P6 at Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

March 17, 2019

Park Place Motorsports persevered through an uncharacteristically green Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advanced Auto Parts to finish sixth in the GT Daytona class.

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.

A rainy, yellow start gave way to a rush of mayhem an hour into the race. Boulle, who qualified and began the race, stayed steady in the rain and took the No. 73 Porsche from 12th to fifth in the GTD field before handing it off to Long. Long maintained a hurried pace while diagnosing the mechanical issue the team began facing. Director of Race Operations Mike Johnson worked on nursing and controlling the problem from the pit stand.

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.”

Mike Johnson, Director of Race Operations

“I’m very pleased with our overall Florida result,” Johnson said. “We’re walking away from the thirty-six hours of Sebring with a sixth and a seventh and no damage to the car. Considering it’s a brand-new car and a lot of new people on the team we’re really happy. We expected today to go almost exactly how it did. We knew that we would likely struggle during the middle of the day but would have a good car at night.

 “Unfortunately, we were bitten by an engine misfire through the first half of the race that miraculously fixed itself. More notably we were able to pit every twenty-seventh lap until around the seven-hour mark when something happened within our fuel cell that decreased this time to twenty-four laps. This caused us issues at the end because we had to take one more pit stop than our competitors which shuffled us to the back. We were lucky with a last-minute yellow which allowed Pat (Long) to battle up to sixth. All in all, the team is happy, and we’ve gained good points.”

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.”