Event Preview: Wright Motorsports Returns to Defend Twelve Hours of Sebring Win
Porsche team to run five cars in three IMSA series at Florida Event
BATAVIA, Ohio, (March 16, 2021) – The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is just days away, and Porsche customer racing team Wright Motorsports has a busy race week in store. The team will field five entries between the four races of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge, and the new Porsche Carrera Cup North America, closing out the weekend with the 12-hour endurance racing fan-favorite event. Returning to defend their win of the headlining race, Wright Motorsports will be the team to watch this weekend.
“It has been an incredibly busy time for Wright Motorsports in preparation for this event, as well as our other programs,” said team owner John Wright. “We’ve been able to build some strong programs, and our new shop in Stuart, Florida has helped make the logistics of all these programs as smooth as possible. I’m proud of everyone on the team for getting us ready to not only resume our GTD and GT4 programs, but to also get everything ready for a three-car debut in the new Porsche Carrera Cup North America. I’m looking forward to getting the weekend started and fighting for the win in the Twelve Hour.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The driver lineup for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will look slightly different than originally announced at the beginning of the year, following Ryan Hardwick withdrawing from the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Involved in a heavy shunt during a Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session, Hardwick sat out of the remainder of the race weekend, nominating Trent Hindman to step into his spot. Hindman joined Patrick Long, Jan Heylen, Bachler, and together the group earned a fourth-place finish in the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Following the strong finish, Hardwick has elected to sit this second race weekend out, with every intention to resume driving duties at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 14-16.
“There is nothing that I want more than to get back in the driver’s seat after what was a disappointing early end to my Daytona race weekend,” said Hardwick. “I’ve been working diligently in physical and cognitive therapy sessions over the past several weeks and making great progress. It was a tough decision, but I’ve made the call to sit this next one out at Sebring. I’m glad that Trent is stepping in once again, and I know he gives our team the best shot at becoming back-to-back Twelve Hours of Sebring race winners. I am focused on being back in the race car with my Wright Motorsports team at Mid-Ohio, and going after the IMSA Sprint Championship this season.”
Hindman will again sub for Hardwick, joining full-season driver Patrick Long and endurance addition Jan Heylen. The trio will be tasked with defending the team’s 2020 win at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, held just four months ago. The Wright Motorsports 1st Phorm Porsche ran competitively for all twelve hours, even with a damaged left rear shock. The blue Porsche was in the right spot in the final laps of the race, ready to put in that final competitive edge when it counted. The team jumped from third to first in the final 10 minutes of the race, earning Wright Motorsports their first endurance victory, and Ryan Hardwick his first IMSA race win. Armed with a strong lineup, Wright Motorsports will prepare a strong defense to return to victory circle this weekend.
Watch live as the field takes the green flag live on Saturday, March 20 at 10:10AM Eastern on NBC Sports Network. Domestic fans can also watch flag-to-flag on the NBC SportsGold TrackPass app, and international fans can watch via imsa.tv, with additional audio coverage available worldwide from IMSA Radio.
Patrick Long | No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R
I love the challenge of Sebring. It has to be one of the most difficult tracks to pull a perfect lap together with bumps and varied surfaces from different decades. I believe the additional car count and influx of new drivers will bring a new tempo this year’s race, but in the end, it’s really you against the track. I am looking forward to getting back at it and trying to back up the team’s awesome 2020 victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Jan Heylen| No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R
We’re all excited to go back to Sebring to try to defend our win. The team has been hard at work and I feel confident that we will have a car to fight for the top step of the podium. I’m incredibly grateful to be here with Wright Motorsports, Patrick, Ryan, and all our partners who make this happen. We wish Ryan was in the car with us, but we’re also happy to welcome Trent back.
Trent Hindman | No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R
I’m incredibly fortunate to be back with Wright Motorsports in the 1st Phorm/Mountain Motorsports/Una Vida Tequila Porsche 911 GT3 R. Extraordinary circumstances in Daytona gave me a peek inside this team and I see why they’re the defending Twelve Hours of Sebring winners. Massive thank you goes to John Wright, Ryan Hardwick, and the entire Wright Motorsports team for their faith and trust in me to get the job done. Cannot wait to get back to work with these guys!
Michelin Pilot Challenge
The 2021 race season looked like it was off to a strong start for Wright Motorsports in the Michelin Pilot Challenge at Daytona International Speedway, but an incident in the second practice sidelined the team for the first race of the season. The team is back for round two, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, a two-hour race on Friday afternoon. Full-season driver Jan Heylen will be joined by Max Root, who just celebrated the GT World Challenge America Am championship title with Wright Motorsports last season. Root will replace Ryan Hardwick for this round only, as Hardwick shifts his focus to the next round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May. Heylen and Root, now a Porsche Junior Program driver, previously drove together in the 2020 Indianapolis 8 Hour, where the pair with Fred Poordad, secured a class victory in the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R. This weekend, the duo will race the No. 16 1st Phorm Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, which showed a strong performance in the season’s opening test, the Roar Before the 24.
The entry list for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 boasts a competitive field of 19 other GS class entries and 15 TC class entries. The field will take the green flag on Friday, March 19 at 2:25PM Eastern, and fans can watch the race live on IMSA.tv or the NBC SportsGold TrackPass app, with additional live coverage provided by IMSA Radio.
Jan Heylen | No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Unfortunately, we had to miss Daytona, but we’re excited to get the season going and hopefully score some good points towards our championship fight. We’re blessed to have Ryan and his partners as part of the team and their continued support, and I’m excited to getting back in the car with him at our next event. For Sebring, Max will be stepping in to replace Ryan. Max has been with Wright Motorsports for the last couple of years, so he was the obvious pick for the seat, and we know he will be a great fit with mega speed. I look forward to working with him and hopefully we’ll find ourselves in a place to fight for a podium.
Max Root | No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
I’m excited to be joining Wright Motorsports and their Michelin Pilot Challenge 1st Phorm GT4 program with Jan Heylen as my co-driver. Sebring is an amazing track for the Porsche. This is going to be a fantastic weekend I believe all the preparation that John and everyone at REI Motorsports has put into this program that's going to set us up for success. We are going to keep our heads down, we're going to respect the bumps, and I look forward to getting out there in my first GT4 race.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America
The newly-established Porsche Carrera Cup North America will begin its inaugural season this weekend at Sebring International Raceway in support of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Sanctioned by the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) and managed by Porsche Motorsport North America, the one-make series is scheduled to host 16 rounds at eight venues in North America, most often in support of the WeatherTech SportsCar championship. Two 45-minute races will take place each weekend, with drivers competing in three classes: Pro, Pro-Am, and Pro-Am 991. Wright Motorsports has joined the premier one-make series with three Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries, to be driven by John Goetz, Hutton McKenna, and Max Root.
The race weekend festivities will start with a 30-minute practice series on Wednesday, March 17, followed by qualifying the following afternoon. The new series will officially begin its season with race one on Thursday at 5:30PM ET, followed by race two on Friday morning at 10:10AM. Both races will stream live for free on imsa.tv. For additional information, visit imsa.com.
John Goetz | No. 57 Porsche GT3 Cup
I’m excited to join Wright team in the Carrera Cup inaugural season. It’s been over five years since I last raced with Wright. Frankly, I’ve missed being part of the tight ship they run. As a ‘gentleman driver’, I’m honored to be sharing the space with two exceptional young drivers that I can learn from and also be supported by an excellent crew. Sebring is a challenging track with a challenging field—all the better to be pushed hard.
Hutton McKenna | No. 88 Porsche GT3 Cup
I’m very excited to be racing with Wright Motorsports this season. The level of professionalism from this team is unparalleled, and I look forward to achieving great results with an amazing team behind me.
Max Root | No. 7 Porsche GT3 Cup
I’m extremely humbled to be joining the Moorespeed-Wright Motorsports collaboration in the inaugural season of the Carrera Cup North America in the Porsche Junior Program. This is an amazing opportunity, and I cannot wait to get down to Sebring, get my feet on the ground, and to really focus on the championship this year. It is an amazing driver field from all over the world, and to participate in such an amazing series as Carrera Cup with Carrera Cup Germany celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year. It is a really special thing to come to North America, and I can't think everyone with this program together enough. Let's do this.