Tudor USCC: 12 Hours of Sebring preview

From one historic race to another, the gruelling 12 Hours of Sebring marks round two of the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship after the season got underway at the 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of January.

After taking victory in the team’s debut race, Porsche North America Racing head further south into Florida with similarly high hopes of success at the incredibly bumpy Sebring International Raceway.

At the Sebring Winter Test 20-21 February the two factory Porsche 911 RSRs once again set the pace on both day one and day two of testing. The #911 and #912 machines were the only GTLM-class racers to lap the 3.74-mile circuit in under two minutes, with best times of 1m59.395s and 1m59.867s respectively.

Porsche took a 1-2 in the Sebring Winter Tests in February.
Porsche took a 1-2 in the Sebring Winter Tests in February.

That put the Daytona-winning #911 RSR, with Patrick Pilet at the wheel, over a second ahead of the #93 SRT Viper that had proved so quick in the early stages of round one.

A similarly successful private test (where Total 911 columnist, Nick Tandy joined in the action) at the tarmac and concrete-paved Sebring circuit last week has left the entire works Porsche team buoyed ahead of another intense weekend of competition.

Brought in to the Porsche North America Racing for the four USCC enduros, Jörg Bergmeister believes the 911 RSR is in with a good chance of taking Porsche to victory lane again:

At their private test last week, Porsche North America Racing ran in the same livery as their European counterparts.
At their private test last week, Porsche North America Racing ran in the same livery as their European counterparts.

“Sebring is one of the real classics. It’s a very special race on a very special circuit. Despite the tough competition, I think we will have a good chance to win,” the German racer explained.

The two successful tests at the old airfield circuit have also instilled confidence in #911 driver, Tandy who could become one of the first drivers ever to hold the Petit Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring titles with victory this weekend.

Despite this, talking to Total 911, he is naturally cautious with Porsche being in such a strong championship position heading into round two. “Before Daytona, we wanted to win Daytona and get into the lead of the championship,” explained the Briton. “Now, we’ve got big points, we’re leading the championship, we can’t afford to risk a non-score.”

Team Falken return to action with the squad's new 991 RSR making its debut at Sebring.
Team Falken return to action with the squad’s new 991 RSR making its debut at Sebring.
United SportsCar Championship GTLM Standings after round one

Pos. Team Points
1 #911 Porsche North America Racing 36
2 #55 BMW Team RLL 33
3 #91 SRT Motorsports 31
4 #56 BMW Team RLL 29
5 #4 Corvette Racing 27
9 #912 Porsche North America Racing 23

As well as the two Porsche North America Racing 911 RSRs, Sebring will mark the debut of the first customer 991 race car, with Team Falken entering their new 2014-spec 911 RSR.

With long-term drivers Wolf Henzler and Brian Sellers at the wheel, along with the factory-contracted, Marco Holzer, the distinctive teal and blue 911 showed good pace in the Winter Tests and could be a threat for the podium.

The first practice session gets underway today at 9:55am Eastern Time (1:55pm GMT), with GTLM qualifying taking place at 4:30pm ET (8:30pm GMT) tomorrow. The 12 Hours itself gets the green flag at 10:15am ET (2:15pm GMT) on Saturday 15 March. As ever, Total 911 will bring you comprehensive coverage and you can follow the live timing in IMSA’s website.

The #912 crew will be hoping for a good finish after retiring from round one at Daytona.
The #912 crew will be hoping for a good finish after retiring from round one at Daytona.

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