Porsche takes on the sports car classic in Florida as the record winner

Porsche takes on the sports car classic in Florida as the record winner

08.03.2018: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, round 2, 12 Hours of Sebring, USA

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, round 2, 12 Hours of Sebring, USA



The 12 Hours of Sebring, the toughest and oldest sports car race in the USA, will be held for the 66th time on March 17th. Porsche has written motorsport history on the legendary Sebring International Raceway scoring a raft of successes.



However, it is not only the 18 overall victories and 70 class wins that make Porsche the most successful manufacturer at this classic. Also unequalled are the 4,198 laps in the lead on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida.



At least one Porsche has lined up on the grid every year since 1953 – except in 1974 when the race was cancelled due to the oil crisis. Fifty-eight years after the first overall victory with the Porsche 718 RS, two 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team will go up against four other automobile manufacturers in the strongly represented GTLM class.




Porsche customer teams campaign two 911 GT3 R racers at round two of the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the North American Endurance Cup.




The race


This race is one of the great sports car classics. Immortalised on the winners’ list are Porsche legends such as Dan Gurney, Hans Hermann and Jacky Ickx, as well as the Formula One World Champions Juan Manuel Fangio and Mario Andretti.



 Hollywood stars have also fulfilled their racing dreams on the Sebring International Raceway: Paul Newman and Patrick Dempsey competed here, as did Steve McQueen, who even finished on the podium scoring second overall in 1970 with a Porsche 908.




 The 5.954-kilometre Sebring International Raceway, remodelled from a former US Air Force airfield, hosted the inaugural race on December 31, 1950.





The Porsche drivers



In Sebring, the #911 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team is driven by Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). Sharing driving duties in the #912 cockpit are Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy).



Two customer teams tackle the GTD class with the 911 GT3 R and support from works drivers: Competing for Wright Motorsports are Patrick Long (USA), Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France), Robert Renauer (Germany) and 2018 Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (Denmark).




Park Place Motorsports puts its trust in Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and his American teammates Patrick Lindsey and Timothy Pappas.




The Porsche vehicles


In addition to the optimised setup of the 911 RSR, the reliability has been further improved for the round two of the season. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp).



 The particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing provide strong downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. For 2018, Porsche offers its customer teams an evo-kit for the 911 GT3 R. The more than 368 kW (500 hp) racer was designed for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car.




Porsche’s successes


Porsche’s first victory at the Sebring International Raceway came in 1960 courtesy of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien in the 718 RS/60. Since then, the sports car manufacturer has notched up a total of 18 overall victories and 70 class wins.



The most recent success was in 2015 with the Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Alex Job Racing. One year prior, Jörg Bergmeister, Michael Christensen and Patrick Long triumped at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR. 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 a Sebring record-holder.




The schedule



The 12-hour race takes off on Saturday, 17 March, at 10.40am local time (15.40 hrs CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA on www.imsa.com.



- Oliver Hilger, photos Scott Schilke AutoMobilSport.com

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/porsche-sports-car-classic-12h-sebring-florida-record-winner---173399.html

08.03.2018 / MaP

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