- Audi R15+ TDI will start on front row at 12 Hours of Sebring
- David Heinemeier Hansson and PNR finish sixth in IMSA GT3 Cup debut
- Rennsport Reunion IV to be held October 14 – 16
- Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich talks about Sebring, the Audi R15 and R18
Posted: 19 Mar 2011 05:37 AM PDT
An excellent result for the Audi R15 TDI's final hurrah. The 12 Hours of Sebring will be the first race for all in 2011 and yet the last race the R15 TDI era. While most knew Peugeot would be fast and take pole, the R15 was right there. Sarrazin did pull out an amazing 1:46.57 lap to take pole, with Romain Dumas right behind with a 1:47.680. Tom Kristensen put the #2 R15 TDI on 4th with a 1:48.173. Once again, it's a 12 hour race and there will be over 50 cars spread over 3.7 miles. Gallery after the jump.
30 degrees in the shade and 56 cars on mere six-kilometer long race track – the conditions for the season opener of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup (ILMC) at Sebring (U.S. state of Florida) could hardly be more difficult. Audi is in a good shape for the classic U.S. endurance race with positions two and four on the starting grid.
In its tenth and last race, the Audi R15 TDI has to run with significantly reduced engine power due to the new technical regulations. Nevertheless, Frenchman Romain Dumas, in his first-ever qualifying session for Audi, was able to split the two new Peugeot 908 prototypes and to conquer an unexpected place on the front row of the grid for Audi Sport Team Joest with the "old" R15 TDI.
During the 15-minute qualifying session, Tom Kristensen was on a similarly fast lap as his team-mate, before losing time in the final corner behind a slower car. Thus the second Audi R15 TDI will start the race from grid position four on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. local time (3:30 p.m in Germany).
Due to the high temperatures and an extremely large starting field of 56 cars from a total of six classes, the Audi team during the four practice days exclusively focused on race preparations of the two Audi R15 TDI cars making them as comfortable as possible for the drivers. Reliability will also play a decisive role over the 12-hour distance on the extremely tough track. Historically, this has been a major strength of the record winning car of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
1 Montagny/Sarrazin/Lamy (Peugeot) 1m 46.571s
Posted: 18 Mar 2011 10:15 AM PDT
David Heinemeier Hansson and Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR) finished sixth in their debut race in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama on a Saint Patrick's Day Thursday at Sebring International Raceway in the No. 37 PNR/37signals Porsche GT3.
"I feel great," Hansson said. "I felt like I raced pretty much as hard as I could and the guys in front were fast. I am just happy I kept my car together all the way to the end. There were some good slides, but nothing too bad, and in the end it really did come down to tires."
Hansson had a good start and settled into a quick but steady pace in eighth before making his first pass for position less than 10 minutes into the race to move to seventh place. He momentarily fell back to eighth at the 30 minute mark but had enough left in his PNR/37signals Porsche and Yokohama tires to have some fight for the finish.
"It seems like you are actually in there for a good hour-and-a-half to two hours," Hansson said of the 45-minute race. "I was asking for time after 20 minutes, the car is just intense to drive. You have got to back off when you are halfway through it because the tires get real greasy and if you keep on pushing, you are going to find a flat spot. And once you find a flat spot, you're toast."
Flat spots actually factored into Hansson's last lap move. After getting back to seventh, Hansson reeled in the sixth place Porsche and was right on its rear bumper as the white flag flew.
"I could see on his car that he had a flat spot too, I had a flat spot, so I was just trying to push him and see if I could get him to make a mistake going deep," Hansson said. "In turn 10 I guess his left front just gave up and he went straight off the track."
Thursday's race was the first of this week's pair of sprints at Sebring that kick off the 2011 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup season. Tomorrow's race is scheduled to start at 4:20 p.m. and Hansson plans to put to good use some of things he learned in today's successful debut run.
"For me I have just got to back it off a little more I think," Hansson said. "I don't think I lost too much time not pressing 120%."
Posted: 18 Mar 2011 07:31 AM PDT
The World's Largest Gathering of Porsche Race Cars and Drivers will be held in October
Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today announced Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will take place at the famed California racetrack the weekend of October 14 – 16, 2011.
Sponsored by PCNA, Rennsport Reunion IV brings together an unprecedented gathering of significant Porsche vintage and current race cars, as well those who have driven them to victory in the world's most famous sports car races. The three-day program of on-track competition is complemented by a concours d'elegance, which is open to invited race participants, and special activities celebrating the decades-long history of the legendary 911 race cars.
After the highly successful staging of three venues in the East, held every three years, with the first one held in Lime Rock in 2001, Rennsport Reunion IV will now be moving west, tapping a vast array of car aficionados and Porsche enthusiasts.
"While the Rennsport name has become a staple fixture for international collectors and racers over the past ten years, choosing the Monterey Peninsula will open up this one-of-a-kind gathering to the many Porsche fans in California and beyond who were previously unable to attend," said Detlev von Platen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche Cars North America. "Now they'll have the opportunity to see, feel and hear from up close hundreds of famous Porsche race cars and dozens of their drivers from past and present during a truly memorable weekend dedicated to Porsche's motorsport heritage."
Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will assemble the wide variety of Porsche's most historic racing models from the nimble 550 Spyder of the mid-Fifties through the mighty 917 and 956/962 of the Seventies and Eighties to the highly successful GT3 RSR of the last decade. Special tribute will be paid to the numerous racing versions of the Porsche 911 and their countless victories on the dawn of what will become another milestone of this iconic sports car from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
"This will truly be a rare gathering of significant Porsche race cars on the West Coast," commented Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "Porsche has a long racing tradition in Monterey and we look forward to celebrating its heritage in a befitting manner for everyone to enjoy."
Additional details of the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will be published on Porsche's web site, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's web site, as they become available. Tickets start at $25 and are available by contacting 800-327-7322 or online at www.mazdaraceway.com.
Complementing the Rennsport Reunion IV venue is the Porsche Race Car Classic, an exclusive concours held at nearby Quail Lodge in Carmel on Sunday, October 16. Steve Heinrichs, producer of the Porsche Race Car Classic, explained, "this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of vintage Porsche race cars solely from Porsche's break-out era of 1950-1965 will raise critical funding to directly support lung cancer research. We'll have Gmünds, Glöcklers, 550s, 718s, 804s, 904s, 356s, Abarths and more – in numbers and provenance never before seen."
For more information on the Porsche Race Car Classic or to purchase tickets visit www.porscheracecarclassic.com.
Porsche and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are working in association with the Porsche Race Car Classic to combine efforts to raise awareness for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Program.
Posted: 17 Mar 2011 07:28 PM PDT
Heres a small interview with Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich about coming to Sebring this year, running the R15 vs R18 and more.
Can you tell us why you've brought the R15 to Sebring and not the R18?
The main reason is because we did not have a car here last year and when I talk to our people It was clear we could not race the R18, so I pushed hard to see if it was possible to race the R15 with some modifications. I think it's important all manufacturers in the championship start at Sebring, because it is a very important race. This is why we are where with R15. This is why it's not the last race and it has to do more.
Is the race about collecting points or do you think you can challenge the newer cars?
It's difficult to say. For sure we have a car that should be reliable. With all the cars on the race track, the performance is not the 100 percent indicator. I think the experience of our crew and the good basic speed should be a chance to go for victory. If we collect points, that is fine. The target is to be here, to be present, to hold up the Audi flag in Sebring, which is an important race and try to make the best out of the weekend.
What would you like to see for the future of the ILMC?
I think if we can develop from year to year we're on a good route. Myself, I was very optimistic when I saw they decided to do this with the manufacturers. If we follow the route to grow slowly but work continuously toward improvement, I think we will be on the right road.
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