dimanche 20 mars 2016
Porsche 911 RSR third at Florida long distance classic
By scoring third place at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, Porsche has consolidated its strong position in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. In a gripping and dynamic race under at times very difficult conditions, Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) scored third place in the GTLM class with the 911 RSR fielded by Porsche North America. In the drivers’ championship of the most important sports car series in North America, they moved up the rankings to now sit second. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche maintains second position. Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Kévin Estre (France) did not make it to the flag. While running in the lead, a collision resulted in them having to park their 911 RSR.
The 64th edition of the oldest and toughest sports car race in the United States will not be forgotten quickly by the 140,000 fans who visited the racetrack. When severe weather with torrential rain, thunder and lightning broke out over the storied race track three hours after the start, the long distance classic in the heart of Florida had to be stopped for more than two hours. In the history of the race, rain has fallen only six times before – most recently in 1997.
Before rain began to flood large stretches of the circuit, the Porsche 911 RSR made the most of the situation. As conditions worsened, Le Man winners Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber were in their element at the wheel of the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach, which had received modifications to the aerodynamics to comply with the new regulations. Nick Tandy took over the wheel of the #911 racer from the reigning IMSA GT champion Patrick Pilet, and in deteriorating conditions had moved into the lead after 56 laps. Earl Bamber battled his way up the order to second place in the number 912 contender with which he had secured third at the season-opening round at Daytona. After 66 laps, the race was red-flagged due to the weather turmoil and the flooded racetrack, and the field was directed back to the pits. At this time, the two Porsche held positions one and two.
Even as the track dried, after the enforced interruption the 911 RSR turned consistently quick lap times amongst the strong GTLM frontrunners. Kévin Estre, the teammate of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, held the lead after seven hours, with Michael Christensen running in third in the sister car. But shortly afterwards, after 116 laps, the leading 911 RSR was out: While fighting for the lead, Kévin Estre had collided with a Corvette in Turn 13, ended up in a tyre barrier and retired. Michael Christensen inherited the lead spot, but under dry conditions was unable to maintain the lead. Frédéric Makowiecki took the wheel of the 911 RSR at the next pit stop while running fourth. The Frenchman quickly made up a position, and Earl Bamber did the rest: Until shortly before the flag he was running in second place, but was ultimately flagged off in third just five seconds off the leader.
Porsche Press Release