Best Porsche 911 RSR on the second grid row.
The new Porsche 911 RSR have secured good starting positions for the 12 Hours of Sebring: The Porsche GT Team-campaigned 510 hp race cars from Weissach take up the oldest sports car race in the USA from the second grid row of the GTLM class on Saturday. In qualifying for round twoce of the IMSA SportsCar Championship season, which is contested on the 5.954-kilometre Sebring International Raceway, Kévin Estre (France) posted the fourth quickest time in the 911 RSR with the starting number 912. His teammates for the race are Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Richard Lietz (Austria). In the second 911 RSR, Dirk Werner (Germany) starts from the seventh grid spot. For the race on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, Werner shares driving duties in the number 911 vehicle with Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki.
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “Sebring is always a challenge. It’s very difficult to turn really quick laps here with a new car. Dirk and Kevin did a super job and our expectations have been fully met. A very positive development was that Dirk drove his fastest lap at the end of the qualifying session on worn tyres. We’re looking forward to Saturday and we’ll be attacking hard.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “The second grid row is good for us. We can be pleased with this. Our 911 RSR was well balanced and fast. In the first lap I pushed a little too hard and made a minor mistake. But then I drove faultlessly on the second lap, although I was a little slower due to the deteriorating tyres.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “I haven’t driven a qualifying session in a Porsche for a long time. Compared to free practice, the track had changed noticeably and was somewhat more difficult to drive on. I didn’t really get a perfect lap in, however the gaps are very close. Seventh on the grid is a good starting position for the race, especially when you consider the pace of our 911 RSR.”
The race starts on Saturday at 10.40 hrs local time (15.40 hr CET) and can be seen live outside the USA on http://www.imsa.com.
1. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon (GB/USA/NZL), Ford GT, 1:55.939 minutes
2. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, + 0.236 seconds
3. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette, + 0.313
4. Estre/Vanthoor/Lietz (F/B/A), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.380
5. Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette, + 0.429
6. Pla/Mücke/Johnson (F/D/USA), Ford GT, + 0.502
7. Pilet/Werner/Makowiecki (F/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.548
8. Edwards/Tomczyk/Catsburg (USA/D/NL), BMW M6, 0.678
9. Auberlen/Hand/Bourdais (USA/USA/F), BMW M6, 0.721
10. Fisichella/Calado/Vilander (I/I/SF), Ferrari 488, + 1.536
1. Vautier/Habul/Said (F/USA/USA), Mercedes AMG, 1:59.738 minutes
2. De Phillippi/Mies/Gounon (USA/D/F), Audi R8, + 0,752 seconds
3. Lewis/Mul/Sandberg (USA/NL/USA), Lamborghini, + 1.229
12. De Quesada/Morad/Pumpelly/Christensen (USA/CAN/USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.014
13. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.228
19. Bennett/Braun/Jonsson (USA/USA/S), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.934
Michael Shank Racing Twelve Hours of Sebring Qualifying Report
This weekend, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is set to enter its second race with its two-car Acura NSX GT3 effort on Saturday in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after a strong debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Saturday’s 12-hour endurance classic marks Round 2 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Three practice sessions were held on Thursday at the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit and the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 completed 62 laps. The No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 was forced to sit out the first session on Friday due to clutch issues, but went on to complete 53 laps through the second and third practices.
Both Acura NSX GT3 machines saw their chances for improvement in practice reduced as each sustained contact from PC cars during Practice 4 on Friday morning with right rear suspension damage to the No. 86 and cosmetic right front damage to the No. 93. A big effort by the Michael Shank Racing crew saw both cars return to the track in time for the qualifying session.
Mark Wilkins was tabbed to qualify the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 machine that he shares with Michael Shank Racing full-season drivers Andy Lally and Katherine Legge. He wheeled the car to a fast lap of 2:01.687-seconds to secure 11th on the grid.
“The Michael Shank Racing and HPD guys are working really hard to improve the car and to find some more pace,” said Wilkins following the run. “I think we’ve found a little bit here. I was happy overall with the balance of the car and I think we have a strong racecar. In a 12 hour race, where you start is not super, super critical – it’s more or less staying out of trouble as always. So that will be the goal early in the race and to get the car into a good spot for the finish. As far as race-pace I think we’ll be pretty strong, but we certainly need a little more in qualifying.”
Ozz Negri, who has driven for Michael Shank Racing since 2004, put the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 14th on the grid with a time of 2:02.096-seconds during Friday’s 15-minute qualifying session. He will share driving duties in Saturday’s race with Jeff Segal and Tom Dyer.
“We had a pretty tough time yesterday and today,” said Negri. “Yesterday we had a clutch problem and we missed a session. I only had a couple of laps in the car and then this morning we got hit from behind and were unable to finish our session. The mechanics at the Michael Shank Racing team made miracles and put the car back together and I went out there and did the best I could. I don’t think I had anything left in the car. All my laps were pretty consistent. 14th on the grid is definitely not where we want to be but it is what it is and we’ll keep working from here.”
Team Owner Mike Shank is pleased with the team’s progress as the organization continues to develop the new Acura NSX GT3.
“This is a huge learning curve for us,” offered Shank. “Daytona was one stage, and now Sebring is Stage 2. We just have to keep our heads down and keep improving. Everyone is working their butts off on the Acura program. It’s not where we want to be for sure, but we know we can get there – we just need time to get there. We’ll work on it all the way through the race.”
Michael Shank Racing will take part in a warm up session on Saturday ahead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring which goes green at 10:40 AM ET.
Source. Sunday Group
WeatherTech Racing to Start on Fourth Row for Sebring 12 Hours
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand) will start from row four in GTD for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to run tomorrow, March 18.
The No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG team worked diligently through the practice sessions on Thursday and Friday to fine-tune the handling of the car. In this afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session, MacNeil was able to post a time of 2:01.358 good for a fourth row starting position in eighth. MacNeil is a 2003 Sebring winner and is poised to add another win to his resume.
“The WeatherTech Mercedes was good,” MacNeil said. “Our plan was on point the whole time. We wanted the tires warmed up and at peak pressure to go for around lap three. At that point, I was ready and was able to put in a good lap time. The car is feeling good. There are 17-turns here at Sebring and 3.5-miles so you have to put a whole lap together to go fast here. There is a mix of asphalt, concrete, sea shells in the concrete from the 1940s and a lot of bumps which makes for a challenging lap. We have all three Mercedes in the top 10. A lot better than Daytona, so I am feeling good about our chances for the race tomorrow.”
“So far so good,” Jeannette said. “Cooper did a really good job in qualifying getting us on the fourth row for the start of a long race tomorrow. The car is running really good, we have put in a lot of laps in practice. The WeatherTech Riley team is doing a great job keeping up with the changing track conditions this week. I am really looking forward to the race.”
“My first impressions of Sebring is it is very bumpy,” van Gisbergen said. “I have never raced on concrete before. I am getting better every lap. There are some sections that I still need to work on. We will see where everyone is at, as far as our competitors go in the race. We were unlucky at Daytona, so we are looking to have a good run for 12 hours tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Weathertech Racing
Cadillac DPi-V.R Teams to Start Second, Third and Sixth for Sebring 12 Hours
Cadillac V-Performance racing teams Mustang Sampling, Whelen Engineering and Konica Minolta will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from the second, third and sixth positions on the grid for tomorrow’s 10:40 a.m. start.
Under near perfect conditions of 75-degrees, hottest it has been all week, the three Cadillac DPi-V.R Prototypes took to the track for the 15-minute qualifying session this afternoon. Christian Fittipaldi driving the No. 31 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R posted a time of 1:48.73. This was good for a front row starting position of second. Fittipaldi was disappointed as he believed he had a pole run on the last lap. As time expired, the car ran low on fuel thwarting his run at the top spot. In third was the sister Action Express car driven by Dane Cameron. Cameron drove the No. 5 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to a third place run with a time of 1:48.314. Ricky Taylor had the controls of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac and will start from the third row in sixth based upon his time of 1:49.551.
“It was very good,” Fittipaldi said. “We had a good set-up in the car. Our timing was a little off, we ran out of fuel on the last lap, which was my fastest. I was looking at the splits, unless I made a mistake in the last two corners it was a pole run. It happens. That is part of racing. We are all in this together as a team. Sometimes it is not my day, or the drivers or the team. We win together and we lose together. I am upset, but there is 12 hours to race tomorrow, which is a lot of time. I would really be mad if this was Long Beach, but we have 12 hours to race, so it really doesn’t make any difference. The car was really good, between Filipe, Joao and myself we all ran different fuel loads and degrees of tire degradation which helped the team give me a great car for qualifying. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Cameron and teammates Eric Curran and Mike Conway still need to work a little on the handling of the Whelen Cadillac.
“My run was ok,” Cameron said. “It is difficult. The track really changes with the weather here at Sebring. Overall, it is good to be third in our Whelen Cadillac for the start of 12 hours of racing. I am not a 100 percent happy with the balance just yet. We have a little more work to do before the race. All of the drivers are up to speed on miles here, so we are good to go. We are further ahead than we were at Daytona so we are ready.”
The Konica Minolta Cadillac with Alex Lynn and Ricky and Jordan Taylor suffered a little from the added heat in the track today.
“The track conditions are different today, it is hotter,” Taylor said. “This is probably more representative of what the conditions will be like tomorrow in the race. We can adapt to it. We have a good car for the long runs, which is more important for the race. I have not lost any confidence in the Konica Minolta Cadillac. In the heat, we weren’t perfect today. The guys are focusing on the race car for the race tomorrow. No real problems, just a change of conditions which is to be expected here at Sebring. We will be ready for 12 hours of racing tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadiilac Racing
VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ready for Round 2 at Sebring
With two famous Florida circuits on the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, Daytona-based VISIT FLORIDA Racing always aims to capitalize on its “home field” advantage. Following a podium in the team’s season debut at Daytona International Speedway, Renger van der Zande drove the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson Riley Mk. 30 to a ninth place starting position on Friday for the 65th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (green flag 10:40 AM ET, Saturday).
Working through some uncharacteristically cooler Florida temperatures, the Boys in Blue worked to tune the brand new Gibson Riley to the varying track and ambient temperatures through four practice sessions at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday. The #LoveFL crew drew from a test session at Palm Beach International Raceway earlier in the week in order to pull more speed out of the No. 90 machine as van der Zande combined with his two co-drivers of Rene Rast and Marc Goossens to tackle the bumpy 3.74-mile track.
“I think this was it for me in terms of qualifying, and I think we can be quite happy with that and where we are,” explained van der Zande after the quick 15-minute session. “We are much closer to the cars in front of us. I think that qualifying is not quite as important here at Sebring, because where you start in any endurance event isn’t as important as where you finish! But it is nice to see that we are closer on set up. If you improve even half a second you are much closer and that’s what we are looking for right now. It’s a long race and a lot can happen so we are focused on getting a good result with my teammates. We are feeling strong and ready for the long race.”
Source. Sunday Group
BMW Team RLL claims eighth and ninth GTLM starting positions for 65th 12 Hours of Sebring
In qualifying for the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) in Sebring (USA), BMW Team RLL finished eighth and ninth in the GTLM class respectively. At the wheel of the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM, Nick Catsburg (NED) clocked a lap time of 1:56.617 minutes. His team-mate Alexander Sims (GBR) was just 0.043 seconds slower than the Dutchman.
BMW Team RLL continued to improve for Saturday’s race at the “Sebring International Raceway” as the second day of practice concluded with this afternoon’s qualifying session. When the chequered flag flew after the 15-minute session, only 0.721 seconds separated the pole-setter and Sims in P9. This close competition in the GTLM class promises an exciting race that will go green on Saturday at 10:40hrs local time.
Catsburg will then share driving duties in the number 24 car with Martin Tomczyk (GER) and John Edwards (USA). Sims will make his first appearance in the Twelve Hours of Sebring alongside Bill Auberlen (USA) and Kuno Wittmer (CAN).
In the GTD class, the Turner Motorsport team enters the number 96 BMW M6 GT3 in Sebring. Justin Marks (USA) claimed 16th on the grid. He will alternate at the wheel of the Turner car with BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN).
Nick Catsburg (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM): “I think we can be reasonably happy with this result. If you look at Daytona and the practice sessions here, then this qualifying pace was quite okay. This makes me be optimistic for the race. Overall we are heading into the right direction.”
Alexander Sims (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM): “Ninth on the grid isn’t a dream result, but the lap times weren’t that bad really. My first lap was okay, then I made a small mistake and aborted my run. So we could also save our tyres a bit for the race. Compared to yesterday we obviously took a small step forward.”
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins GTD Pole in 12 Hours of Sebring Debut
The No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and team driver Tristan Vautier gave the Mercedes-AMG GT3 pole position in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. This pole position, the first for Mercedes- AMG Motorsport Customer Racing, comes in just the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Vautier drove the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a top lap time of 1.59.738 on the 3.74-mile Sebring road course to top the GTD field.
Vautier’s pole came in the first appearance of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Sebring and in just the second race in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing after debuting in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The top qualifying effort for Mercedes-AMG GT3 also comes 60 years after the three- pointed star last competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring. In the 1957 race, a pair of privateer Mercedes-Benz 300SL cars placed first and third in the GT 3500 class.
This weekend at Sebring, three Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams are competing in the GTD class.
In addition to the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing entry, which Vautier co-drives with Kenny Habul and Boris Said, the No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 are contesting the full 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season.
Ben Keating, who co-drives with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher, turned a top lap time of 2:01.284 to qualify seventh at the wheel of the No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Keating will share row four on the GTD grid with Cooper MacNeil, who qualified eighth
with a lap time of 2:01.358 in the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. MacNeil co-drives the WeatherTech Racing entry with Gunnar Jeannette and Shane van Gisbergen.
Race-day on Saturday, March 18th, begins with a 20-minute warm-up at 8:00 a.m. EDT before the scheduled start of the 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at 10:40 a.m. EDT.
Thomas Jaeger, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Program Coordinator: “To win the GTD pole position in the first appearance of Mercedes-AMG in the 12 Hours of Sebring and in our debut IMSA season is quite an achievement, and we want to congratulate SunEnergy1 Racing and Tristan Vautier. We knew the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams would get the most out of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in its first appearance for the three pointed star in this legendary endurance race, and this is a fantastic start. We celebrate this achievement, but this is a very long and demanding race. Starting from the pole just brings us one step closer to achieving our overall goal of winning the GTD class in tomorrow’s race.”
Tristan Vautier, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is very good here. The track has a lot of mid-speed corners, which are really the corners where the car performs at its best. The setup was good, we chased some issues yesterday, but after the night practice we knew we had the car where we needed to be to battle for the pole position. It was a very good session overall. It’s cool, we are a brand-new team, only in our second race and we are on the pole position. Tomorrow we have 12 hours of racing, the pace should be there and it is just going to be about execution, not making any mistakes, and being there for the last two hours to set us up to race to the end.”
Kenny Habul, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“Congratulations to Tristan and everybody on the team. It’s a wonderful achievement. Thanks first to Mercedes-AMG, I wouldn’t be here without them, they did a lot to help us. This is a brand new endeavor and it was very difficult to start this from zero: we had nothing- no tools, no pit cart, nothing. It’s all brand new, which is a wonderful achievement and we have a wonderful car. I was quick in the car, I love driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and I am really excited for tomorrow.”
Boris Said, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It’s a new team and congratulations to Kenny Habul, he’s the team owner and made all of this possible. I think this is the first pole as a team and driver in his racing career. For a young team like ours, you need everything to do something like this. Tristan is a good driver, the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 is such a good car, and I think we have a really good chance for the 12 hour race. Twelve more hours to go, and if we’re in the same spot it’s going to be a really good weekend.”
Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was a really good run. Maybe it’s because of all the downforce, but I think the tires on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 come in pretty early compared to some of the other cars. I think we found grip and pace early, and I had a really good lap. You only have 15 minutes in qualifying, so you have to ask yourself how much you want to push it. You have to start the race on the tires you use in qualifying. If I pushed it all the way, maybe I could have shaved off another tenth-of-a-second or so, but I made the decision to save the tires. I am hopeful that some of those guys that jumped me pushed it the entire time and will see their tires fall off when they start the race. It all should be fun.”
Cooper MacNeil, Driver – No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 was good and our plan was on point the whole time. We wanted the tires warmed up and at peak pressure to go for it around lap three. At that point, I was ready and was able to put in a good lap time. The car is feeling good. There are 17 turns here at Sebring and 3.4-miles so you have to put a whole lap together to go fast here. There is a mix of asphalt, concrete, sea shells in the concrete from the 1940s and a lot of bumps, which makes for a challenging lap. We have all three Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the top 10, a lot better than Daytona, so I am feeling good about our chances for the race tomorrow.”
Stevenson Motorsports to Start Sixth for the 65th Running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring
Looking to add to the team’s winning history at the fabled track, Stevenson Motorsports will start Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from the third row. After four strong runs in the opening practice sessions, the No. 57 Stevenson Audi R8 LMS will start from sixth on the grid for the second race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule – the 65th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The tailored trio of Lawson Aschenbach, Andrew Davis and Matt Bell will share the driving duties for the team’s second-ever start in the famed 12-hour event. Following three practice sessions that saw the team close out either fastest or second-fastest, the Stevenson Motorsports crew had the car dialed in and prepped for GTD qualifying.
Full-season driver, Andrew Davis, hopped into the powerful V10 Audi R8 for the start of the qualifying session. Davis performed consistently throughout the 15-minute session, maintaining his position within the top-seven. He laid down a fast time of 2.01.222 on Lap 6, securing the sixth position for the start of the event.
“We have had very different track conditions from each session, we had the early morning sessions, the night sessions and then qualifying was in the afternoon when it was very warm,” said Davis. “We worked hard to not overreact to how the car was in the cooler sessions. We made some really good changes and I think we had a really solid car for qualifying. I think we have a better car for the race and we can run good lap times, consistently throughout the stint. I am just really proud of the guys because we have a really strong car.”
The team has had some very big days at Sebring International Raceway, including scoring a breakthrough victory for the Camaro Z/28.R in 2015, and will look to once again race to the top on Saturday.
“Overall I am really happy with how the weekend has gone,” said team Stevenson Motorsports Team Manager, Mike Johnson. “We have been at the top of the charts from the beginning of the weekend up until qualifying. While sixth place isn’t ideal, it is a 12-hour race and our times are very close to where we want them to be and what we expect. The goal is to have another great race like we had at Daytona. If we can do what we did there and spend no time in pit lane and all the drivers, crew and team do an excellent job, then we will have a solid finish here at Sebring.”
Stevenson Motorsports will look to redeem themselves after finishing just shy of a podium at the kick-off event of the IMSA WeatherTech championship at Daytona where they completed the race in fourth.
A combination of the IMSA February test and the preliminary practice sessions at the rough and tough Sebring circuit have given the team and drivers the confidence that a podium finish is within reach in the unpredictable event.
Source. Sunday Group
Strong qualifying runs for the #5 Mustang Sampling and #31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R Teams
On an afternoon sun drenched 3.74 mile concrete course, two cars continued to lay down fast laps. Christian Fittipaldi, piloting the #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R qualified second for the 65th Running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. His teammate, Dane Cameron driving the #31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R qualified third.
For Christian, he wanted the pole, but is excited for his Mustang Sampling Team’s chances tomorrow.
“I think we definitely have a very good car underneath us and we’ll see what we can get out of tomorrow,” said Fittipaldi. “The Cadillac DPi-V.R showed again it had speed, reliability and everything was working really well for the 12-hour race.”
For Dane, his #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Team working on balance after Q-run.
“Not too bad. We’ve been working all weekend to find a balance of speed and handling for the 12-hour race,” said Cameron. “I think we have decent car at the moment, but wanted better results after being close and qualifying third.”
Source. HiRev Racing
Alex Job Racing Audi R8 qualifies 15th in GTD at Sebring
Alex Job Racing drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Frankie Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.), will start from the eighth row on the GTD grid for this weekend’s 65th annual IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.
Under sunny skies and temperatures over 70 degrees, Bell was behind the wheel of the No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT3 for this afternoon’s 15 minute GTD qualifying session. Bell turned his fastest lap with 2:02.276 on his seventh circuit around the 3.74-mile, 17 turn. Unfortunately, Bell’s top time has the 10-time Sebring-winning Alex Job Racing team starting 15th on the GTD grid.
“It was a trouble-free session,” Bell said. “We’ve kind of lost the handle on our Audi now. We have to go back and figure out why and try to get back to where we were at the test. We were pretty comfortable with the car. We haven’t quite gotten back to that feeling we had and we’ve deviated trying to chase something better. But, like anything, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Now we’re losing on balance. We’ll keep working at it. It’s a new car for the team. I love being back at Sebring. I love this race track, even if I’m not fast. I love driving around here. It’s a blast. There’s going to be a huge turnout. The weather’s perfect. Like always, we’ll have a good race car and we’ll try to keep our nose clean.”
In 2012, Sweedler and Bell won at Sebring in an Alex Job Racing Porsche. Though the team has struggled to find the right setup for the new Audi, Sweedler knows this is a long race and anything can happen at Sebring.
“Well, we didn’t have it today,” Sweedler said of qualifying. “We thought we had the right car (setup) yesterday. We’ve had a couple of warnings on the dash that we’re trying to figure out right now. But, to be 15th on the grid, we’re all scratching our heads right now. Some of the cars appear, in some cases, to be significantly faster. We can’t figure it out. So, we’ll work on it. Race day is another day.”
“I think we’re missing the setup a little bit,” Montecalvo said. “I don’t think BOP is in Audi’s favor though one [Audi] is P2. But, they are very strong with that car. They’ve had it for a long time in Europe. I think we just need to step back a little bit and find some of that speed that we had early in the weekend. Townsend did a great job in the car. I know he was struggling a little bit out there by the looks of the video. It’s a long race. I’m not really worried about where we qualified. But, we just need to get the car right for the race.”
“Sebring changes dramatically with the weather and it is hotter today than it has been all week,” Alex Job, team owner said. “We have been searching for that comfort level that we had at the test a few weeks back and we are not quite there yet. We know how to race here and we will get it sorted for 12 hours of racing tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Alex Job Racing
REBELLION RACING’S NEEL JANI TAKES THE 12 HOURS OF SEBRING POLE POSITION
Neel JANI dominated the qualifying session for the 65th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring with the #13 REBELLION Racing Oreca 07 Gibson powered car and secured the Pole Position with a fastest lap time of 1:48.178.
This is the Swiss Team’s and Neel Jani’s first Pole Position in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. REBELLION Racing and Neel Jani previously captured four Pole Positions at the time of the ALMS from 2012 to 2013.
Today’s achievement is also the first ever Pole Position for the new Oreca 07 LMP2 car and REBELLION Racing is deeply proud to provide this milestone to their constructor partner.
The #13 REBELLION Racing Oreca 07 Gibson powered car will start tomorrow’s 12 Hours of Sebring race from the first position on the grid and the whole Swiss team will aim to keep that position at the end of the race. Being quick in qualifying means a lot, but we all have seen that the race can be a different story, especially here at Sebring.
This Pole position for the 65th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring has a high value for the team, as the they along with the drivers Neel Jani, Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld have worked really hard since the Daytona 24 race to be back strongly at the front.
Neel Jani – #13 REBELLION Racing Oreca 07 : “It was a good Qualifying session, we didn’t expected to be P1. We had a few issues in free practice and we had to play a lot of catch up. There is no ideal lap here at Sebring, you have to improvise as it’s so bumpy, it’s always a nice and challenging track. We saw in Daytona that we were close in qualifying, but in the race the Cadillacs were really fast. I think that tomorrow it will be an other game to translate this Pole into a win. For sure we will try to stay at the front as long as possible !”
Bart Hayden REBELLION Racing Team Manager : “Before qualifying we were not completely confident of taking the pole position, as we knew the Cadillacs had been quick since the beginning of the weekend and also because it’s always a question of finding a lap clear of traffic without mistakes. Nonetheless, the gap to the next cars is very small, so we know tomorrow’s race will be close. Congratulations to Neel for driving so well the pole winning lap and many thanks to the engineers and mechanics for working so hard to get the setup and preparation right with the car. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s 12 Hours of Sebring race and hope that it will be an exciting one for everyone.”
Source. Rebellion Racing