• Porsche PWC Double. Hargrove Earns Twin Wins in World Challenge Opening Weekend. • The Legend Continues. Four Porsche Entries for 12 Hours of Sebring. • Caymans Come to Florida. Four Porsche Road-Based Racers Entered in CTSCC at Sebring. • Best of Both Worlds. Two North America Porsche One-Make Cup Challenge Series Open 2018 at Sebring.
Next Porsche Event.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Event: 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Wednesday – Saturday, March 14 – 17, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 12-Hours
Class: GTLM (Porsche 911 RSR) GTD (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Round: GTLM. 2 of 11 GTD. 2 of 11
Next Round: BUBBA Burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach, Long Beach, California, Long Beach Temporary Street Course, April 13 – 14, 2018
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Event: Sebring 120, Sebring International Raceway
Dateline: Sebring, Florida
Date: Friday, March 16, 2018
Track Length: 3.74-miles, 17-turn
Race Duration: 2-Hours
Class: GS (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR)
Round: GS. 2 of 10
Next Round: Mid-Ohio 120, Lexington, Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, May 12, 2018
Event Story Lines.
Porsche PWC Double. Hargrove Earns Twin Wins in World Challenge Opening Weekend.
The Porsche Driver Pyramid continues to promote winners. After racing in Porsche one-make support series, Scott Hargrove (Canada) made his Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) debut in convincing fashion at St. Petersburg, Florida driving the No. 96 Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory in both of the 50-minute GT features. Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) also made his first start in North America’s premier sprint format GT racing series in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona-winner finished in fifth-place on Saturday and fourth-place on Sunday afternoon. In the GTS class, Gabriele Piana (Italy) finished in second-place in both GTS class races driving the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
Hargrove and Pfaff earned the top spot in both races despite an accident in qualifying that negated their quickest lap and forced the team to make lengthy repairs. The Canadian team came within minutes of missing the call to the grid for Saturday’s first round of the Sprint Championship. However, through diligent teamwork and the support of Porsche Motorsport North America technicians and specialists, the two-time (2014, 2017) IMSA Ultra94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Champion not only made it to the grid, but charged to the front to secure his first win in the series. The Porsche Young Driver Academy Graduate also managed to set the fastest lap in Race 1 on Saturday, earning the pole position for Sunday’s feature. Hargrove held the lead in Race 2 throughout, taking the checkered flag early when a heavy accident brought a close to the opening weekend under red flag conditions.
Piana’s back-to-back podium finishes were the highlight of the GTS races for Porsche. The Italian took the familiar blue and white Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR entered by longtime Porsche customer Muehlner to the top of Friday’s practice sheets. In both races, the mid-engine road-car based machine finished second to the Chevrolet Camaro race car of Lawson Aschenbach. In addition to Hargrove’s No. 96 in GT, Pfaff also entered the GTS class with Orey Fidani (Canada) in the No. 13 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. The rookie racer finished 15th in class in both races.
The Pirelli World Challenge travels to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas for the first two rounds of the SprintX Championship. The ten-race ‘championship within a championship’ features the same cars, but a two-driver format with a required pit stop and 60-minute races. The COTA rounds will take place on March 24 and 25.
Scott Hargrove, Driver, No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a great weekend, a little unexpected after yesterday's qualifying, but it was a great comeback for the team, Pfaff Motorsports. Today [Sunday] there was a much better view into turn 1 and when we pulled out onto the track, there were so many marbles from Indy Cars. I knew that I could quickly run into the wall going into turn one like we did yesterday, so I had to be a little bit smarter on that at the start.”
The Legend Continues. Four Porsche Entries for 12 Hours of Sebring.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the toughest and oldest sports car race in North America, will be held for the 66th time on March 17. Porsche has written motorsport history on the legendary Sebring International Raceway with a manufacturer record 18 overall and 70 class wins. The four Porsche 911-based race cars entered in the second-round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship join generations of previous Porsche racers that have competed every year at the Sebring, Florida-area track since 1953.
In its shared history with the 3.75-mile, 17-turn circuit, Porsche enjoys an unequalled 4,198 laps in the lead. Fifty-eight years after the first overall victory with a Porsche 718 RS 60 driven by 2012 Sebring Hall of Fame inductee Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien, two examples of the 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team will go up against four other automobile manufacturers in the fiercely competitive GTLM class. Porsche customer teams Park Place Motorsports and Wright Motorsports each campaign the 911 GT3 R in the Pro-Am style GTD class on the former bomber airbase.
The Porsche factory team fields the No. 911 RSR for drivers Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). Sharing driving duties in the No. 912 cockpit are Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy).
Two customer teams will tackle the GTD class with the Porsche 911 GT3 R and support from works drivers. Competing in the No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Wright Motorsports GT3 R is North America’s only Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (Denmark), Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France), and 2016 Porsche Cup-winner Robert Renauer (Germany). Park Place Motorsports brings the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R for factory driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), team principal Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) and Timothy Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts).
In addition to the optimized setup for the infamous bumps of Sebring, the 911 RSR has further improved reliability for Round Two of the IMSA season. Depending on the size of the series’ mandated restrictor, the normally aspirated flat-six engine – which is positioned in front of the rear axle in the RSR – puts out approximately 510 hp. The particularly large rear diffuser, combined with a top-mounted rear wing, provides strong downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. For 2018, Porsche offers its customer teams an evolution-kit for the 911 GT3 R. The GT3-spec racer, based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS, produces in the region of 500 hp.
Porsche’s first victory at Sebring came in 1960 courtesy of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien in the 718 RS/60. The most recent success came in 2015 with the Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Alex Job Racing for the GTD class. One-year prior, Bergmeister, Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Long triumphed at the wheel of the factory Porsche 911 RSR in GTLM. Since 1979, Porsche has netted 28 GT class victories, with a sports car from Zuffenhausen starting from the GT pole position 15 times. With these impressive successes and an unparalleled series of 13-straight outright victories between 1976 and 1988, Porsche is the all-time leading marque in the 12-Hour. 2018 marks the 50th-anniversary of the German brand’s 1968 overall victory with the 907 prototype.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“We didn’t start the 2018 season at Daytona with the results we’d hoped for. Although this adds to the pressure, it’s best for us to remain calm. The season has only just begun. We know where we need to make improvements and we’re working hard on this. In spite of everything, we took a lot of positives from Daytona. At Sebring, we’ll now try to turn those positives into an even better performance and a result that meets our expectations. After all, as the most successful manufacturer in the history of this unique race, we have a reputation to uphold. We’ll do this with the best possible preparation and the usual commitment from the entire team.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsports.
“The second classic of this season poses a brutal challenge. The heat in Florida and the very bumpy racetrack push drivers to the limit. And the demands on the cars are more extreme than at any other race on the IMSA SportsCar Championship calendar. We’ve conducted more test miles in Sebring with our 911 RSR than on most other racetracks, so we’re very well prepared to face the stiff opposition.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager 911 GT3 R.
“The Sebring International Raceway is a racetrack that puts the highest demands on the durability of the material. Thanks to its rear engine concept, the 911 GT3 R has excellent traction characteristics. It can use this advantage, mainly when accelerating out of the tight hairpin at the end of the start-finish straight. With the evolution package that we developed for 2018, our customers should be in a position to fight for a podium spot with the 911 GT3 R.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“We’ve almost always had a very good car for Sebring. I feel that our 911 RSR is again well suited for this legendary racetrack. It’s an extreme race where you go flat-out right from the start. Tactical maneuvering like at Daytona doesn’t work here. I’ve never won at Sebring, so I’m keen to change that.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“This twelve-hour race is a real highlight of the season. The track is very demanding. With all the bumps it’s a huge challenge and not just for drivers. The stresses that Sebring puts on the cars are greater than at almost any other race. The reliability of our 911 RSR is definitely an advantage there.”
Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Sebring is my all-time favorite race in the USA. The masses of fans really know their stuff when it comes to motorsport and they lend a spirit that I very much like. The atmosphere they bring to the event is fantastic.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“It‘s a very difficult race where you can only survive with an extremely reliable car. The Sebring International Raceway poses a huge challenge. The bumpy surface is brutal and shakes you like a jackhammer. Luckily I’ve just been to the dentist. He assured me that my fillings won’t fall out.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“Since our memorable 50-hour test with the 911 RSR [prior to the 2017 season], I know every curb at Sebring. I’m really looking forward to this cool race with masses of fans and its great atmosphere. After Daytona, we’re obviously under a bit more pressure. However, we can’t afford to let that make us crazy. One decent result at Sebring and everyone will quickly forget about the not-so-convincing start of the season.”
Gianmaria Bruni, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
“I regard Sebring as one of the most beautiful racetracks in the USA. Because of its qualities, it’s one of the most demanding. It puts the drivers and cars under enormous stress. I’m looking forward to driving at Sebring for the first time with Porsche and the 911 RSR.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Driving for hours at the limit in Sebring demands everything from a driver. It’s the heat and especially the track. It’s really extreme. There’s nothing like it. Winning this race in 2014 with the 911 RSR was one of the highlights of my career.”
Christina Nielsen, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“The Sebring race is super cool and one of my favorites, but the track is so bumpy that drivers really have to take care of the car. It exhausts both the car and the driver. Being consistent and staying mentally cool and focused are the key elements needed to do well in this race. The car needs to be balanced enough to race during the day, and still stay competitive after the temperature drops at night and we push through those final two hours of racing.”
Mathieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“After Daytona, I’m now looking forward to driving the 911 GT3 R at Sebring. It’ll definitely be an interesting and significant experience for me.”
Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“The Sebring race is only half as long as Daytona, but twice as exhausting. The bumpy racetrack takes its toll over time and the car has to endure a lot as well. Still, we all look forward to this challenge and to giving the enthusiastic fans a great show.”
Caymans Come to Florida. Four Porsche Road-Based Racers Entered in CTSCC at Sebring.
Porsche customer teams look to continue their 2018 success in the IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) on Friday, March 16 with four examples of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. RS1 brings two of the road car-based race cars entered in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway (SIR). The No. 28 of defending series champion Dillon Machavern (Burlington, Vermont) and veteran Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia) opened the season at Daytona with a victory. The pairing joins its team-car, the No. 18, as well as the No. 5 Bodymotion Racing, and No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsches on the entry list for the two-hour event at the central Florida-area track.
While RS1 followed its 2017 GS class championship success in strong fashion at Daytona, the 3.75-mile, 17-turn Sebring circuit is very different than the high-banked oval/infield road course mix of Daytona. The bumps of Sebring provide a unique challenge for the street car-based GS class. The race car shares 80 percent of its parts with the road-going Porsche Cayman GT4, so setup options do not vary as much as a purpose-built machine.
In 2016, Bodymotion earned the Cayman its first victory in the GS class and followed that with two more consecutive victories in the IMSA support series. Joe Robillard (Short Hills, New Jersey) and Stevan McAleer (Monticello, New York) share the No. 5 for the two-hour race. The No. 18 RS1 entry is yet to announce its driver lineup.
The fourth Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR entered in the 27-car field is the No. 38 BGB car raced by veteran James Cox (Nokomis, Florida) and rookie Dylan Murry (Atlanta, Georgia). Murry is the son of Porsche veteran David Murry and, at 17 years old, will be making his second career CTSCC start.
The race will be broadcast live on IMSA.TV at 2:35 p.m. ET. The television broadcast can be seen on FS1, Sunday, March 25 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Spencer Pumpelly, Driver, No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
“Typically when you start with a street car, you make it lower and make the suspension stiffer to go racing, but starting with a good street car allows us to raise it a little bit, and make it a bit softer and compliant over the bumps. It’s great, because we can keep the balance, even though we’re running a setup that’s different from anywhere else. I think the Porsche gives us a great platform to start with and the guys at Rennsport One know how to tweak it to make it perform both on the smooth parts of the track and where the wheels leave the ground.”
Best of Both Worlds. Two North America Porsche One-Make Cup Challenge Series Open 2018 at Sebring.
Thirty-five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars will face-off in the season-opening rounds of both the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama championships at Sebring International Raceway. Both series will crown new champions in 2018 as neither 2017 GT3 Cup Challenge USA series’ titlist Jake Eidson nor two-time Canadian Champion Scott Hargrove are entered for title defense efforts this year. Hargrove has moved-up to the Pirelli World Challenge GT competition with regular entrant Pfaff, winning both races held thus far. The first of the two 45-minute race events scheduled for Sebring will run on Thursday, March 15, the second on Friday, March 16.
Both of the North American Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series are among the most hotly contested one-make championships around the world. The series contend twin, 45-minute races in support of major racing series in the United States and Canada. Each enjoys a Platinum class, which use the latest generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car – which is based on the road-going Porsche 911 GT3 production sports car, 2017 and 2018 model years. The Gold class also uses a GT3-based 911 but of 2014 – 2016 model years. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the world’s most produced racing car with competition variants being produced on the same Zuffenhausen, Germany assembly line as the road-going 911 street variants.
The two series will race together for overall and class honors. Each will earn points for their respective championships.