2012 saw a very happy team take first place at the chequered flag in the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. This was a great achievement for the whole team bringing many firsts, including the first win for a local UAE resident. Khaled Al Qubaisi will return to this two-car line up to fight to make it a double. For AMG it was the first win in a 24-hour event with their first GT3 car, the mighty SLS and even more poignantly the win was the first in any 24-hour event since 1989 for the Mercedes brand! Khaled will return to defend his title along with his world-class teammates Jeroen Bleekemolen and Sean Edwards, the driver line up being completed by 5 times DTM champion Bernd Schneider. A prospect the whole team is very excited by. As yet the full driver line up on the second car is to be confirmed.
It has been a turbulent year for the Black Falcon team and for the SLS in all competitions, though the car continues to prove its strength and reliability as well as its balance and pace. It remains the car to beat and a benchmark for GT3 racing.
After a strong race program 2012 beginning with 24h Dubai, continuing with 12h Bathurst, followed by several VLN races, the Blancpain Endurance Series and 24h Nürburgring and Spa, Team Black Falcon is confident for the coming motorsport season 2013.
Team manager Sean Paul Breslin comments:
“2013 sees a different race in Dubai than previous years. Teams will have the opportunity to run without time restrictions, though if they choose this route, there are other penalties such as weight and a reduced fuel range to think of. It is going to be interesting and we are very confident to have one of the strongest teams in the field.”
No way will this edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans be anything but a pure mythical endurance event. Looking back at the overall rankings various teams played up front. ProSpeed Competition was in a way part and parcel of this. When the team asked their drivers to go into “full attack”, their Porsche Spectra Resources-Saudi Sports Group had already experienced flats, the equivalent of six laps. Here we weren’t talking about tenths of seconds of the qualifying sessions, neither of the “leadership” in the LM GTE Am category at the beginning of the race. Unfortunately Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Bret Curtis and Sean Edwards did not cross the finish line. The Porsche #75 crashed and was severely damaged.
Rudi Penders (Team principal)
“The start of the race soon turned into a nightmare, dropping the team from almost the first spot back down into the last in its category. As night fell we asked our drivers to do everything in their power… to bring the car back up into the place it rightfully deserved. And they achieved this. In fact brilliantly, because we were then up in fifth place… of this category, the second best filled category in this event. Going off track is a mistake we understand. ProSpeed Competition has now been present for the third consecutive time at Le Mans, and this is the first time that we have not reached the finish.”
Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA – 4th June 1983 – 2nd participation)
“I was at one with the car. We managed to truly fine-tune the car with our technical team. Not only was the car performing brilliantly, but on top of that very comfortable to drive. Sean has just completed a double stint, bringing the car up from eighth into sixth spot. When it happened we were actually up in fifth place. Just as dawn breaks the track evolves and changes. There is loads of debris lying around the track. I’m truly sorry not only for my team-mates but also the entire team.”
Bret Curtis (USA – 13th December 1966 – 1st participation)
“Unfortunately it all came to an end rather too soon, but all in all it has been a great event. Not only did I discover a mythical race but also thoroughly appreciated the on- going attention from the Porsche Motorsport and Michelin Competition technicians. The links that ProSpeed Competition enjoys with its technical partners is on a level with the links that Rudi Penders and Luc Goris were able to develop amongst ourselves, the three drivers.”
Sean Edwards (GBR – 6th December 1986 – 1st participation)
“As professional drivers, we know the in-and-outs of motorsport. Retirement is always on the books. Unfortunately in our case it rather overshadowed the team’s overall performance, on the technical front, that was on true topper. Our Porsche actually led the race! It was the flint chips that caused our flat tyres. As for the broken bearing which cost us also some laps, it might well be due to an eventual shock or other.”
Present for the third consecutive year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ProSpeed Competition confirms its international line-up. This Belgian team, elected “Best Technical Assistance -Escra Prize” during the 2011 edition, reveals its latest ambitions. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR #75, in the hands of three Porsche specialists, are out to claim a top classification in the LM GTE AM category, the second most represented category in the field. Alongside the fast Saudi Adbulaziz Al Faisal, already seen in action last year at Le Mans, ProSpeed Competition welcomes the American Bret Curtis and the speedy Sean Edwards. This Brit, a true ace of the Porsche SuperCup, had previously teamed up with the ProSpeed Competition squad during some of the European FIA GT2 Championship meetings…
Rudi Penders (Team Principal): “ProSpeed Competition discovered the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 2010, finishing the event as first “100% private” team. Last year the iBird impressed and awaken everyone’s spirits, a well as the quality of our technical support during the “pit stops”. Our objective in 2012 is to cross the finishing line for the third consecutive time and to continue to progress. A podium in the LM GTE AM class? Yes, we’ll be doing everything to achieve that.”
Abdulaziz Al Faisal (UAE – 4th June 1983 – 2nd participation): Racing is an activity that Abdulaziz Al Faisal takes very seriously. In 2011, he joined the RedBull Athlete Team to test the RedBull F1 simulator at Milton Keynes. Back in the Middle East his driving skills are renowned and feared. Amongst his record of achievements; two crowns in the Porsche Carrera Cup Middle East (2010 and 2012), two podiums in the 24 Hours of Dubai … not forgetting his earlier debut in Formula BMW (3e – 2007). Present last year in the European FIA GT3 Championship (BMW), he is the ideal ambassador for his country, Saudi Arabia. He first appeared at the Le Mans event back in 2011, and on that occasion already behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Bret Curtis (USA – 13th December 1966 – 1st participation): Born in Valencia, Pennsylvania, Bret Curtis is a businessman very much at home in the motorsport world. Founder of Spectra Resources (2002) and United Steel Supply (2007), he has been enjoying his passion since 2009 (Imsa GT3 Cup). Following a season in ALMS (2010) at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3, he decided in 2011 to compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona (Porsche), the 12 Hours of Sebring (Porsche) and the 24 Hours of Spa (Mercedes). At the beginning of this year he was to be seen at the start of the 12 Hours of Sebring (Lola B11-Honda).
Sean Edwards (GB – 6th December 1986 – 1st participation): Karting as from the age of 11 years, followed by Formula Ford UK (5th) and Formula Renault UK (5th), Sean Edwards swiftly turned his talents to the GT world, winning the European FIA GT3 Championship (2006). This young man is presently competing in the Porsche SuperCup… held during the F1 Grand Prix. Here he has accumulated “pole positions”, podiums and victories! He is also active in GrandAm (Porsche) and recently clinched victory in the 24 Hours of Dubai (Mercedes). Cinema aficionados will undoubtedly recognise him in Ron Howard’s film, “Rush”. He will be playing the part of his father, the racing driver Guy Edwards, caught up in the battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 F1 season.
The MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche co-driven by Sean Edwards, Henrique Cisneros and Carlos Kauffmann led the GTC class of the 60th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring for a very extensive period and it was looking like the MOMO Porsche was the car to beat at the end. Unfortunately the gods of racing were not with the #30 NGT Motorsport team and its drivers tonight and at 7:00 PM, three and a half hours before the end of the race, the MOMO car was involved in an accident that ended its chance of winning this historic event.
Henrique Cisneros was driving the car at the time in second place in the GTC class and was well on his way to another great stint until he approached turn 13. Suddenly the throttle cable got stuck and Henrique went straight into the tire wall.
It was a very violent impact but luckily Henrique Cisneros was unhurt and came out of the car on his own. The #30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche car was brought back to the garage on the flat bed and the crew started to work on the very badly broken car. Ten minutes after starting the repair, the decision was made to retire the car since the damage was too extensive to return to the race.
Henrique Cisneros came back to the team transporter and explained to his crew the real cause of the accident. He was of course very disappointed since he knew he had a potential winning car. He also explained that there was nothing he could have done to avoid the accident.
Henrique Cisneros, Carlos Kauffmann and Sean Edwards raced together here at Sebring last year and finished third in the GTC class. This year they all wanted to win this 60th anniversary race and their MOMO NGT Motorsport team led by Ramez Wahab really prepared a great car for this unique endurance event. The crew was also disappointed especially after leading the race for so long.
Carlos Kauffmann was ready for his last stint of the day when the accident happened. Kaufmann, like Cisneros, did a great job today and Carlos was also disappointed but knew that his teammate could not avoid that crash.
Sean Edwards did a fabulous job today proving once again that he is one of the top drivers of his generation. After scoring the GTC pole position yesterday, the driver from England had a very good first stint and led the race multiple times. Each time he was in the car he was showing his determination and ambition to win that race. Edwards was scheduled to drive the last stint of the day and he, like his two teammates, wanted to spray the Champagne at the end of the day on top of the podium like the MOMO car did 14 years ago at Sebring.
The #30 MOMO NGT Porsche finished 9th in the GTC class today. The other NGT Motorsport Porsche had a shot at a GTC podium finish tonight but an accident also ended its chance. The #031 NGT Porsche finished 8th.
Fourteen years ago, the #30 MOMO racecar, driven by Mauro Baldi crossed the 1998 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring finish line in first place. This historic victory was part of the North American endurance racing Triple Crown that saw MOMO’s co-drivers Gianpiero Moretti, Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi win three of the most recognized endurance races in the world, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, all in the same year.
Earlier this year, the world of auto racing lost one of its most popular stars: Gianpiero Moretti, the man who founded MOMO and helped define the term “gentleman racer,” passed away at the age of 71 in Milan, Italy.
After making a noticeable North American auto racing comeback at the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona with NGT Motorsport, MOMO is pleased to announce that the Italian company will sponsor the #30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the GTC class of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
“Momo is thrilled to once again be part of the historic Twelve Hours of Sebring event,” announced Marc Phaneuf, General Manager for MOMO Automotive Accessories Inc. “MOMO is synonymous with racing and the Twelve Hours of Sebring and the American Le Mans Series are the perfect testing grounds, ideal for current and future development. Driver safety, and driver comfort is our first priority and our upcoming ALMS racing program will provide optimal driver feedback for current and future development. The driver feedback translates to product development and will funnel its way down to our retail customers giving them the chance to drive with the best safety products available” added Marc Phaneuf.
“MOMO was a celebrated and iconic racing brand in the 1990s. The company founder was a highly respected and fierce competitor, making our entry to the American Le Mans Series very special. The #30 colors and livery pay a great tribute to the 1998 Sebring winning car of Mr. Moretti”.
The #30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup will be driven at the 60th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida by Henrique Cisneros and Carlos Kauffmann from Venezuela and Sean Edwards from England. The same trio of drivers competed with NGT Motorsport in the Twelve Hours of Sebring last year and finished third in the GTC class for their first race together, a performance that did not go unnoticed.
MOMO selected one of the top North American Porsche teams, NGT Motorsport to represent the iconic brand for its 2012 American Le Mans Series program. Founded in 2004 by Ramez Wahab, NGT Motorsport won the 2011 IMSA GT3 team and driver Cup Challenge with Henrique Cisneros.
“MOMO NGT Motorsport is expecting to exceed its 2011 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring performance this year, especially with such a great sponsor as MOMO backing us up,” announced Ramez Wahab. “The MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche led the majority of the Twelve Hours of Sebring last year before finishing third and scoring the class track record in the race.”
In addition to the #30 MOMO Porsche 997 GT3 Cup entry in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, NGT Motorsport will enter a second Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the GTC class, the #031 to be driven by Angel Andres Benitez Jr. and Angel Rafael Benitez Sr. from Venezuela and Nicki Thiim from Denmark. NGT Motorsport will also enter three cars in the 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup.
MOMO NGT Motorsport and its three drivers will participate in the test days to prepare for the 12 hour race on Monday and Tuesday, March 12-13 at Sebring International Raceway.
2011 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Champion Henrique Cisneros is excited to return to Sebring after his great success last year. “The Twelve Hours of Sebring is the most challenging race of the year,” stated Henrique Cisneros. “I am excited to be back with MOMO NGT Motorsport with the same driver line up as last year, where we earned a third place podium finish. After another year of experience under our belts, we expect to win this prestigious event this year.”
2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Vice-Champion Sean Edwards is eager to get back to America to race on the legendary Florida racetrack where he almost won last year. “It’s great to be back racing the iconic MOMO NGT Porsche again,” said Sean Edwards. “The Twelve Hours of Sebring is an amazing race, we finished 3rd there last year and definitely have unfinished business, so we are aiming for the win. The GTC category looks very competitive, but we have a strong team and driver lineup for the race and will be going flat out all the way.”
Multiple IMSA GT3 Cup race winner and pole award winner Carlos Kauffmann is also looking to join his former 2011 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring teammates and hopefully share a win with them this year. “Being able to compete in this iconic race where we finished 3rd last year is awesome,” said Carlos Kauffmann. “Racing in the Twelve Hours of Sebring with a MOMO sponsored racecar is spectacular. I really want to enjoy the ride and help my teammates take our MOMO Porsche to the highest possible finish.”
In an effort to create an exciting “MOMO racing moment” for the thousands of fans that will gather at Sebring International Raceway, MOMO was able to secure at Sebring one of the former MOMO Ferrari 333SP prototypes raced by the late Gianpiero Moretti and Didier Theys. The two MOMO cars will be on display at the MOMO NGT Motorsport transporter during the ALMS driver’s autograph session Friday, March 16 at noon.
The 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón begins with the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday on March 17. The race, set for 10:30 a.m. ET and will be broadcast March 18 on ABC and shown live on ESPN3 and ALMS.com.
Follow the MOMO NGT Motorsport throughout the 2012 12 Hours of Sebring event and the ALMS season on Facebook.com/MomoMotorsport and on Twitter @MomoMotorsport