Porsche Remains Confident Following Unlucky Sebring 12 Hour

One Car Had A Shock Absorber Failure, The Other An Inopportune Tire Puncture, Both Ran To A Stellar Pace 

Wes Duenkel—© 2017 Wes Duenkel

In Porsche's own words, 'at the 12 Hours of Sebring... the new Porsche 911 RSR was on course for a podium result until shortly before the finish. In fact, thanks to a sound race strategy and a strong performance from the pilots, even a maiden victory was within reach.' Yep, defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. We've already discussed how that loss made us feel on Saturday evening, but here are a few quotes directly from Porsche's management team and driver squad to give you a feeling for how they felt about the whole ordeal. 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: 

We witnessed a very dramatic race and up until 33 minutes before the end everything was looking good. We had a tough fight for first place with the Corvette but then suffered a slow puncture on the front left tire. We had to pit and change the tire and after that, we could forget about victory. With our number 912 car, the unplanned pit stop due to a leaking damper cost us three laps and all chances of winning. This car was also running very well.

Patrick Pilet, Driver, 911 RSR #911: 

Our plan was to have the best car at the end of the race. This meant that it wasn’t so easy driving during the heat of the day. But once it cooled down we were very clearly the fastest on the track. The team did an excellent job. The strategy had been perfect. After the last pit stop, we had a good chance to win. The tire defect was annoying. It wasn’t a pit crew error, it was just bad luck.

Dirk Werner, Driver, 911 RSR #911: 

The pace of the car was very good and under normal circumstances it would have been enough to win here. Patrick was running in a very good position when he got the puncture. It’s hard to lose the fight for victory like this. Still, we had a great weekend and we put in a good race. The performance of the entire team was outstanding and we were so close to winning our first race. 

Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, 911 RSR #911: 

It’s really disappointing. The team had done such a great job and we had a very good strategy. We knew that we would get stronger in the second half of the race when the temperatures cooled down, and that worked perfectly, too. Patrick’s flat tire cost us the victory. That was just simply unfortunate.

Kévin Estre, Driver, 911 RSR #912: 

It was a tough race. Our car had the pace to run with the leaders. The track worked better for us in the second half of the race when it got cooler. Unfortunately, we then had the problem that cost us three laps. We were able to make up one of those laps, but we couldn’t do any more than that.” 

Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, 911 RSR # 912: 

Our pace was very good. Unfortunately, we lost three laps because of a leaky damper. Because there were comparatively few caution phases, we weren’t able to make up much ground in the final hours. 

Richard Lietz, 911 RSR # 912: 

Sebring is merciless, but we knew this beforehand. We had a good car and I enjoyed driving here with my teammates. We did our very best but unfortunately we had the problem with the rear left damper. Things like this can happen, particularly on a bumpy circuit like this one. We were well prepared, we did a great deal of testing here in Sebring, but sadly it ultimately wasn’t enough for a better result.

If you have a spare twelve hours, you can watch the full race broadcast here on YouTube, thanks to IMSA. The final hour and ten minutes is worth watching at a minimum if you haven't got that much time. 

And here are the final race results, as well as current points standings for Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

GTLM class

1. Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette, 334 laps

2. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 334

3. Fisichella/Calado/Vilander (I/I/SF), Ferrari 488, 334

4. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon (GB/USA/NZL), Ford GT, 334

5. Pla/Mücke/Johnson (F/D/USA), Ford GT, 334

6. Auberlen/Sims/Wittmer (USA/GB/CAN), BMW M6, 334

7. Pilet/Werner/Makowiecki (F/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 334

8. Estre/Vanthoor/Lietz (F/B/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 332

9. Edwards/Tomczyk/Catsburg (USA/D/NL), BMW M6, 149

10. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette, 42

GTD class

1. Bleekemolen/Keating/Farnbacher (NL/USA/D), Mercedes, 325 laps

2. Balzan/Nielsen/Cressoni (I/DK/I), Ferrerari 488, 324

3. Vautier/Habul/Said (F/USA/USA), Mercedes, 324

6. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry/Heylen (D/USA/USA/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 324

10. De Quesada/Morad/Pumpelly/Christensen (USA/CAN/USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 323

Points’ standings GTLM class after 2 of 11 races

Drivers

1. Müller, Hand, Bourdais, Ford, 67 points

2. Garcia, Magnussen, Rockenfeller, Chevrolet, 63

3. Fisichella, Vilander, Calado, Ferrari, 60

4. Pilet, Werner, Makowiecki, Porsche, 57

5. Mücke, Pla, Jonsson, Ford, 50

5. Westbrook, Briscoe, Dixon, Ford, 50

6. Estre, Vanthoor, Lietz, Porsche, 48

6. Auberlen, Sims, BMW, 48

7. Wittmer, BMW, 45

8. Gavin, Milner, Garcia, Chevrolet, 43

9. Edwards, Tomczyk, Catsburg, BMW, 42

Manufacturers

1. Ford, 67 points

2. Chevrolet, 63

3. Ferrari, 60

4. Porsche, 58

5. BMW, 54

Teams

1. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 67

2. #3 Corvette Racing, 63

3. #62 Risi Competizione, 60

4. #911 Porsche GT Team, 57

5. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 50

6. #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 50

7. #912 Porsche GT Team, 48

8. #25 BMW Team RLL, 48

9. #4 Corvette Racing, 43

10. #24 BMW Team RLL, 42