WeatherTech Porsche Looking for Competitive GTC Race at Sebring
TAVARES, Fla. - Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Dion von Moltke are ready to take on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing GTC Porsche this Sat., Mar. 16.
The ALMS GTC Class for the identical Porsche 997 Cup car will witness the toughest group of cars in the class history for the 61st running of the classic Sebring 12 hours. With strong competition and a new crop of top driving talent the bar is high to take class honors in the 10-car field.
"We were able to take second place last year behind our team car. We are looking to take one more step up the podium this weekend," MacNeil said. "I really want that win. There's a special place in the history books for the drivers that win this race because it is the last ALMS Sebring 12 hours before the merger. We will do everything we can to win it. In order to win we will need to be on our A game. That means everyone: drivers, crew, engineers, everyone."
Bleekemolen has many fond memories of Sebring and is ready for the challenge of a very competitive GTC class.
"In 2011 I had a good race in LMP1 with Rebellion, and we finished close to the top," Bleekemolen said. "In the same race, my brother Sebastiaan won in GTC with Black Swan Racing, so that was a great week. But Sebring is always a great place to be. This race is also really big in Europe. A lot of European drivers, teams and car manufacturers come out here to battle with some of the best in the business. We all know how hard this track is on drivers and cars, so that makes it special. The track is very bumpy. That is the main difference compared to other tracks. Turns One and 17 are really challenging. Not just the bumps, but also no run off. So if you get it wrong, you get it wrong big time! We need to stay out of trouble to start with. But the tough competition this year in the ALMS GTC class also means you will have to be fast. It's going to be a great challenge for all of us. And I'm looking forward to that!"
Von Moltke comes in on a roll with endurance wins at last year's Sebring race (with AJR in GTC) and off of a big win at the Rolex 24 Hour in January, in the WeatherTech Audi R8, also with AJR.
"My best Sebring memory is absolutely crossing the finish line to give Alex Job his eighth Sebring 12 Hours win," von Moltke said. "He put a lot of trust into me as a driver to not only put me on the team with Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, but have me drive the final two stints of the race as well. Seeing the sheer joy on Alex's face with the team's one - two finish is something I will never forget. Winning any race is something extremely special, but to be able to win these two races (Daytona and Sebring) in the same year would be indescribable! The level of competition at these races is world class and it gets stronger and stronger every year. I know going in with Alex Job Racing, and with Cooper and Jeroen as my teammates we have as good a shot as anybody to challenge for a win. It's going to really come down to all of us on the team giving our absolute best performance possible for the entire 12 hours to have a shot at winning this race. Sebring is a very unique track and event. It's a really an "old school" track, not much has changed at this place in the last 61 years. The track is extremely bumpy and presents long straights as well as every different type of corner you will find in racing. It challenges the engineer to give the drivers a car that works the best over a complete lap and not necessarily one corner. It challenges the drivers to be able to adapt to changing conditions as well as get the best out of all 17 turns for 12 hours. It challenges the crew with a tight pit lane and a long event. It is mentally and physically very tough for every team member. It's a 12-hour sprint race, but you have to make sure you are hitting your marks and keeping it clean through traffic as the car has to be in great condition for the last two hours when the fight really starts."
Alex Job has his team coming back after finishing last year's race one - two.
"We have had a nice run over the past 10 months, winning Sebring in GTC last year and taking the GT Rolex watches at Daytona a little over a month ago. The GTC field is the best we have ever seen it. There are some top drivers and teams that have come into the series this year. Cooper, Jeroen and Dion are ready to put the work in to win. The overall field is large as well, which is always a challenge when you are in the slowest class. We have a trio of fast and smart drivers, which will be the key to performing well come Saturday."
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring can be viewed on Fox Sports Media television, Mar.16 at 10:30 a.m. EDT, live streaming is also available. Live streaming of qualifying can be viewed Mar.15 starting at 1:05 p.m. EDT at ALMS.com.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 68 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts eight Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.