After a successful restart to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Porsche is eager to take the lead of the manufacturers’ classification at round three in Sebring (USA). After yielding two podium results in the GTLM class from the first two races held at America’s motor racing stronghold, Daytona, the factory squad of the sports car manufacturer is just one point off the lead with the ca. 515 hp Porsche 911 RSR. At the second race in Florida within two weeks, two works-run RSR from Weissach as well as a customer vehicle will be fielded. In the GTD class, Wright Motorsports campaigns a 911 GT3 R.
The Sebring International Raceway throws major challenges at man and machine. About one third of the 6.02-kilometre racetrack consists of old concrete slabs, which were previously part of the runway at the former Hendricks Army Airfield. These washboard-like sections of the track cause hefty vibrations. Due to this special feature, the racetrack about 100 kilometres south of Orlando is often mentioned on social media with the hashtag #RespectTheBumps. For the engineers of the works team, the emphasis is on finding a suitable setup for the kinematics of the 911 RSR. Porsche is the most successful manufacturer on the storied circuit, which has regularly hosted endurance races since 1950. So far, the Stuttgart marque has netted 18 outright wins and 72 class victories at Sebring. In the last two years, the Porsche 911 RSR has dominated the GTLM class at the twelve-hour race. The “Sebring 240” on 18 July is contested over just two hours and 40 minutes. The long-distance classic over twelve hours, originally scheduled for March, has been pushed to 14 November at the same venue as a season finale.
The Porsche GT Team drivers
Works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) share driving duties in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. The reigning GTLM-class champions have scored second place at the first two rounds of the season in Daytona and currently lead the drivers’ championship. Briton Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki from France are keen to claim their first win of the season with the No. 911 sister car. The pair concluded the 24-hour race at the end of January and the race over 2:40 hours in Daytona on 4 July in third place. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche currently ranks third, just one point behind the joint leaders BMW and Corvette. At round three in Sebring, the North American factory squad now aims to bring home the first IMSA win with the new Porsche 911 RSR.
The customer team
In the GTD class, the seasoned customer team Wright Motorsports again fields a 500+hp Porsche 911 GT3 R at the third round of the North American sports car series. The squad from the U.S. state of Ohio entrust the cockpit to works driver Patrick Long and his compatriot Ryan Hardwick. The team currently ranks fourth in the class for vehicles compliant with the GT3 regulations.
Live streaming of the race
Round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring takes off on Saturday, 18 July, at 5:35 p.m. local time (11:35 p.m. CEST). The race over 2:40 hours can be viewed outside the USA and Canada on http://www.imsa.com.
The schedule (local time, CEST: -6 hours)
Friday, 17 July
6.00 – 7:00 p.m. – Free practice
Saturday, 18 July
10:00 – 11:15 a.m. – Free practice
1:55 – 2:10 p.m. – Qualifying GTD
2:20 – 2:35 p.m. – Qualifying GTLM
2:45 – 3:00 p.m. – Qualifying DPi/LMP2
5:35 – 8:15 p.m. – Race