IMSA: Best 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 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.

Qualifying quotes

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.”

Qualifying result

GTLM class
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

GTD class
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

The schedule

The 12 Hours of Sebring takes off on Saturday, 18 March, at 10.40 hrs local time (15.40 hrs CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA on www.imsa.com.

The race

The race is as legendary as its winners. Immortalised on the winners’ list are racing greats such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Dan Gurney, Hans Hermann, Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti. Hollywood stars Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, who finished second overall in 1970 with a Porsche 908, have also fulfilled their racing dreams on the Sebring International Raceway. Built on a former military airfield, the circuit with its 17 corners is 5.954 kilometres long and hosted the inaugural race on 31 December, 1950.

The Porsche drivers

Six Porsche works drivers contest the GTLM class with the new 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team. Sharing the cockpit of the #911 vehicle are Patrick Pilet (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France), who kicked off the season with second place at Daytona. In the #912 car are Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Kévin Estre (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria). In the GTD class, two other works drivers compete for Porsche customer teams with the 911 GT3 R: Daytona winner Michael Christensen (Denmark) for Alegra Motorsports and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) for Park Place Motorsports.

The Porsche vehicles

The 911 RSR, which celebrated its race debut in January at Daytona, is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed in Weissach from scratch. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is now positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). Thanks to the particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency were significantly improved. The new factory design of the 911 RSR with the basic colours white, red and black has further developed the clear and dynamic design language of Porsche Motorsport. The 911 GT3 R celebrated its race debut a year ago in Daytona mounted with the new ultra-modern, four-litre, flat-six engine with direct fuel injection. Porsche had designed the more than 368 kW (500 hp) customer sports racer for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car.

Porsche successes

Porsche is the manufacturer with the most Sebring victories. The first of 18 outright victories for Porsche on the Sebring International Raceway came in 1960 courtesy of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien in the Porsche 718 RS/60. The most recent overall win in 2008 was clinched by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard with the Porsche RS Spyder. Porsche’s list of successes also includes no less than 70 class wins at this race. The most recent success was in 2015 with the Porsche 911 GT America fielded by the Alex Job Racing customer team. Prior to that, in 2014, Jörg Bergmeister, Michael Christensen and Patrick Long scored class victory at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR.

This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship

The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada, which was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), P (Prototype) and PC (Prototype Challenge). The new Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R contesting the GTD class.

Consumption data

911 GT3 RS: Combined fuel consumption: 12,7 l/100 km; Combined CO2 emissions: 296 g/km

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