Sebring, FL— The trio of drivers, Nick Boulle, Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey persevered alongside the hard-working engineers and mechanics behind the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3R to finish 6th in the GT Daytona class 12 Hours of Sebring.
The Park Place Motorsports team prepared hard for the daunting 2019 Advanced Auto Parts 12 Hours of Sebring. The legendary endurance classic marks the second-most prestigious race in North America behind the ROLEX 24 Hours and is the second round of IMSA’s Michelin Endurance Cup (IMEC).
Boulle was chosen to qualify the car, but the effort was hampered after issues popped up in Practice 4 that could not be resolved in time for the qualifying session that took place only 30 minutes after the session. The car would start in 13th position.
Round Two of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship presented many issues for the #73 de Boulle Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. The team faced twelve hours of unknown mechanical gremlins causing misfires in the engine and a diminished fuel load capacity that led to multiple additional pit stops. Despite this, Michelin Endurance Cup driver Boulle, Porsche Factory Driver Long and Team Principal Lindsey ignored the odds and delivered their unscathed Porsche to the finish line.
Heavy rain and treacherous conditions resulted in the race running under caution flags. After some time, the field was given the green flag to begin and since Boulle had qualified, he took the green flag for the team. Boulle took the car from 12th position to 5th prior to pitting and handing the car over to Long.
As Long took over, issues struck the #73 Porsche GT3R. Director of Race Operations, Mike Johnson, worked with Porsche Motorsports engineers digging through live engine and car data from the telemetry with Long giving feedback to diagnose a misfire issue. Eventually, the team realized nothing could be done while on track, so the decision was made to continue to the end and hope for the best.
Lindsey, who finished third in Friday’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring at midnight in the FIA World Endurance Championship, drove a majority of his stint under green. Though the mechanical issue never dissolved, it did subside slightly allowing the car to remain 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 due to their shortened fuel loads.
With 1 hour remaining, the team realized caution was needed to bunch the field and allow the trio of drivers to make up some positions. With Long in the car for the finish, a car went off course and stalled in the grass bringing out a full course caution.
After the caution was cleared, the race would go green for a fight to the finish over the last 7 minutes of the race. All of the cars in the field stacked up to take the restart and Long defied the odds to move the car from 8th position to 6th position thanks to an outstanding restart.
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.”
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de Boulle Motorsports is a living and moving illustration of the passion for excellence that de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry has for both jewelry & timepieces. de Boulle was established in 1983 by Denis and Karen Boulle, de Boulle has assembled an unrivaled collection of diamonds, fine jewelry and timepieces unsurpassed for its elegance and depth in selection. de Boulle has served thousands of discerning customers and built a reputation as one of the pre-eminent independently-owned jewelers in the United States. The Boulle’s have taken a continued interest in the community and currently supports a list of charitable causes. de Boulle is located in Dallas at 6821 Preston Rd. and in Houston’s River Oaks District at 4444 Westheimer Rd. For more information, visit deBoulle.com
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