There was a double victory for Porsche at Sebring, as the #91 Porsche 911 RSR of Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz won round six of the WEC in Florida on Friday. Not to be outdone, Nick Tandy/Patrick Pilet/Frédéric Makowiecki also grabbed a win in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR in round two of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship, the 12 Hour of Sebring.
WEC Round 6, 1000 Miles of Sebring
First up, in the 1000-mile race WEC race on Friday, which was capped at eight hours, ran without incident over long stretches for the Bruni/Lietz pairing. Sitting in second place around 25 minutes before the finish, the rain arrived necessitating an additional pit stop, but the Manthey-Racing factory crew did a perfect job ensuring that the #91 car left the pits first.
However, for the pairing of Kévin Estre/Michael Christensen, their start from pole position was marred by a collision with a rival car. In the ensuing chase, the #92 car fell back down the field as a result of a stop-and-go penalty. The few overtaking manoeuvres possible on this infamously bumpy track hampered the car from catching the leading pack, and they finished in fifth place. As a result of the weekend’s results, the #91 winning pair has improved their ranking and moved up to second place behind their #92 teammates who still lead the championship.
In the GTE Am class, the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing team of Matt Campbell/Julien Andlauer/Christian Ried celebrated another win, following a consistent and flawless drive. In the process, Matt Campbell also posted a fastest lap in class. The #56 Project 1 team with works drivers Jörg Bergmeister, together with Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti secured third place, defending their overall class leading position. The #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Thomas Preining/Ben Barker/Michael Wainwright finished in fourth place. Driving the #88 Porsche 911 RSR, Matteo Cairoli with Giorgio and Gianluca Roda finished the race in seventh place.
WEC results after round 6 at Sebring
Class: GTE Pro Drivers’ Championship
|1||91||Porsche 911 RSR||Porsche GT Team||Kévin Estre||125|
|1||91||Porsche 911 RSR||Porsche GT Team||Michael Christensen||125|
|2||92||Porsche 911 RSR||Porsche GT Team||Gianmaria Bruni||100|
|2||92||Porsche 911 RSR||Porsche GT Team||Richard Lietz||100|
|3||51||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||AF Corse||Alessandro Pier Guidi||80.5|
|3||51||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||AF Corse||James Calado||80.5|
Class: FIA Endurance Trophy GTE Am Drivers
|1||56||Porsche 911 RSR||Team Project 1||Jörg Bergmeister||103|
|1||56||Porsche 911 RSR||Team Project 1||Egidio Perfetti||103|
|1||56||Porsche 911 RSR||Team Project 1||Patrick Lindsey||103|
|2||54||Ferrari F488 GTE||Spirit of Race||Francesco Castellacci||78|
|2||54||Ferrari F488 GTE||Spirit of Race||Giancarlo Fisichella||78|
|2||54||Ferrari F488 GTE||Spirit of Race||Thomas Flohr||78|
|3||98||Aston Martin Vantage||Aston Martin Racing||Mathias Lauda||69|
|3||98||Aston Martin Vantage||Aston Martin Racing||Paul Dalla Lana||69|
|3||98||Aston Martin Vantage||Aston Martin Racing||Pedro Lamy||69|
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Round 2, 12 Hours of Sebring
Once was not enough for the trio in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, as Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki repeated their 2018 win with a victory in the 2019 event as well. The Porsche works team echoed the results of their colleagues in the WEC race, with #912 sister car of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet also finishing the race in fifth place.
Early on in the race, heavy rain saw both Porsche 911 RSRs drop back down the field, but as conditions improved around the half-way point, the trio in the #911 Porsche pulled out all the stops with some top-class driving and excellent teamwork. In a gripping finale, Tandy fended off the attacks of the opposition and crossed the finish line after twelve hours with a 1.951-second lead. Tandy, Pilet and Makowiecki are the first driver trio to win the IMSA race at Sebring twice in a row. Thanks to their victory, the #911 crew now ranks first in the overall classification.
The #912 team fell back two laps in the early phase, but they put in a spirited charge through the field to finish the race on the same lap as the winning car. Laurens Vanthoor put it this way, “Unfortunately, we lost too much time in the rain at the start, otherwise we could have fought for victory. Our car was incredibly good, especially on slicks in the final phase but for me personally, I’m a bit disappointed.”
In the GTD class, the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R held the lead for about half of the total race distance. Unfortunately, this did not translate into a podium finish as the team lost crucial time switching out a faulty sensor in their car. Lars Kern, Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon finished down the order in tenth place in class.
In the identical #76 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long together with Nicholas Boulle and Patrick Lindsey crossed the line in sixth place after twelve hours. To highlight the close racing, the first eight cars all finished on the class-winning lap.
Porsche leads the manufacturers’ table on 65 points followed by BMW and Ford with 63 and 60 points respectively. Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki are lying in joint second place in the drivers’ standings with 61 points, and they lead the team table with the #911 Porsche.
The #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche is lying sixth in the team standings with the #9 Pfaff Motorsports car in twelfth place. Patrick Long, Nicholas Boulle and Patrick Lindsey (Park Place Motorsports) are all in sixth place in the drivers’ table in class with 49 points.
Round three of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship will be held on 13 April in Long Beach, Southern California (USA).
*At the time of publication these results were still showing as Provisional
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Werkfoto