There are races that spark great emotions. Myths and classics that have transformed drivers into legends. And there are those that weigh on the heart. Before the 12 Hours of Sebring, it was easy to assume that the final IMSA race of the Porsche factory team would surely be one of the latter. After the race? Not so much.
Maximum success in the great finale.
A moment of luck.
The course of the race wasn’t an easy one for both 911 RSR with the start numbers 911 and 912. The 12 hours of the race were eventful, to say the least: a turbulent field, multiple yellow phases and restarts after the safety car.
And yet: It was to be a proper goodbye. And they achieved that – despite it all being a nerve-wracking affair all the way to the end of the race. Continuously, Nick Tandy with the starting number 911 pushed his way forward behind the lead. Only to set a highlight 15 minutes before the race was due to end. A collision occurred within the tight field, something the Porsche driver could avoid and utilize to take the lead. Throughout the remaining time, Nick Tandy defended his lead, and greeted by cheers, shot across the finish line. The checkered flag fluttered in a sea of Porsche flags. The cheer among Nick Tandy and his team colleague Frédéric Makowiecki along with Earl Bamber knew no bounds – particularly Earl Bamber had all the more reason to celebrate, crossing the finish line directly behind Nick Tandy in the related car on second place.
A double Bamber.
Earl Bamber played a special role during the final IMSA appearance – actually, it was two roles. The factory driver started with both Porsche 911 RSR. As a result, he drove in number 911 beside Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki and in the 912 together with Laurens Vanthoor and Neel Jani. The routine driver had an impressive showing and, in the end, was well-deserved in holding 2 trophies: one for the victory and one for second place.
A crowning moment thanks to the customer team.
Once more, the team was at the top of the podium in Sebring – for the third time in succession. And if that wasn’t enough, the Wright Motorsport team added a crowning moment. The customer team finished on first place of the GTD class with factory driver Patrick Long, Jan Heylen and Ryan Hardwick in the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
12 hours forever.
The joy of victory outweighs the grief of farewell. For now. Who knows when there’ll be a reunion. Until then, the weekend from November 14 and 15 was another legend for the motorsport history books. One thing is for sure: The last waltz of Porsche in Sebring is bound to be the talk for a long time.