A last lap misstep by another GTC team afforded the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport team of Henrique Cisneros, Sean Edwards and Marco Seefreed to collect a podium finish in the 61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race.
The sister car, the No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche, led the GTC class for a couple of hours before a small problem with the brake light derailed their chance at a podium. Kuba Giermaziak, Carlos Gomex and Mario Farnbacher were the pilots of that entry.
The podium result for the No. 30 MOMO car puts them on a good track in the GTC championship with a third place standing in the points championship
Henrique Cisneros, MOMO owner/driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports Porsche GT3, who drove a double stint: “What a fantastic finish! We knew we didn’t have the car to go for the win but we were hopeful for a podium.
The team did a fantastic job on the pit stops all day. For overall time, I think we were the second or third team with the least amount of time in the pits. We were very consistent and the team did a great job.
In the end during the last hour we always said we need a little luck on our side to be able to make it to the podium and luckily, with literally three corners to go, the third place car had a problem.
I think they ran out of fuel, and we passed them on the very last lap. Obviously luck was on our side. We couldn’t have asked for a better finish. We’re proud of the work everyone did and all the other drivers. We’re leaving with a very happy third place.”
I think it took the whole front bumper off and they didn’t even get a penalty for it which really ruined out race. Then on the last lap, I was cruising around and I saw a GTC car struggling out there so I dropped it down a gear and started pushing it.
It was the third place car. I managed to get by him with two corners to go. It was a great end to a not so good race but we’ll definitely take it for the podium. Everyone did an amazing job. Congratulations to the whole team.”
Marco Seefried, driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports GTC class and Sebring rookie: “It was a very surprising race to the very end. I think the TRG #66 car ran out of fuel on the last lap. We got some luck at the end because previously we were unlucky.
I’m really happy with the podium. That’s a good result. I’m proud to be here, my first time and a podium. Thanks to NGT, thanks to MOMO and thanks to Porsche. It was really a great race and a great experience.
Kuba Giermaziak, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class: “Our race was going well at the beginning. We had to struggle because we started from the back. We got back to Top 3. First we lost the lights during the day.
We don’t know how it happened, but it just fell off, probably from the vibration. Then Carlos (Gomez) got hit from the back. Luckily, we managed to fix the car under yellow.
We put the light in and fixed the rear bumper so we were sure everything was okay, but we didn’t have the brake light. We had to stop again to fix it. We were leading the race quite easily with about an eight second gap.
The crew tried to fix the light and they managed. Unfortunately, it took over 10 laps because of how they had to fix the wiring. At least we got a podium on the second car.
We should be happy for that because they drove much of the race without the front splitter, which is difficult to drive so they did a great job. This is a good finish for them for the season. For us, I think we will come back here next year and try to win it again.”
Mario Farnbacher, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class and Sebring rookie: “We were leading three quarters through the race. We had a problem with the rear light and had to pit to fix it which cost us 12 laps.
It was not possible to get those laps back. It was a tough race. I think the team did a good job. Maybe at Petit we will do better and we finish on the podium.”
Carlos Gomez, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class: “It has been a great experience. Obviously with what was going on in the ninth hour when we were leading the race, this is not the result we expected with that performance.
The guys did a great job in pit lane, as did my co-drivers. A little part, the brake pedal sensor, is what took us out of the race. It took the guys 30 minutes on pit lane to find and solve the problem.
Who would have thought it was that. But that’s how it is. Sometime you need a little bit of luck to win this race and we didn’t have it today.
The next race for the No. 30 MOMO NGT Porsche GTC of Henrique Cisneros and Sean Edwards will be Round 2 for the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race on April 19-20.
The iconic brand of MOMO is increasing its commitment to racing in 2013 with a presence in many racing series across the globe.
In the U.S., MOMO will launch a two-car assault in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at the 12 Hours of Sebring with two Porsche GT3 cars in the GTC class. The legendary No. 30 MOMO-liveried car will feature MOMO owner/driver Henrique Cisneros, Brit Sean Edwards and German Christian Englehart. The No. 31 MOMO-liveried entry has drivers Kuba Giermaziak, Mario Farnbacher and Carlos Gomez. Both cars will be expertly prepared by NGT Motorsports. The No. 30 entry will be a full-season ALMS effort with Cisneros and Edwards.
The MOMO flag will also be flown on no less than seven Porsche GT3 Cup cars, all under the NGT Motorsports stable. The cars are all competing at Sebring in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama race as follows: No. 23 Ary Krau, No. 24 Mark Llano, No. 25 Angel Benitez, No. 26 Carlos Gomez, No. 27 Daniel Duerson, No. 28 Amadeo Quiros and No. 29 Eduardo Cisneros.
Additionally, MOMO is supporting Dominican driver RJ Lopez in the Gold class of the Porsche IMSA GT3 Cup and Alexis van de Poele in the IMSA Lites L1 class events, both entered at Sebring by ANSA Motorsports. RJ Lopez is a former Dominican Republic GT champion and runner-up in the 2010 Trans Am series. Alexis van de Poele is the son of the great Eric van de Poele; a two-time 12 Hours of Sebring, three-time 24 Hours of Daytona and five-time 24 Hours of Spa winner. Eric will be present at Sebring and provide his son Alexis with precious parental advice!
Finally, MOMO will expand to Europe this year with the sponsorship of a two entries program in the Porsche Supercup and one Audi R8 in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) GTC class, both racing under the new MOMO-Megatron Racing banner. MOMO will be announcing in the very near future its full driver line-ups for these two programs.
“The new MOMO owners are clearly very familiar with MOMO’s racing heritage and they share founder Gianpiero Moretti’s racing ‘DNA’ in their passion for the brand combined with their active participation in motorsports,” said MOMO’s CEO Massimo Ciocca. “Times have changed, but for now, we have gone back to our IMSA roots through our entry in the GTC category in the ALMS, with the red and yellow color scheme that reminds the fans of the iconic MOMO colors, upgraded with 21st century graphic design technology with chrome paints and fluorescent lines. For 2013 we have also expanded to additional series such as IMSA Lites in the US, the Porsche Supercup with the brand new Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car, and the ELMS with an Audi R8, to further highlight and increase the footprint of the popular MOMO brand. Needless to say, MOMO is definitely back to professional racing and we look forward to what the future holds for the company.”
The historic 12 Hours of Sebring race will be held on Saturday, March 16.
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
NGT Motorsport came back from a weekend seemingly filled with adversity to earn a hard-fought third place in the Grand Touring Challenge (GTC) class in the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America, Round Six of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
Porsche Carrera Cup point leader Sean Edwards shared driving duties during the four hour endurance event with IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama standouts Henrique Cisneros and Carlos Kauffmann, taking the #30 NGT Porsche from its last place starting position to first at the white flag, as the team gambled on fuel strategy in an attempt to earn their first ALMS victory. In the end, NGT duplicated their maiden effort at Sebring with a third place finish.
The NGT Porsche had its share of difficulties in the Thursday afternoon and Friday practice, including breakages to the damper and the drive shaft. Edwards put the car on the pole and posting a new track record, but lost the time due to a rule that requires all three drivers have stints in the car during official sessions. Instead of starting from the front of the GTC pack, NGT would start from the back, 9th in class and 35th overall.
Carlos Kauffmann, who had only seen action in the car during the morning warm up, started the event and had his share of adventures on the race’s first lap.
“I had an awesome start and got up to fourth,” said Kauffmann, “but I got tapped by another car on the back straight, flat spotted the tire and went back to sixth – the third time this weekend that I’ve been hit on the back straight! I had a bad vibration in the car since the tire was damaged, but I got back up to third and spun by myself in 13, then got hit by the Ferrari in 13 late in the stint, which knocked my right mirror off.”
Kauffmann had the NGT Porsche back up to fifth position in class when he came in for tires and fuel on lap 35. Cisneros, the IMSA GT3 Platinum Cup class point leader, took over in fourth position, only to have stewards order him back into the pit lane to repair the mirror. The NGT crew did an outstanding job of replacing the mirror in do we have a time?, getting Cisneros back into the fray without going a lap down. Cisneros passed the Green Hornet car of fellow GT3 competitor Peter LeSaffre before handing off to Edwards on lap 58.
“I didn’t have any pressure out there, I was mostly by myself,” said Cisneros, “so I was able to stay relaxed and not use up that much energy. My only close call was a run off in the kink – the Aston Martin LMP came into the corner with me side by side and I didn’t have time to get back in.”
The team lost valuable seconds in the pit lane as the engine start problem that had dogged them at Sebring returned, as Edwards tried repeatedly to get the Porsche to refire after the stop. Once underway, Edwards made his way to the front of the field as one by one, the cars ahead peeled off for the pit lane.
Back in the pit box, an idea was forming; perilously close on fuel, the team made the decision to keep Edwards on the track instead of coming in for a splash and go late in the race, gambling on yellow flags assisting their efforts to keep the top spot. Knowing that only the second and third place cars were on the same lap, and that a pit stop would put them in third place anyway, the call was made to stay out.
Adding to the drama was the rapid approach of the two LMP leaders, running together in what would be the closest finish in ALMS history. The LMP leaders came through the GTC battle between turns 11 and 12 and allowed the #66 TRG of Spencer Pumpelly and the #54 Black Swan of Jeroen Bleekemolen to catch right up to the back of Edwards. Edwards took the white flag at the start of lap 96 in the lead, but with just four corners to go, the car began to sputter as the fuel ran low.
Trying to make his car as wide as possible, Edwards tagged Pumpelly exiting turn five, earning Edwards a 150-second penalty for avoidable contact. Bleekemolen and Edwards came together in 12 as the NGT Porsche ran out of fuel, with Bleekemolen going on for the victory, followed by Pumpelly. Edwards nursed the NGT Porsche home with a right rear puncture, but earn the team its second straight podium finish.
Edwards was understandably disappointed with the result, but happy to have helped earn the team its second podium finish in two races this season.
“We knew it would be tight on fuel and even though I was leading, I had to save fuel, so the other two cars caught up. I was on fuel override already and with three corners to go, it started cutting out. With two corners to go, it completely cut out. I tried to defend from Jeroen and we hit, it was a bit of a bad move from me, but I was trying to keep the win at all costs. We got a puncture, so we didn’t get the win and got the penalty besides. At least we got a podium but I’m gutted we didn’t get the victory, with only three corners to go.”
By the time the podium ceremony was complete, Cisneros was able to get past the disappointment to feel the satisfaction of the podium finish.
“It was an emotional roller coaster. We knew we could almost make it on fuel and decided to gamble just in case a yellow came out which would give us some breathing room. We thought the penalty put us back in fourth, but we got third, so we couldn’t be happier. The whole crew did a fantastic job, we had a great pace and I think it shows we’ll be a team to beat next year.”
NGT Motorsport team owner Ramez Wahab felt the gamble on fuel was the right call.
“It’s our second race in ALMS this season and we finished both on the podium.” Ramez said. “We are not in the championship hunt so we had two choices, either come in for a splash and hand the first place trophy away or gamble – stay out and fight for it. Worst case would be third place. Last lap, three turns to go we went from leading the race to getting a penalty for avoidable contact, a tire puncture and running out of fuel ending in a third place finish. I’ll take that, the drivers and crew did an awesome job and we can’t wait for the next one!”