Perfect starting position for Porsche at the 12 Hours of Sebring: Two factory-run 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche North America share the first grid row in the GTLM class for Saturday’s race. Frédéric Makowiecki (France) planted the #912 Porsche 911 RSR on pole position during the gripping qualifying session for the 63rd running of America’s oldest sports car race. He shares driving duties with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand). Makowiecki clocked the fastest time at his first race for Porsche on the 5.954 kilometre airfield circuit in the heart of Florida on his very last lap. Last year at Sebring, Porsche also took off from pole position and went on to clinch class victory.
At the wheel of the sister 911 RSR sporting the starting number 911, Patrick Pilet (France) set the second quickest time and, with Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Richard Lietz (Austria), takes up the race from the first grid row. Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) start from eighth on the grid together with Bryan Sellers (USA) in the 911 RSR of the Falken Tire customer team.
In the GTD class, the best Porsche 911 GT America only narrowly missed out on the top time. Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Alex Riberas (Spain) and Ian James (USA) tackle the race from the second spot sharing the cockpit of the 911 fielded by the Seattle/Alex Job Racing squad. Six Porsche 911 GT America racers were amongst the eight fastest in the GTD qualifying.
Comments after the qualifying
Frédéric Makowiecki (#912): “That was a very difficult qualifying with a perfect result for Porsche. Despite the heat, our tyres took longer than expected to reach an optimal working temperature on this challenging track. From practice to practice, the team successfully improved the 911 RSR. It’s something very special for me to set pole position here in Sebring. It makes me proud, because Porsche has a long and successful history at this race.”
Patrick Pilet (#911): “That was tough. I experienced understeer early on with our 911 RSR, but towards the end the balance improved from lap to lap. Now I’m also feeling optimistic for the race – the whole package works. The most important thing in Sebring is that the car’s performance remains constant. This race is won in the last two hours, so we need a perfect strategy and we can’t make any mistakes.”
1. Bergmeister/Bamber/Makowiecki (D/NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:58.587 minutes
2. Tandy/Pilet/Lietz (GB/F/A), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.219 seconds
3. Magnussen/Garcia/Briscoe (DK/E/AUS), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.241
4. Auberlen/Werner/Farfus (USA/D/BRA), BMW Z4 GTE, + 0.255
5. Kaffer/Fisichella/Bertolini (D/I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.340
6. Edwards/Luhr/Klingmann (USA/D/D), BMW Z4 GTE, + 0.343
8. Henzler/Sellers/Long (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.200
1. J. Bleekemolen/S. Bleekemolen/Keating (NL/NL/USA), Dodge Viper, 2:03.485 minutes
2. Farnbacher/James/Riberas (D/USA/E), Porsche 911 GT America, + 0.053 seconds
3. Pumpelly/Lindsey/Norman (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, +0.621