Posted by: porschebahn | March 16, 2009

Porsche preview of 12 Hours of Sebring, Round 1 of ALMS

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Five Porsche 911 GT3 RSR hunt the title

Traditionally, the American Le Mans Series takes off into the new season with a classic: The 12 Hours of Sebring – running for the 57th time on Saturday – is the oldest sports car race in the USA and one of the greatest challenges for drivers and teams. With the further developed 911 GT3 RSR, Porsche is keen to repeat last year’s victory on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida against strong competition and with this lay the foundations for a successful title defence.

“We’re heading into the new season feeling very confident. Our customer teams tested intensively in Sebring in January and the cars immediately ran very well,” says Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. Due to changes in the technical regulations, which stipulate that the 911 GT3 RSR features a smaller air inlet restrictor and five millimetres more ride height, the teams virtually have to start from zero with their suspension set-up, but have made quick progress. “We found a good basic set-up that we can build on for the race.”

Flying Lizard Motorsports

Five of the 450 hp 911 GT3 RSR contest the GT2 class at the season-opener of the race series showcasing the world’s fastest sports cars. Racing for the Flying Lizard Motorsports team, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) hold good winning chances in Sebring. In 2005 they won here for Porsche and secured the championship title. With two Sebring victories to his credit (2005, 2008), as well as three championship titles (2005, 2006, 2008) with Porsche, Joerg Bergmeister is one of the most successful drivers in the American Le Mans Series.

“Sebring is the toughest race of the season and one of my favourites. The bumpy circuit is very demanding and hard to drive,” says Joerg Bergmeister. Like Patrick Long, he is thrilled with the further developed 911 GT3 RSR. After initial tests he said: “The new car handles better than the old one, and that was already very good.” For the Porsche works driver, the 2009 racing season kicked off with a class win at the Daytona 24 hour race as part of the Grand-Am Series.

Sharing driving duties in the second Flying Lizard Motorsports 911 GT3 RSR are Americans Darren Law, Seth Neimann and Johannes van Overbeek.

Farnbacher Loles Racing

Last year he won in Sebring with his team mate Joerg Bergmeister and went on to claim the title – this season, Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) shares the 911 GT3 RSR of Farnbacher Loles Racing with his fellow countryman Dirk Werner in the American Le Mans Series. In Sebring they will join forces with Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria). “We’ve made a noticeable step forward with our new car, which we already saw at our winter tests,” says Wolf Henzler. “We are well prepared and figure we have good chances to win the championship.”

VICI Racing

VICI Racing also plan to race two 911 GT3 RSR. In the first car Marc Basseng, Lance David Arnold and Richard Westbrook will share the duties, and in the second car Nicky Pastorelli as well as Hans und Johannes Stuck.

Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in Sebring

With 18 overall and 63 class victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the 12 Hours of Sebring. The prestigious race starts on Saturday, 21st March, at 10.35 hours local time (16.35 hrs CET).

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