Despite a seasoned Sebring race team with both Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey tracking multiple runs at this raceway, the course provided some uncharacteristic challenges during the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. This was the fifth year for Patrick Lindsey, 16 show at Sebring for Patrick Long, and Nick Boulle’s debut at Sebring’s Twelve Hour.
Round Two of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship presented many issues for the No. 73 de Boulle Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team faced twelve hours of unknown mechanical gremlins causing misfires in the engine and smaller fuel load capacities. However, endurance driver Nick Boulle, Porsche Factory Driver Patrick Long and Team Principal Patrick Lindsey bested the odds and delivered an unscathed Porsche and a sixth-place finish.
Prior to the race, the team’s drivers gave fans and track rats alike insights into their minds as Sebring approached. The Patrick’s of Park Place Racing gave us a couple different perspectives, priming fans for not just the race technique, but the historical significance behind Sebring Raceway.
“I love the history; the bumps have a lot of stories to tell but in its roots as World War II Airbase where they trained men and women who went overseas,” comments Lindsey, “For us, it’s a long time racing here. It’s my 7th year at IMSA and it’s our 5th year at Sebring in the twelve hour.”
Patrick Long, a well-known Porsche Factory driver and 16 time veteran at Sebring, shared his objectives for day to night race: “Survive the bumps, survive the heat, and be there at the end.”
Mechanical Issues: Still A Top 10 Finish
Lindsey, who finished third in Friday’s 1,000 of Sebring with the FIA World Endurance Championship, drove a majority of his Sebring Twelve Hours under green. Though the mechanical issue never fully dissolved, it did subside aiding in his ability to also keep the car within the top 10. The Park Place Motorsports drivers spent the majority of their race within the top of the field, only dropping out of it upon pit cycles.
The finale of the race brought the only other sense of fracas. With 15 minutes remaining a car went off course bringing out a long-desired caution. Having previously pitted for service, all teams were ready for a fight to the finish after being packed up for a restart. With seven minutes outstanding, the field received the green. Long defied all statistic measures making the jump from eighth to sixth where he would defend until the finish.
Patrick Lindsey, Team Principal and driver No. 73 de Boulle Porsche
“This was the longest Sebring weekend and the toughest Sebring weekend I’ve ever had,” Lindsey said. “At the same time, this was also one of the most rewarding. We don’t typically have the best finishes at Sebring. I think sixth is one of our highest finishes. That’s a testament to all the hard work this team is putting into our program. They’ve all taken ownership of their work and this team. We succeed and fail together. Right now, it feels like we’re only succeeding. We really pushed through some trials today and survived another wet race.”
Nick Boulle, Driver No. 73 de Boulle Porsche
This was my first time driving in the 12 Hours of Sebring, so it was very special to me,” Boulle said. “I was disappointed with my qualifying result, but thankfully we were able to resolve those issues before the race. Even in the rain, I could feel how much better the car was. I’m pretty confident in the wet, and we were able to gain a few positions at the start of the race, so that was exciting. My second stint was in the dry, and it was the best I felt in the car all weekend. The car was so drivable. The car was rewarding to drive, and you could trust it. I’m excited for the rest of the season and seeing what more we can do with the car.”
Patrick Long, Driver No. 73 de Boulle Porsche
“I was pleased with the balance of the car for the entire race,” Long said. “We unloaded really strong this weekend and went up from there. Unfortunately, we had a few unforeseen challenges in the race that meant we were offset with our strategy and had to take an extra stop at the end. This caused us to fall to the tail end of the lead lap, so I had to battle through the field after that restart with seven minutes remaining. We were able to pass a few cars and battle up to sixth. It’s ironic how racing is, somedays a sixth-place feels like a podium and tonight that was the case. I’m really proud of the Park Place Motorsport guys for sticking with it even when it didn’t look promising. They worked nonstop for twelve hours and never gave up.”
Next Up: Follow the series to Long Beach, California for Round Three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship April 12-13. Round Four reunites all four IMSA classes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 3-5. The event features a two hour and 40-minute sprint race and kicks off the GTD Sprint Championship. For a detailed schedule visit http://imsa.com.