Porsche Preview “Super Sebring”, IMSA series and FIA WEC, Sebring- USA

Porsche Preview “Super Sebring”, IMSA series and FIA WEC, Sebring- USA

14.03.2023: Four Porsche 963, two series: Porsche Penske Motorsport hunts for points Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Felipe Nasr (BR), Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK) • Joint event of the IMSA series and FIA WEC in Florida


Four Porsche 963, two series: Porsche Penske Motorsport hunts for points


 


Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Felipe Nasr (BR), Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK)


•    Joint event of the IMSA series and FIA WEC in Florida

•    Porsche Penske Motorsport fields two Porsche 963 in each series

•    Christensen, Cameron and Vanthoor contest both endurance races

•    Start of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship WEC

•    Porsche customers campaign twelve GT racers in both series



Porsche Penske Motorsport faces a busy schedule in Sebring on the third weekend in March. The works team heads to the US state of Florida fielding two Porsche 963 in the season-opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and another two in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.



The new ca. 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid prototypes from Weissach will contest the 1,000-mile FIA WEC race on Friday, 17 March. This is the first time they face their Hypercar rivals from Ferrari, Peugeot and Toyota, among others. The tradition-steeped IMSA race over twelve hours takes off the following day. In the GTE-Am (WEC), GTD-Pro and GTD (both IMSA) vehicle classes, Porsche customer teams campaign a fleet of 911 RSR and 911 GT3 R.



Stuttgart. Under the banner “Super Sebring”, the Sebring International Raceway hosts two endurance races within two days. This puts a massive load on the Porsche Penske Motorsport team – and two works drivers: The two full-time FIA WEC drivers Dane Cameron from the USA and Michael Christensen from Denmark will first tackle the eight-hour World Endurance Championship race over 1,000 miles (about 1,600 km) on Friday, 17 March.



A day later, the two works drivers will support their brand colleagues in the two other Porsche 963 at the IMSA 12-hour race. Four customer teams will field a total of six Porsche 911 RSR racers in the GTE category of the FIA WEC. In the two GTD classes of the North American IMSA championship, four private teams campaign a total of six Porsche 911 GT3 R.



“The Sebring event will be a real festival for endurance racing fans and a huge challenge for our works team,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Our Porsche Penske Motorsport squad will face tough competition in both racing series on two consecutive days. After the setback in Daytona, we’re eager to turn the Porsche 963’s enormous potential into the appropriate results.



In the FIA WEC, we’re excited to join the great Hypercar field. At the season opener we’re back to fight for overall victory after almost 50 years: Porsche versus Ferrari – that’s simply fantastic. That’s not to say we’re forgetting the other manufacturers. In both series, numerous customer vehicles will contest the GTE-Am, GTD-Pro and GTD classes. The Porsche brand will be very well represented.”



“Our global Porsche Penske Motorsport team will face a kind of stress test in Sebring,” says Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “The team from Mannheim, Mooresville and Weissach will do everything to win the big trophies with our Porsche 963.



 Extremely challenging and exciting days await us in Florida – not least because this will be the first time we encounter our competition in the Hypercar class of the FIA WEC. Our crew may have an advantage: Since we’re contesting both series with the same car, we can transfer a lot of information and data. We want to make the best possible use of this to be optimally prepared for the races when it comes to setup, tyre use and strategy.”



“The ‘Super Sebring’ event is probably the only chance to see the entire Porsche Penske Motorsport team in action at such a historic venue,” states Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, the factory squad fields three Porsche 963, and part of the IMSA team will not be there. “All members of our operational team will be at the track for both races.




In mid-February, we got the chance to test at Sebring. That should’ve given us a solid basis for both projects. What’s more, our FIA WEC crew conducted successful tests in Portimão. We share insights between both teams. This transfer of knowledge has several advantages, but such a two-way programme so early in the season also poses big challenges. Within just two days, Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two Porsche 963 have to complete a total of 20 hours of racing. That’s a huge task for a totally new team.”





The races



The two long-distance races in Sebring are considered the ultimate endurance challenge for man and machine and also the perfect preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At no other circuit on the racing calendar does the technology have to withstand such high loads. One reason: the nature of the storied racetrack on the former military airfield. About a third of the racetrack consists of concrete slabs, with the hefty bumps posing a unique challenge. Due to this special feature, the racetrack is often mentioned on social media with the hashtag #RespectTheBumps.



The 12-hour race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the 6.02-kilometre Sebring International Raceway will be held for the 71st time. With 18 overall wins, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer at this long-distance classic. The last triumph for a racing car from Weissach was in 2008. Timo Bernhard from Germany and the two Frenchmen Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard won at the wheel of the Penske team’s Porsche RS Spyder against an armada of more powerful LMP1 prototypes.



The 1,000-mile race of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC marks the start of the 2023 season. The teams and drivers prepared for the upcoming challenges with tests in Sebring as part of the two-day Prologue on March 11 and 12. In the FIA WEC, the two Porsche 963 fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport will target overall victory in the Hypercar class, and in the so-called GTP top class of the IMSA series.





The Porsche teams and drivers



Six works drivers will tackle the FIA WEC for the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory squad at the wheel of two Porsche 963. In the No. 5 cockpit, American Dane Cameron, Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki and Michael Christensen from Denmark share driving duties. Helming the No. 6 sister car are Kévin Estre (France), André Lotterer (Germany) and Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium. The former Porsche Juniors Matteo Cairoli from Italy and Julien Andlauer from France as well as the experienced British drivers Harry Tincknell and Ben Barker, among others, compete for customer teams in the Porsche 911 RSR.



Nick Tandy from the UK and Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet are the permanent drivers in the No. 6 car fielded by the IMSA works team. At the endurance event in Sebring, Dane Cameron will once again join the two specialists as the third driver. The Australian Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr from Brazil alternate in the No. 7 sister car for the 2023 season. Like at the Daytona season opener, Michael Christensen will support the pair at the Sebring 12-hour race.



In the GTD-Pro class, Pfaff Motorsports relies on Austria’s Klaus Bachler and Frenchman Patrick Pilet in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The third person is works driver Laurens Vanthoor, who also drives the 963 for the Porsche Penske Motorsport in the World Endurance Championship at the ‘Super Sebring’ weekend. In the GTD class, the former Porsche Juniors Julien Andlauer from France and Jaxon Evans from New Zealand compete in the 911 GT3 R campaigned by customer teams.




- Holger Eckhardt - photos Porsche

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/porsche-preview-super-sebring-imsa-series-fia-wec-sebring-usa---248526.html

14.03.2023 / MaP

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