Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Fast Becoming Driver Favorite At Sebring Debut

Credit: ALMS

Sebring, Fla. — After more than 12 hours of testing over two days at Sebring International Raceway, the drivers of the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR have declared the new race car race-worthy and ready to tackle the tough competition that faces it in the upcoming American Le Mans Series.

Patrick Long, from Bellair, Fla., Flying Lizard Motorsports driver who gave the media attendees a walk-around of the carat this week’s winter test session for the March 17 60th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, said that everyone made huge progress during the test.

“We brought our lap times down almost two seconds from the first hour to the last hour of this test weekend, unusual for this track, which tends to be bumpy enough to distract you from the task at hand.  The new RSR has a different feel than the previous model, and this process really challenges your race crew and engineers as well as the drivers, so good… feedback and communications are essential,” said Long, who will co-drive with fellow Porsche factory drivers Marco Holzer and Joerg Bergmeister for the race.

Bryan Sellers, from Atlanta, who drives the Team Falken Tire Porsche with Martin Ragginger and factory driver Wolf Henzler, said the different feel of the car over the famous Sebring bumps from turn #17 through the end of turn #1 made it hard for him in the first session, but, by the end of the week, he was going faster than ever.

“Driving and adjusting.  More driving and more adjusting.  We had to remember we had new tires, a brand new car, different springs, etc.  Once we starting dialing in our balance and setup, we realized what a great car the new RSR is,” said Sellers.

Sascha Maassen (Germany), who will co-drive the Paul Miller Racing Porsche with Bryce Miller and Great Britain’s Rob Bell, is an experienced test driver, having done a lot of development work with previous RSR models plus the Penske Porsche RS Spyder.

“A combination of skills from the Paul Miller crew and support from Porsche Motorsport engineers and our new Dunlop tire partners compressed several weeks of testing results into two very productive days,” said Maassen.

All three teams plan to test again at Sebring before new month’s event.

Ten of the GT cars went faster than last year’s pole position qualifying time, so, in addition to the introduction of the new Porsche, the Ferrari, Corvette, and BMW teams have improved their cars as well, so expect the hot GT battle to continue throughout the 2012 season, according to Jens Walther, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.

“The introduction of this new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is exciting for all our employees, our customers, and our race fans, and we are proud that our ALMS teams have made so much setup progress in such a short time during the Sebring Winter Test.  We know, however, that the championship battle will be hard work, but we are confident this car gives up the right tool to compete for the title,” said Walther.

Here are representative GT times from the Sebring Winter Test:
Pos., #, class, driver names, fastest time, car
1,   29  GT, Beretta/Vilander/Bruni,          2:00.061,  Ferrari F458 Italia
2,  01  GT, Sharp/van Overbeek ,             2:00.782,  Ferrari F458 Italia
3  02  GT, Brown/Cosmo,                          2:00.854,  Ferrari F458 Italia
4,  45  GT, Bergmeister/Long/Holzer,      2:00.894,  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
5,   4   GT, Gavin/Milner/Westbrook ,     2:01.022,  Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z
6, 55   GT, Müller/Auberlen ,                    2:01.271,  BMW E92 M3
7,   3   GT, Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor,    2:01.306,  Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z
8, 56   GT, Hand/Mueller,                          2:01.420,  BMW E92 M3
9, 57   GT, Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo,         2:01.549,  Ferrari F458 GT
10,17   GT, Henzler/Sellers/Ragginger,    2:01.961,  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
11,44   GT, Law/Neiman/Lally,                  2:02.844,  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
12,48   GT, Miller/Maassen/Bell,              2:02.958,  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
13,70   GT, Bourret/Gibson/Belloc,           2:03.945,  Chevrolet Corvette C6R
1,34   GTC, LeSaffre/Faulkner,                 2:07.713,  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
2,66   GTC, Pumpel/Waltrip/Kauf/Agu,   2:14.666,  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup