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Children's Tumor Foundation/Vess Energy/Vitamin-D Pro Team Searches for More Power in Sebring
Posted by: newsla on Mar 21, 2014 - 03:20 PM
Children's Tumor Foundation/Vess Energy/Vitamin-D Pro Team Searches for More Power in Sebring

After a hard fought effort, the No. 73 Children’s Tumor Foundation/Vess Energy/Vitamin-D Pro Porsche 911 GT America would see the checkered flag in 17th position during Saturday’s 62nd Running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Executing a true team effort, the group survived numerous issues, including a lengthy power steering replacement, to finish seventh among Porsche entrants in the brutal endurance event.


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Despite setting the fastest time in practice leading up to the race, and consistently running as the quickest Porsche, the challenges for the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America of Patrick Lindsey, Kévin Estre, Mike Vess and Jim Norman started early with a flat right tire during the pre-race pace laps, causing the team to take the green flag on pit road.

After losing nearly two laps as a result of the incident, the Park Place Motorsports team settled into their own rhythm setting a solid pace around the 3.74-mile circuit. Making routine pit stops and driver changes, the team was able to pick off the competition one-by-one to race as high as the fourth position. However, just as things were looking up, the team experienced yet another challenge.

“We were running fourth, and things were looking amazing,” Lindsey said. “A few laps into my stint I started experiencing intermittent power steering failure, which was very noticeable in turns 1 and 17. It started getting worse pretty rapidly, so by the seventh lap I really only had power steering for half of the lap and halfway through my stint it was completely gone.”

Nearing the nine-hour mark, the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America was forced behind the pit wall as the team worked to diagnose and repair the power steering issue, as an ill-handling car is nearly impossible to drive around the rough Sebring International Raceway.

“The power steering is basically hard-lined and mounted to the rack-and-pinion, and that failed,” John Horton, chief engineer and co-principal for Park Place Motorsports, said. “When that happened, all the power steering fluid went out and the electric power steering column died. As a result, it spiked the voltage and took out the alternator. Before the problem, we were looking really good. We were up inside the top-five. We only had Patrick [Lindsey] and Kévin [Estre] left to drive their stints. That’s it; that’s all we needed to do. We were in good shape; we had a chance to win this race.”

After spending approximately 90 minutes in the paddock area replacing the power steering line, the No. 73 Porsche returned to the track. The Children’s Tumor Foundation/Vess Energy/Vitamin-D Pro team finished the race without further incident making a routine driver change and continuing to the checkered flag. At the completion of the 12th hour, the team composed of Lindsey, Estre, Norman and Vess were scored in the 17th position.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD Class will next compete in California at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, May 3-4, 2014, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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