Porsche customer teams head to the 12 Hours of Sebring as the leaders of the GTD-Pro and GTD classes. Four Porsche 911 GT3 R racing cars will tackle round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Pfaff Motorsports and WeatherTech Racing will contest the GTD-Pro category. Wright Motorsports and the Hardpoint squad have entered their 500+PS nine-elevens in the GTD class. The 70th running of the endurance classic in the US state of Florida counts towards the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which also includes the races at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
The Sebring International Raceway throws major challenges at man and machine. About a third of the 6.02-kilometre racetrack consists of concrete slabs, which were previously part of the runway at the former Hendricks Army Airfield. The racetrack is known for its hefty bumps – especially on these sections. Due to this special feature, the racetrack located about 100 kilometres south of Orlando is often mentioned on social media with the hashtag #RespectTheBumps.
“320 laps, each six kilometres long – and at an average speed of almost 180 km/h. The stresses are huge. But more than anything else, the uneven track surface pushes the drivers and their vehicles to the limit,” explains Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “Our car is fully developed, durable and competitive – we very clearly underlined this recently with our class wins at Daytona and also with Pfaff Motorsports’ victory at Sebring last year. So I’m convinced that our customer teams can again race at the front this coming weekend. I’m particularly excited about this year’s event. The season opener for our FIA WEC colleagues running the 911 RSR will be contested the day before, customer teams will field the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, plus the grid lineup for the Carrera Cup North America is huge. So many members of the Porsche family in one place – that will make it an emotional experience.”
The customer teams and drivers
In the new GTD-Pro class, the customer teams Pfaff Motorsports and WeatherTech Racing field one Porsche 911 GT3 R each for the whole 2022 season. The three works drivers Matt Campbell from Australia, Mathieu Jaminet from France and Felipe Nasr from Brazil, share driving duties in Pfaff Motorsports’s No. 9 entry. The trio won the season-opening round at Daytona in late January and currently ranks first in the championship. For WeatherTech Racing, Julien Andlauer from France and Belgium’s Alessio Picariello join forces with the American amateur racer Cooper MacNeil in the No. 79 car.
Two Porsche customer teams contest the GTD category. In this class, too, Porsche 911 GT3 R racing cars complying with the GT3 regulations are fielded. Wright Motorsports run the No. 16 car with drivers Jan Heylen from Belgium, Ryan Hardwick from the USA and Zacharie Robichon from Canada. Thanks to the class win at the opening round of the season at Daytona, the team from the US state of Ohio leads the championship as well as the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. British driver Katherine Legge teams up with her fellow countryman Stefan Wilson and the American Rob Ferriol to compete in the Hardpoint team’s No. 99 entry.
Drivers’ comments before the race
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “It’s been a few weeks since our victory in Daytona. We’ve had enough time to analyse our performance at the season opener. There are definitely areas where we can perform even better as a team – we want to do this in the upcoming race at Sebring. Last year, the Porsche 911 GT3 R was very strong on this circuit. I’m expecting we’ll be at the top again this year. A podium place is the least we’re aiming for. Another win would be a dream.”
Julien Andlauer (Porsche 911 GT3 R #79): “The season opener in Daytona was a huge disappointment for us. We certainly had the potential to win our class, but it wasn’t meant to be. At Sebring, we’re looking for redemption. It will be a pretty busy week for me as I do the WEC race in a Porsche 911 RSR from Dempsey-Proton Racing. I’ve used the past few weeks to intensively prepare myself physically and mentally for a double engagement. I’m in top shape!”
Zacharie Robichon (Porsche 911 GT3 R #16): “After our class victory in Daytona, I’m feeling very motivated. I won last year with Pfaff Motorsports at Sebring and now I’d like to repeat that achievement with Wright Motorsports. Our team has notched up several successes at Sebring in the past. I have faith in our chance for a podium finish and – if everything goes really well – also a possible win in the GTD class.”
Katherine Legge (Porsche 911 GT3 R #99): “I’m very much looking forward to Sebring. Our tests there were very successful. That’ll be Stefan Wilson’s second time in the car. He did very well at Daytona, and at our Sebring tests. He’s making great progress. The same goes for my regular teammate Rob Ferriol. Last year, we weren’t far off a podium finish at the 12-hour race. It was close and a real shame.”
An overview of the drivers and teams
#9 Pfaff Motorsports – Campbell (AUS) / Jaminet (F) / Nasr (BR)
#79 WeatherTech Racing – Andlauer (F) / Picariello (B) / MacNeil (USA)
#16 Wright Motorsports – Hardwick (USA) / Heylen (B) / Robichon (CDN)
#99 Team Hardpoint – Legge (GB) / Ferriol (USA) / Wilson (GB)
Live streaming of the race
The 12-hour race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the Sebring International Raceway gets underway on Saturday, 19 March at 10:10 am local time (3:10 pm CET). The entire race can be viewed live outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com. Live timing of all sessions is available at scoring.imsa.com.
The schedule (local time, CET -5 hours)
Thursday, 17 March
10:15 – 11:45: Free practice 1
14:25 – 15:55: Free practice 2
19:45 – 21:15: Free practice 3
Friday, 18 March
8:55 – 9:10: Free practice 4
9:20 – 9:35: Qualifying
Saturday, 19 March
8:00 – 8:20: Warmup
10:10 – 22:10: Race