SEBRING, Fla. - Team Seattle -The Heart of Racing will start from the front row in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD class Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.
Driving the No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche 911, Mario Farnbacher, of Ansbach, Germany, led most of the 15 minute GTD qualifying session. In fact, with a little more than a minute left, Farnbacher looked poised to capture the team's first pole of the season until the No. 33 Dodge Viper captured the top spot on the final lap. Farnbacher turned a fast lap of 2:03.538, which puts the team second on the GTD grid.
"I tried my best during qualifying," Farnbacher said. "It was a good run - P2. But, it's a long race. Our qualifying is not the race result. Twelve hours of Sebring is a hard race and we'll know more about how good we are at 10 [p.m.] tomorrow.
"It would mean a lot for me [to win this race]. I've not been in America very long and I am a young driver so it would be awesome to win it. It would also be great for the team. The team worked really hard last year and we had a few chances to win. But, we had some bad luck. This [a win] would be for the crew."
Teammate Ian James, of Phoenix, Ariz., likes how fast the car is compared to the competition.
"It [qualifying] just shows that the car is where it needs to be," James said. "It's only a tenth of a second off the pole. Mario did an amazing lap there. He was consistently faster than any other Porsche. We felt good all week. We had a great test two weeks ago. Mario and Alex are rock stars in the car and we want to get out there and fight for this thing."
Teammate Alex Riberas, Barcelona, Spain, is ready to get his first win with Team Seattle.
"The car is fast and consistent," Riberas said. "Mario did a great job. The guys did some great development on the car since Daytona. We had a great test, which helped us a lot. Now we are ready to win."
"Mario did a great job," Team Owner Alex Job said. "Phil Pierce (engineer) did a great job of setting the car up. He's been working real hard with it - from the testing we did here three weeks ago - up to now. He's definitely got the car dialed in. Mario has just been on fire. Even in the testing here, he was really quick. He came back and carried the speed over to qualifying. To get that close to the Viper, with the heat that's here today, it is pretty impressive."
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be televised in segments. FOX Sports 1 will air the race from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, March 21. FOX Sports 2 will take over the coverage from 12:30 - 7 p.m. IMSA.com will then have the call from 7 - 10 p.m. The race returns to FOX Sports 2 beginning at 10 p.m. through the race finish.
Team Seattle is accepting donations and pledges at teamseattle.com.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be televised in segments, Saturday, Mar. 21, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1; 12:30 - 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2; 7 - 10 p.m. on IMSA.com; 10 - 11 p.m. on FOX Sports 2.
Team Seattle is accepting donations and pledges at teamseattle.com .