Porsche likes to say Sebring International Raceway isn’t necessarily a good track for its cars. Results say something different, however, as Porsche captured both GT classes in Friday night’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.
The No. 91 Porsche GT Team of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni took the checkered flag in the LM GTE Pro class, holding off the No. 81 BMW Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE after taking the lead in the final 30 minutes on the strength of a quicker pit stop to change to wet tires than the BMW car had. Although Bruni was quick to point out the team knew the BMW would have to make a stop for a splash of fuel near the end of the race.
“It was a very hard race from the start but we had a good car and the preparation we had for this race was unbelievable from the team,” Bruni said. “We worked very hard with the tire life on the test days. The race went our way from mid-race on. We were consistent, we were not the fastest but we did a good overtake on Ford and BMW and this was the key moments for us. Richard pulled away from the No. 67 Ford at one point and we knew that the BMW had to do the splash at the end and it all worked well for us and I am very happy to get my first win for Porsche.”
The No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK trio of Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Jonathan Bomarito did hit the podium with a third-place finish and the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO placed fourth.
The No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR trio of Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Matt Campbell started the race on the pole and made hit hold up, taking the LMGTE Am class victory over the No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari, which was driven by the trio of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella.
“Especially around Sebring where the track is so difficult and bumpy, when it rains it makes it a little more nerve-racking,” Campbell said. “We weren’t sure how the last stint would go because we only had 10 seconds to the Ferrari but we were able to creep away and obviously then the safety car came out. It is a fantastic result in what was a very tough race. The competition in the class was really tough and tight so to get the win like we have today is great.”
Bouncing back after last weekend’s fire that destroyed their chassis, the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche placed third under drivers Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey.
The Gulf Racing Porsche placed fourth and the No. 70 MR Racing Ferrari placed fifth.