SEBRING, Fla.- The Heart of Racing Porsche drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Ian James (Phoenix) and Alex Riberas (Spain) will start fourth on the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship GTD class grid in Saturday's 64th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Driving the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche, Farnbacher turned the fastest time early in 15-minute qualifying session and looked poised to earn a pole position. But, the other ultra-competitive GTD class drivers had something to say about it before qualifying was over. In fact, Farnbacher had to push the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche to its limit and finally turned the fourth fastest lap of the session with a 2:03.037. He did it during his fourth trip around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit.
"The track was really greasy out there compared to the practice session earlier in the day," Farnbacher said after qualifying. "The car changed again. I think we took some small steps in the wrong direction with the car set-up. But, we are the fastest Porsche. I think there's a little bit more potential in the car."
Farnbacher, James and Riberas are the defending GTD class race winners from a year ago at Sebring. Last year's win gave Alex Job Racing its 10th career Sebring win.
"Tomorrow, our main goal is to stay out of trouble, fight hard over the final two hours with a good car and go for the win," Farnbacher said.
"Mario did a good job qualifying," team owner Alex Job said. "He was the top Porsche with P4 and had a very respectable time given the conditions at Sebring this afternoon. They [the conditions] were definitely different than the winter test. We're not surprised that the Ferrari and the Viper are in the 2:02's. We fully expected it. We would have like to have been in the high 2:02's, but that still wouldn't have gotten us the pole.
"You know, it's a 12 hour race. And, quite frankly, it really doesn't matter where you qualify. But, the fact that we were able to run those times, it is very encouraging. What we work on is being able run fast times consistently throughout the whole race - not just qualifying. So, the race is much more important to us."
The Heart of Racing accepts donations and pledges for Seattle Children's Hospital at teamseattle.com.
Follow the action from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring on IMSA.com, IMSA Radio and on television on March 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2, on March 17 at 12 a.m. on FOX Sports 1 continuing at 2 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.
The Heart of Racing
Founded in 1996, by Don and Donna Kitch, Team Seattle and The Heart of Racing is a group of sports car road racing fans, drivers, and corporate partners making a difference in our community by combining two passions: A love of motorsports and a commitment to Seattle Children's Hospital and pediatric cardiac health care nationally. The team uses the promotion and exposure of the racing program to fund raise and increase awareness of the financial needs for quality pediatric medical care. Since inception, Team Seattle has generated over $5.5 million for their cause. The Heart of Racing accepts donations and pledges for Seattle Children's Hospital at teamseattle.com.
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 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 five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin DB9, BMW M6, Viper SRT and Audi R8 LMS. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.