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IMSA SEBRING 12 HOURS QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Meyer Shank Racing on Sebring Pole

Meyer Shank Racing driver Trent Hindman won the Motul Pole Award for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3. Hindman was the only driver to go below the two-minute mark with a fast lap flyer of 1:59.917-seconds.

The pole position was the first WeatherTech Motul Pole Award for the 23 year old American racer and the eighth career pole position for Meyer Shank Racing.

The No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Hindman, Mario Farnbacher and Justin Marks had a promising run ahead of qualifying, topping the timing sheets in the first practice session on Friday. Following the final practice session, the MSR crew worked feverishly to find more speed for Saturday’s qualifying session working until midnight on Friday.

Hindman’s Lap 4 flyer of 1:59.917-seconds placed him on the top of the sheets for the entire 15-minute session. With an impressive resume at Sebring International Raceway including a 2016 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) victory, Hindman had previously scored four IMPC pole positions.

Winning the Motul Pole Award was extra special for Hindman, who credited his MSR engineer, Ryan McCarthy, who also celebrated as Hindman’s IMPC engineer when he scored his first ever Sebring pole in 2014.

“I did a Skip Barber three-day school here about 10 years ago, and I would never have believed that I’d be standing here as the pole sitter for the Sebring 12 hours,” said Hindman. “I’m learning so much from the Meyer-Shank Racing team – Mario, Justin, all my co-drivers, all my teammates. This is the result of all the hard work the team has put in back at the shop, and all the hard work and long hours they put into the car last night. They made a lot of changes and I’m glad they all worked out, and that I was able to deliver for them and bring home a result they could be proud of. It’s pretty cool to have Ryan (McCarthy) as my engineer, we worked together back in 2014 when I scored by first pole here, so to do it again with him is pretty special.”

Mike Shank couldn’t be more proud of the hard work put forth by Hindman and the entire MSR crew. The Meyer Shank Racing crew last scored a pole position at Sebring in 2016.

“Trent did just a spectacular job today,” said Shank. “The guys worked really late last night trying to get this car dialed in perfectly and it worked. Sebring has been a tough race for us in the past so to be able to get pole today was a start in the right direction for the 12 hour tomorrow. This track has not been our best place for results so hopefully we can change that tomorrow and this is a good way to start the race.”

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing to Start Seventh at Sebring

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Toni Vilander (Finland), and Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.) will start seventh on the GTD grid for this weekend’s 67th annual IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

Under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, MacNeil was behind the wheel of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 for this morning’s 15-minute GTD qualifying session. MacNeil turned his fastest lap of 2:00.974 on his fourth circuit around the 3.74-mile, 17 turn road course.

“For me, the car was pretty darn good,” MacNeil said follow qualifying. “I made one small mistake in Turn 17. Then, I caught one car in traffic on my fast lap in Turn 16. That cost us a little bit, which ended up being a spot or two. But still, we’re in the top 10 at P7. That sets us up for a good starting position for tomorrow’s 12-hour race.

“Obviously, it’s 12 hours long so starting position isn’t entirely crucial. The farther up ahead we start, the easier our job is. We’ve got a few cars to pass. But it’s a long race and we’ve got a really good race car. And, the crew is working really hard, doing a good job. We’ve just got to put it all together.

“I’ve finished on the podium here [Sebring] three times. I finished P2 twice and won once. Actually, Scuderia Corsa has been on the podium here three years in a row. To bring the team another win here at Sebring, and for me to get my second [win], this time in a Ferrari, would be amazing.”

Scuderia Corsa won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2016 and the team finished second in 2017 and 2018.

Source. Kyle Chura/weatherTech Racing

Porsche locks out first grid row

The Porsche GT Team takes up the 12 Hours of Sebring from the first two grid spots. Patrick Pilet (France) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) posted the fastest lap times in qualifying for the second round of this year’s IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. This marks the first time that the two ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR, which contest the long distance classic in Florida again decked out in the design of the legendary Brumos team, line up side-by-side on the first grid row in the North American sports car championship. So far in the “Super Sebring” race weekend, Porsche has a perfect record. On the previous day, the works driver colleagues Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) had clinched pole position for the 1,000-mile race of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC.

Pilet made perfect use of the grip of the fresh tyres in his first fast lap. With top times in all three sectors of the 6.02 kilometre racetrack, the Frenchman clearly underlined the huge potential of the Porsche 911 RSR. Last year, Pilet won the twelve-hour race at Sebring in the No. 911 car with his works driver teammates Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). During his first flying lap, Vanthoor missed out on topping the time sheets, but in his second fast lap he managed to push past all other cars from manufacturers contesting the GTLM class. The Belgian shares the cockpit of the No. 912 car with factory driver Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France). Early this year at the season-opener in Daytona, the trio had scored a podium result.

In the GTD class, Zacharie Robichon secured the third grid spot in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R run by the Pfaff Motorsports customer team. The Canadian shares driving duties in the ca. 500-hp racer with Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) and Scott Hargrove (Canada). Nicholas Boulle took up the qualifying in the identical No. 73 model of Park Place Motorsports. The North American driver will head into the twelve-hour race from position 14 with works driver Patrick Long (USA) and his fellow compatriot Patrick Lindsey. Round two of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship starts on Saturday, 16 March, at 10:30 hrs local time (15:40 hrs CET).

Qualifying quotes
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “This is my first time at Sebring for Porsche and I’m seeing such great results: especially considering the huge logistical effort of managing two teams contesting two races within 48 hours. We now have the ideal starting positions with pole positions in both WEC GTE categories and in the IMSA. I’m very much looking forward to the race. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic and the cooperation is perfect.”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “This has been a dream weekend so far for Porsche. First pole position and then the double pole in the GTE-Pro and Am classes of the WEC, and now we’ve locked out the first grid row in the IMSA. We hope it continues like this. It’s important that we now prepare ourselves well for the race. At any rate, all the hard work in the lead-up has paid off. The predicted weather change on Saturday promises to make it even more excitement.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The qualifying was over quickly – because I drove really fast. Jokes aside, I knew from the free practice how to get the best out of the tyres in the ideal operating window. I took enough time to get them warmed up, then I went all-out. In the first corner I was at the absolute limit and used every last millimetre of the track. We’re very well prepared for the race on Saturday. Conditions may change, and that makes the challenge of finding the best setup even trickier. But our goal is clear: we want to stay at the front to the flag and repeat last year’s win.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We changed our car again prior to the qualifying session. If felt good, but I didn’t immediately find the limit. It’s a pity, because I would’ve liked to stand on pole position, of course. The result for Porsche is ideal. Taking up the twelve-hour race from the first two grid spots is simply perfect. Our Porsche 911 RSR has always been particularly strong at Sebring.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Pilet*/Tandy/Makowiecki (F/GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:55.899 minutes
2. Bamber/Vanthoor*/Jaminet (NZ/B/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.143 seconds
3. Garcia*/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette C7.R, + 0.259

GTD class
1. Farnbacher/Hindman*/Marks (D/USA/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 1:59.917 minutes
2. Auberlen/Foley*/Machavern (USA/USA/USA), BMW M6 GT3, + 0.382 seconds
3. Kern/Robichon*/Hargrove (D/CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.587
14. Long/Lindsey/Boulle* (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.233

*Qualifying driver

Source. Porsche

MAZDA QUALIFIES SECOND FOR 12 HOURS OF SEBRING

Tristan Nunez qualifies second, Bomarito seventh in Mazda RT24-Ps

SEBRING, Fla. (March 15, 2019) – In the Friday morning qualifying session for the 12 Hours of Sebring, Tristan Nunez drove the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P to a front row starting position for the endurance racing classic.

Recording a time of 1:46.011 around the 3.7-mile circuit made up of the runways of the former Hendricks Army Airfield, Nunez’s time put the Mazda RT24-P that he will share with Timo Bernhard and Oliver Jarvis second on the grid. Jonathan Bomarito, who shares the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P with Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell, qualified in seventh position.

The No. 55 Mazda RT24-P topped the second and third practice sessions of the weekend, with Pla setting the fastest lap in practice two and Tincknell setting the fastest lap of night practice.

The 12 Hours of Sebring will be broadcast live on Saturday, March 16 starting at 10:30 AM ET on CNBC before continuing on NBC Sports at 3:00 PM ET with coverage concluding at 11:00 PM ET.

Quotes
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“The 12 Hours of Sebring is a very long, very challenging race, and will require us to have a car that is going to be fast through the day but also have something in reserve for the cool evening conditions. The Mazda RT24-Ps have been near the front in each session, but they’ve also been consistent, and have been good in all conditions here. Tristan showed the speed that we all know he has, and he and the crew of the 77 put it all together in that qualifying session. You can never be too sure of yourself in a race like this, and by the looks of things the weather will play a role in the race, but the weekend has been going well so far.”

No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
Jonathan Bomarito
“I’m definitely encouraged by the pace we have in our Mazda RT24-P. We just missed it a little bit in qualifying, but our race pace that we had in practice yesterday was really good, so we know that we have a good race car. We know that this is a very challenging, very punishing race and we know we have the car, the team, and the preparation we need to be successful.”

No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
Tristan Nunez
“It’s amazing to be on the front row for the 12 Hours of Sebring – my home race and my favorite race of the year. We have a good record this year as far as qualifying goes, between Daytona and Sebring, and qualifying second is an awesome way to start the race weekend. We have a really good car, which I’ve been saying since the start of the weekend – it just feels comfortable. I’m excited to get the race started tomorrow, and I think there’s going to be some race, and that should spice things up a bit. It should be a mega race.”

Source. Mazda

CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Garcia, Milner to Start on Second, Third GTLM Rows

Corvette Racing will go for its 12th victory Saturday in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from the second and third rows of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) category.

Antonio Garcia qualified the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R third in class during Friday morning’s time trials at Sebring International Raceway. His time of 1:56.158 (114.686 mph) wasn’t far ahead of Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, who set a best lap of 1:56.248 (114.597 mph).

The top eight cars in class were separated by just 0.832 seconds.

The qualifying session marked the start of a busy day for Corvette Racing, which also will contest this afternoon’s FIA World Endurance Championship 1,000 Miles of Sebring. Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller will start fifth in the GTE Pro category with the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED THIRD IN GTLM: “It was a good lap. I haven’t had a weekend where I’ve had two chances to do qualifying (in IMSA and WEC). Everything ran pretty smooth with our Corvette. I didn’t expect the lap times to be that low, to be fair. In the last practice this morning, the track wasn’t really where it needed to be. That probably gave us a little bit of a misread, but in the end it didn’t hurt us. Our Corvette ran really smooth. Between qualifying in WEC and IMSA, things went well. Starting from third and knowing we could have good pace is good. We need to wait and see what the weather does and how this race develops.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM: “It was a good qualifying session… really close. Being a longer lap for things to be this close shows that this race is going to be pretty darn competitive for all of us. I’m excited that we have a good and a fast Corvette. We made some changes in the last practice that seemed to improve things over one lap and over a long run, too. Those are all important things for this long of a race. I think we have a good race car; the Corvettes have been close to the front all weekend. We’re excited for the race.”

Source. Corvette Racing

Whelen Engineering Racing Fifth on Sebring 12 Hour Grid

Pipo Derani turned in the fifth-fastest time in qualifying on Friday, giving Whelen Engineering Racing a competitive starting position for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Derani’s best lap was 1:46.354-seconds in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R that will be co-driven by defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship titlists Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran.

“It is my first time qualifying the Cadillac, so I have a little bit to learn there,” said the two-time Sebring 12-hour winner. “We are not that far away with our qualifying time, and we did the best that we could. We are the best of the Cadillacs and I think we have a very good race car.”

Derani is the defending Sebring race winner, and also won the event as a rookie in 2016. This is his first year driving the Whelen Engineering Cadillac, that was driven to third here last year by Curran, Nasr and Mike Conway. Whelen Engineering has finished on the podium in three consecutive Sebring classics, with its best finish second in 2016.

“It is great to be racing for the current champions and I am really hoping I can get another win here,” said Derani. “We will see what the conditions are like in the race, but I know this Whelen team will be ready for whatever the race throws at us.”

The Whelen Engineering Cadillac was at or near the top of the charts in all three practice sessions on Thursday.

Nasr led the opening session with a lap of 1:46.996. Derani was second in the afternoon practice, while Nasr was a close second in the extended night session.

Source. Sunday Group

Mustang Sampling Cadillac to Start Fourth at Sebring

The Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was the top Cadillac qualifier in fourth for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to run tomorrow, Saturday, March 16 at Sebring International Raceway.

At the start of the 15-minute qualifying session under sunny skies and 80-degrees, Filipe Albuquerque posted the fastest lap of the six Cadillac DPi-V.R competitors in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R with a time 1:46.238. That time will have him start from the second row in fourth. His teammate, Pipo Derani, in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R qualified fifth with a time of 1:46.354. Jordan Taylor will start sixth in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R with a time of 1:46.530. Simon Trummer, in the No. 84 JDC/Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R, will start eighth based on a time of 1:47.086. He was followed by teammate Tristan Vautier in the No. 85 JDC/Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R with a time of 1:47.275. Will Owen will start the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R from the 10th spot based on a time of 1:47.478. The teams will be monitoring the weather as rain is expected during the day on Saturday in central Florida.

Albuquerque is joined in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac by Joao Barbosa and newcomer Brendon Hartley.

“I’m pretty happy with the session,” Albuquerque said. “The car was pretty good, particularly in the opening laps. I was giving it everything. I don’t think there was any more for us today but tomorrow is the thing for us. I don’t care what the weather is, I just want to win the race. There are some things we will keep working on before tomorrow, but we’ve got a good race car for sure and I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”

Pipo Derani will start the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R from the third row and shares driving duties with Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran.

“It is my first time qualifying the Cadillac, so I have a little bit to learn there,” Derani said. “We are not that far away with our qualifying time, and we did the best that we could. We [Action Express team] are the best of the Cadillacs and I think we have a very good race car. It is great to be racing for the current champions and I am really hoping I can get another win here. We will see what the conditions are like in the race, but I know this Whelen team will be ready for whatever the race throws at us.”

Jordan Taylor will start the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and is joined by season regular Renger Van Der Zande and newcomer Matthieu Vaxiviere (VAX-i-VEE-AIR) at Sebring. The Rolex 24 winners are looking to make it two-in-a-row tomorrow.

“I think everything was OK – we knew we weren’t going to get the pole so we’ve been working on our race car all weekend and I think it was probably the most comfortable it’s been all weekend during the qualifying session,” Taylor said. “It’s not the fastest but you don’t need the fastest car to win these kinds of races. We worked on the car enough in night practice to know it’ll be good at the end of the race, and that’s when the race is won or lost, so we’re feeling pretty confident.”

Trummer is partnered with Stephen Simpson and the team’s endurance driver Chris Miller. The 84 JDC/Miller Cadillac team is looking for a rebound performance at Sebring after a 10th place run at the Rolex 24.

“It was my first qualifying in the Cadillac,” Trummer said. “The JDC/Miller Cadillac is improving a lot and we are still learning this new car. I am glad we have Tristan on the team as he has experience from last year with this car. The car felt good, I just didn’t get the tires in the performance window. The fronts took forever to come in so I could push after four laps and then the rears were gone. I am not worried. We have some performance left in the car so I am looking forward to the race.”

The No. 85 JDC/Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R will take the green from the ninth grid position. Qualifying driver Vautier is joined by Misha Goikhberg, as well as endurance teammate Juan Piedrahita.

“It was a tough qualifying session,” Vautier said. “We were struggling with the brakes today in qualifying. We changed the brakes last night and we had some issues with the new set. We started the weekend off strong. We just took a little step back. The guys are working hard and we have 12 hours of racing tomorrow so we are confident for a good result.”

Will Owen piloted the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in qualifying and posted a fast lap of 1:47.478 good for a fifth row starting position. Owen is joined in the red, white and green Juncos Cadillac by Rene Binder and Agustin Canapino.

“Overall we have learned a lot about our No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and have been able to close the gap from where we started in the first practice session,” Owen said. “This morning we had some issues in the final practice session that prevented us from getting the most out of our time on track, but during qualifying we were able to put together a decent lap. I know we have some time to gain, so we will be working hard as a team to find those areas of where we can improve. We are going to work on what we know and go from there to be ready for the race tomorrow.

Paul Miller Racing preparations for the Sebring 12 hour complete

Paul Miller Racing is ready to defend its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 12 Hours of Sebring GTD class victory after completing final practice and qualifying this morning.

Utilizing today’s qualifying run as an additional practice session, Ryan Hardwick made a strong run in the crowded GTD field in the 1st Phorm Lamborghini GT3 Huracán and will start 12th in the classic endurance race at Sebring.

The decision to change engines after the final practice and qualifying was made last evening, turning the focus for today’s sessions on race set up. Being the first time for Hardwick to race on the famously tough Sebring circuit, it was also an opportunity for him to gain additional laps at the historic Florida circuit in preparation for tomorrow’s race.

Optimism is high among the team for tomorrow’s race – coming into the event as the defending champions.

“This is an incredibly difficult place to figure out from a driver perspective, and it’s a new car and learning experience for Ryan,” said Paul Miller Racing team founder, Paul Miller.

“Even with some testing miles under his belt, I really think Ryan is starting to learn the car and the track – we’re excited about his pace.

“Ryan, Bryan Sellars, and Corey Lewis are merging incredibly well as a team, and we’re ready to go out tomorrow and do the job.”

Sellers and Paul Miller Racing are the reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class champions. This weekend the team welcomes back Madison Snow who drove with Sellers in 2018 and will lend his experience to the team from the timing stand tomorrow.

“We’re excited to see Madison although we never expected him to stay away so long. We thought he would show up at Daytona,” Miller said.

“Having him on the team’s stand for the race tomorrow will be a huge benefit with his experience and success at Sebring. Madison will be helpful to all of us but he, and his parents, Martin and Melanie, are all good friends of Paul Miller Racing and we’re happy to see him!”

Driver Quotes
Ryan Hardwick

“I had a pretty good qualifying run. The car was super good, the best it’s been all weekend. I was really pumped after the morning warm up/practice session.
“I’m really happy with the car and the car setup. I think it’s really drivable for the whole race. I think we’ve got a great shot to win this race, even starting from 12th. I think we have a great car that can drive to the front.

“I’m really looking forward to this race. I love the track, the fans, all the people here, it’s absolutely amazing. I’m excited, I’m excited to get it going.”

Source. Paul Miller Racing

 

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