SEBRING, Florida – Determined to make it to the finish of one of the world’s toughest endurance races, the trio of David “CJ” Calvert-Jones, Lawson Aschenbach and Eric Curran placed eighth Saturday in the ALMS GTC class in the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida” in the No. 99 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.
Although both the Competition Motorsports team and drivers brought experience on Sebring International Raceway’s challenging airport road course to last weekend’s race, it was the group’s first time tackling the 12 Hour as a team.
“Running in the 12 Hours of Sebring has been a goal of mine, just like it is to go to Le Mans someday, and it was great to be able to check this one off the list this past weekend,” Calvert-Jones.
“This is a really tough race but we made it to the finish, which is no small feat at Sebring. I have give a huge thanks to the Competition Motorsports crew for working so tirelessly all week."
The No. 99 Porsche used at Sebring was the same car shipped to Australia and back less than a month ago to compete in the Bathurst 12 Hours, a race in CJ’s home country that was also on his “must do” list.
“I think we paid the price for taking the car to Australia for Bathurst,” Calvert-Jones said. “We came here with what we thought was a well-sorted out car, but tackling a pair of 12 hour races two worlds apart within a month took its toll.
The other GTC teams seemed to have an edge on us in overall pace and it is hard to make up for that at a place like Sebring.”
Endurance racing isn't always about the quickest car, however, and CJ, Aschenbach and Curran joined Competition Motorsports in throwing everything they had at the Sebring race.
That included Aschenbach’s “money-pass” for position on the last lap that put them in a race-high eighth place for the finish.
“First and foremost, I want to thank everybody on the Competition Motorsports crew,” Aschenbach said. “Everybody did a fantastic job and they were put through a lot this week. We did so many changes, and had to do so many things to the car and I really appreciate their work.
On top of that, I decided to name the car ‘Turtle,’ we did not win the race today, the ‘Hares’ won, but it is a good finish. The program came together pretty late, and the fact that we finished eighth, and considering it was Sebring, I think it is a great result overall. It was cool passing someone for eighth on the last lap and it is always great to fight to the end.”
Curran was a race-day replacement for original team driver Sascha Maassen. The accomplished and four-time Sebring GT class winner traveled all the way from Germany to race with the team only to miss the show after taking ill on Thursday.
“This was awesome and I wasn’t even expecting to be here this weekend,” Curran said. “I showed up Thursday and stopped in and said hello to a bunch of people, I am not that far from here over in Sarasota.
Lawson brought me over the meet the Competition Motorsports guys and they are a great group of guys working hard here on this Porsche.”
When Maassen was forced to step down, Curran – teammates with Aschenbach in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – was asked to step in.
“Unfortunately, Sascha was out with the flu and it gave me the ride,” Curran said. “I have done the 12 Hour a few years ago and it was fun to be back and racing with these guys.
We didn’t have the fastest car here today but we had a lot of fun and I just appreciate the opportunity.”