Porsche Penske Motorsport Suffers Late Heartbreak in Sebring 12 hours

March 19, 2023

  • Both Porsche 963s come back from multiple laps down
  • No. 6 leads late in the race hoping for win
  • Both cars taken out in accident under 20 minutes to go

Porsche Penske Motorsport race for the lead nearly until the end of the 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday at Sebring International Raceway before a late crash took out both 963s from race-winning contention.

The second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resulted in heartbreak for Porsche Penske Motorsport. Both Porsche 963 were eliminated in a caution with less than 20 minutes to go while running first and third. Despite the accident, the No. 6 Porsche 963 was still able to finish third in class and grab Porsche Penske Motorsport IMSA podium.

The 12-hour race was a roller coaster ride for both Porsche 963. The No. 6 lost a lap just a few hours into the race when smoke developed in the cockpit, bringing Nick Tandy into the pits. The crew serviced the car and concluded the issue wasn't anything to be worried about and sent him back out. Just a short time later, the No. 7 fell off the lead lap with a suspension issue. 

Fortunately, both problems in the first half of the race were rectified. The fast pace of the Porsche 963, along with sound strategy and fast pit stops, allowed both cars to get back on the lead lap during a wave-around caution period.

The No.6 ran into more problems just after the seven-hour mark, when Dane Cameron was hit from behind under caution while running third. This forced him to come to the pits to change a rear wing and ultimately losing all of his track position. At the same time, the No. 7 jumped to second and began chasing down the leaders. 

With just under an hour remaining in the event, Mathieu Jaminet, driving the No. 6, and Felipe Nasr, driving the No. 7, found themselves running first and third respectively as the 12-hour race wound to a conclusion. After an intense battle at the front with the No. 10 Acura, contact was made between the two leaders resulting in a crash that took out both Jaminet and Nasr. 

Due to high attrition amongst the GTP field, the No. 6 was still able to finish on the podium, earning Porsche Penske Motorsport their first top-3 of the season.

Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director, Porsche Penske Motorsport: "Obviously it was a long day for the team. I think we fought back a lot of adversity and we had some operational things we need to clean up. But the team came back from two laps down and both cars were fighting for the podium there at the end. I think we saw good hard racing with Mathieu there, ultimately ended up in a crash that none of us wanted. But it was good to see the team see the fruits of our labour and see the performance be there and be fighting for the Sebring 12 Hours.“

The next race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series is the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14-15 on the Long Beach Street Circuit. 

Driver Quotes
Nick Tandy (Porsche 963 #6): "I think the worst part for me is you see the heartbreak on everybody's face in the team you know. If we didn't care so much about the result it wouldn't mean anything so to see so much passion and commitment in everyone in this team to fight for 11 hours and 50 minutes through all the setbacks we've had all day to get to the front is a true testament to what this team has become. The incident is what it is. These things happen in racing. But I mean overall it's just heartbreaking to know that we had a chance, but we'll have other chances that's for sure. We'll come back and win one at some point."

Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): "Yeah, big shame to end the weekend like that unfortunately two cars could have been on the podium then both cars were involved in an accident with 25 minutes to go. Really unfortunate. Nevertheless, I think we showed that we have the potential this weekend especially late in the race and we'll have to come back and try in Long Beach."

The next race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series is the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14-15 on the Long Beach Street Circuit.