Sebring: Farnbacher Loles race report

Farnbacher Loles RSR Fourth at Sebring 12 Hour Sebring Florida is a sportscar Mecca. Drawing an international whose-who of teams and drivers, the annual 12 Hour endurance race held in mid-March draws a huge and colorful crowd while showcasing...

Farnbacher Loles RSR Fourth at Sebring 12 Hour

Sebring Florida is a sportscar Mecca. Drawing an international whose-who of teams and drivers, the annual 12 Hour endurance race held in mid-March draws a huge and colorful crowd while showcasing the latest motorsports efforts from some of the world's greatest automotive manufacturers. The event kicks off the season for the American LeMans series. With an entirely new Porsche RSR based on the 997 platform, the Farnbacher Loles Racing team journeyed to Sebring to compete in the ultra-competitive GT2 Class.

The 997 RSR is more than an update of its highly successful predecessor. The car is completely new and touts a chassis that is 10% stiffer with a wider track while engine displacement has been increased from 3.6 to 3.8 liters. At Sebring, the RSR was making its North American racing debut so expectations for success were realistic especially considering the competition included the proven Ferraris and Panoz racers.

The Farnbacher Loles driver line-up had experience and speed. Car owner Pierre Ehret is a veteran endurance racer and has been on podiums on both sides of the Atlantic. Lars Erik Nielsen is another experienced veteran who often drives with Pierre. The two drivers teamed with Dominik Farnbacher in 2006 at the 24 Hours of LeMans and finished on the podium in second after leading a dominant portion of the race. Joining the two racers at Sebring, was Farnbacher Loles driver Dirk Werner. In Dirk's short career he has racked up an impressive resume in both sprint and endurance races including winning the 2007 24 Hours of Dubai.

While there was potential for rain for Thursday's qualifying, the session ended before the rains hit. Despite limited experience on the 3.7 mile Sebring circuit, Dirk posted a time of 2:04.564 in the #85 Flamingo Resort/One and Only Resorts Porsche 997 RSR which was good enough for seventh on the grid. In Thursday's damp night practice, Lars took the wheel and posted the fastest time of any GT2 Class car. Proving to be a true rain meister, Lars' 2:18.30 on slicks in the wet was even faster than the GT1 entries!

In the race, the RSR ran nearly flawlessly on its Yokohama Advan racing tires with only a broken tie-rod slowing the three drivers as they worked their way through the field. While the #85 avoided drama, the GT2 finish turned out to be the closest in the long history of the event with a front straight drag race determining the winner. The Farnbacher Loles fourth place finish was a phenomenal achievement for the team and the drivers. There were happy faces and high fives in the team pits as the long day of racing came to an end. Farnbacher Loles team owner Gregory Loles was jubilant. "We are very thrilled with this result especially considering our limited testing time with the car. We worked hard and the entire team deserves credit for this. The car was great. Porsche should be commended for getting the new RSR right straight out of the box. We are planning on doing some more ALMS races this year and we will be announcing those dates and drivers soon."

-credit: fl

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Pierre Ehret , Lars Erik Nielsen , Dominik Farnbacher , Dirk Werner