” cheered Pascal Zurlinden, Director of Porsche GT Factory Motorsport. “Three pole positions, three victories — what more could you want. Our team did everything right.”
The sister Porsche 911 RSR No. 912 car unfortunately did not fare as well. But after slip-sliding down the field a whole two laps, the team of Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) did manage to muscle its way back up to finish in fifth place.
“Unfortunately we lost too much time in the rainy start phase,” rued Vanthoor. “Otherwise we could have fought for victory. Our car was incredibly good, especially on slicks in the final phase. For me personally, I’m a bit disappointed. But it is outweighed by the joy of an incredibly successful weekend for Porsche.”
Heartbreak in GT Daytona (GTD) Class
For much of the race, the Pfaff Motorsports customer team’s No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R seemed invincible in GTD class. Everything was going Pfaff’s way. The No. 9 led early on for most of the first half of the race. Zacharie Robichon (Canada) also appeared unbeatable during his initial stints in the car.
But then the tide rudely turned on the team of Robichon, Lars Kern (Germany) and Scott Hargrove (Canada).
In the midst of their winning run, a sensor in their 500-hp GT3 R suddenly went kaput. While the pit crew went to work installing a new sensor, the No. 9 fell further and further behind. Once the Weissach machine got back underway on track, it finished in tenth place at the end of the 12-hour enduro.
Finishing a little higher in the field was the identical No. 73 GT3 R. Piloted by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (USA) and his fellow Americans Nicholas Boulle and Patrick Lindsey, the Park Place Motorsports Porsche finished in a respectable but disappointing sixth place on the leaderboard.
Round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rolls on April 13 in Long Beach, California (USA).
- Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (F/GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 330 laps
- Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 330 laps
- Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette C7.R, 330 laps
- Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (NZ/B/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 330 laps
- Ineichen/Bortolotti/Breukers (CH/I/NL), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 320 laps
- Potter/Lally/Pumpelly (USA/USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 320 laps
- MacNeil/Vilander/Westphal (USA/FIN/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 320 laps
- Long/Lindsey/Boulle (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 320 laps
- Kern/Robichon/Hargrove (D/CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 318 laps
Full results: http://imsa.alkamelsystems.comhttp://imsa.alkamelsystems.com
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