Monterey, Calif. – May 12 – Armed with a new aerodynamic package for Round #3 of the 2012 American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a six-hour endure. the four Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries improved their performance, but bad luck near the end of the race prevented them from improving their final finishing positions.
Wolf Henzler (Germany), driving the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR he shares with Bryan Sellers (USA), led the GT class for several laps in the last hour as a result of six positions picked up on the field when the team took only fuel – no tires or driver change – on the last pit stop. But a combination of tire wear and contact from the other competitors pushed him back to seventh place in the end.
“When we left the pits, the performance was good, but then I started to lose grip. One Corvette passed me and I couldn’t follow him. And then I had a BMW, a Corvette and a BMW behind me. I could stay ahead of them, but then the BMW dove a little later into Turn 11, and I don’t think he had position to do so. He hit me on the left rear, just on the edge. I went sideways and lost grip, and had a bad exit. He passed me, then the Corvette and the other BMW passed me. I continued and I lost grip more and more. By this time I had almost a stint on them. I was fighting hard and the Ferrari was coming with fresh tires and the Lizard Porsche behind him. I was hit again on the left in the last turn,” said Henzler.
The #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) also made it to the top three late in the race after beating their competition out of the pits, but a stop-and-go penalty for an errant air hose which clipped the rear wing as the car left its pit box put the team out of contention for the win and a sixth place finish in GT.
“The aero package certainly has us headed in the right direction, and we could have been on the podium if it wasn’t for our bad luck with the air hose. Our crew was quick to get us out of the pits all day, and we were fast in most parts of the track,” said Bergmeister.
The #44 Flying Lizard car, with Seth Neiman (USA) and Marco Holzer (Germany) at the helm, was running in the top three early in the race, and Holzer was satisfied with the car’s performance.
“Seth and I both felt the improvement in performance from the new package, and we had the car well-placed in the standings at different times during the race,” said Holzer.
Holzer/Neiman finished ninth in class, while the Bryce Miller/Sascha Maassen Paul Miller Racing Porsche was tenth.
In the GTC class, all seven entries seemed to be in contention at one time or another during the event, but it was the TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Emilio Di Guida, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Bret Curtis that took the win. All three drivers celebrated the emotional win:
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#66-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) – 9th ALMS Win. “It’s nice to get a win in a car with different colors. This is getting harder and harder to win. You are getting a lot more cars out there with experience and a lot of great drivers. We didn’t have a lot of mistakes from the drivers and the teams, so it was just a good win and just great. I wasn’t worried when the sister car had troubles, usually the Porsches are so reliable so when one has a problem the chances of your car having the same are very, very low.”
Emilio Di Guida (#66-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) – First ALMS Win. “Really for me, traffic is really tough. I don’t have as much experience as these guys. I am happy to have these two team mates. It was a new experience and challenge, I am so happy. This is just my 5th race so first place is amazing”
Brett Curtis (#66-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) – First ALMS Win. “I think we just drove a really hard race, but conservative. The thing about Kevin Buckler and TRG is he wants you to push, but he also paces out the car. The strategy was really good, everyone was putting in solid laps, and the crew did a super-super job. It was the strategy from the get-go. Some teams might have been struggling but we kept on and took the win.”