LE CASTELLET : 3rd place in the French Championships and Best Rookie of the Year
The final of the Porsche Carrera Cup France took place from the 28th to the 30th of October 2016, bringing together all the top competitors on the Paul Ricard du Castellet track.
Friday’s open practice began under perfect summer-like conditions. The first open session however, was not particularly beneficial due to a few problems from taking excessive risks. Florian made up for this during the second session where he rejoined the rankings…
Florian’s slight lack of performance, recurring over the weekend, was confirmed during the qualifying races, at which time he finished 8th in the first race and 7th in the second. This meant an overall 4th place starting position, leaving his opponents in better positions. Keeping his overall 3rd place position would not be easy.
At the end of race 1 on Saturday afternoon, Florian grabbed a 7th place finish over Thomas LAURENT, after a good race. This second to last race of the season assured that Florian won the title of ‘Best Rookie 2016’.
Florian: "This is the result of a great season which proves the work of the Sébastien Loeb Racing team. Although certain tracks had their ups and downs, I feel good overall. It was a year of great learning experiences. "
Race 2 was full of twists and turns. Despite a good start, Florian found himself boxed in during the first corner, from which he emerged in 8th place. After passing Nicolas MISSLIN, he progressively joined the leading group to continue to fight for an overall podium position. At this point in the race, Florian was in 4th place over Vincent BELTOISE, where he needed to stay. Large competitions within this leading group slowly tapered off allowing Florian to remain on the national podium. The sixth race did not yield specific changes meaning Florian would finish in 4th place overall.
Florian’s first season in this category and at this level was better than expected. He finished with the title of France’s Best Rookie and 3rd place overall in the French National Championship of the Porsche Carrera Cup.
Florian said, "2016 was a great transition season and the results couldn’t make me happier. This rewards the work of the Sébastien Loeb Racing Team and shows our hard work and progress since our first trials last winter. The strategies were key players in our success because we have always managed to maintain our position in the championships. At Castellet, for example, the main thing for me was to make sure I kept the Rookie of the year title and to have the 3rd place in the overall championship standings in order to give me the best start possible in the 2017 season. "
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IMOLA : Another podium finish and a step up in the overall standings
In Imola, Italy on the 1st and 2nd of October, the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit hosted the 5th round of the Porsche Carrera Cup France 2016. Once again, rapidly changing weather conditions allowed race officials to simulate various situations.
During the first trail, Florian was able to finish with the 3rd fastest time and after the second trial, he took a leading advantage finishing with the fastest time.
Unfortunately, the qualifiers of that afternoon were not as promising as Florian had to settle for 5th place to begin race 1 and 4th place to begin race 2.
Saturday and Sunday night brought a lot of rain to the Bologne region, leaving racers with a wet and tricky track to manage with slick tires. After a good start, Florian intelligently maneuvered the track bringing him to the checked flag with a 4th place finish overall and another win in the Junior standings.
At the start of the second race, the track was now dry allowing drivers to see their strategies in a clearer context. Once again Florian had a good start, avoided the chaos in the first few turns and as a result ended up in second position. He would then go on to lose this position but recovered without any serious mistakes. At the end of the 17 laps, Florian won his second podium placement of the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 3rd place.
Florian : “The evening after Le Mans I had announced that my podium placement in this race would not be a coincidence and I am pleased to have confirmed that statement. I was thrilled to have the top time after the second free trials and it is unfortunate to not have been able to reproduce this during the qualifying races. The conditions during the first race made it very difficult and I felt as if I was driving on eggshells, constantly thinking as to not make any mistakes. I would have loved to have fought for a podium position but unfortunately a flat tire made things difficult from the beginning. During the second race, conditions were straight-forward and I was able to earn my second podium placement in the Carrera Cup. This victory, combined with my overall 3rd place in the Championship standings, means it is still possible and I hope to be on the Champion’s podium after the final race in Castellet!”
The results are still very positive after this event. The goal still remains the same : to see constant progression throughout this first season.
In the overall standings, Florian is in 3rd place, only 10 points behind second place. In the Junior standings after one win and one second place finish this weekend, Florian has a 32-point lead before heading into the final in Castellet on the 28th, 29th and 30th of October. More photos... More videos...
LE MANS : Nothing but good news and the 1st podium win
Before this race, PORSCHE FRANCE invited Florian to two days multidisciplinary training inside the magnificent PORSCHE EXPERIENCE CENTER in Le Mans.
Having benefited from the different workshops and skills assessments, we had to refocus on the races the weekend of the 10th & 11th September on the Bugatti circuit in the famous Sarthoise region.
This second part of season was to help Florian continue his development as a driver. This would not be easy with 28 drivers on the track and varying weather conditions.
It is in the beginning of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that the free practice, under a beautiful sun, was underway with an interesting start and an overall 3rd position after the first session. The second session was similar to the first resulting in optimistic results for what was to come.
To conclude the day, two qualifying sessions of 10 minutes each, did not allow room for error. Very focused on his goal, Florian passed the session without error and obtained twice, a third place starting position.
After a downpour that resulted in a slippery track, the race director chose to start the race with the safety car leading. Florian held his position during the first lap, and even moved into 2nd place. The race start was tricky with slick tires on the wet asphalt, but Florian did not make any mistakes and was able to maintain his position until the finish thus obtaining his first podium placement in the division.
For the second race, the rain began to fall even before the cars took to the track, which resulted in a second start behind the safety car, slick tires, and a wet track.
In these particularly delicate and difficult conditions, Florian opted for a conservative race and built his strategy on external events (exit of some competitors, penalties...).
In the second-to-last lap he was still in third position, but a latecomer who did not respect the blue flag presented to him by the race commissioner, overtook Florian at the exit of the turn into the straight away. This enabled the driver, then in fourth position, to sneak in to overtake Florian and deprive him of a second podium placement.
The overall results of the weekend remain very positive, still showing a constant progression to be among the top three at every occassion.
"This first podium win in the PORSCHE CARRERA CUP FRANCE is the result of the hard work done since the beginning of the season. So far, this is a good start for my first season at this level, especially under this type of wet conditions that I had not yet competed in. "
Au classement général, la 4e place est largement confortée puisque Florian n’a plus qu’un petit point de retard sur le 3e et au classement des juniors, il garde la tête et améliore même son avance. Overall, 4th place is widely accepted since Florian is only a point behind third in the standings and in the junior standings, he maintains and even improves his lead.
The next race will be in Imola on the 1st and 2nd of October.More photos ... More videos...
ZANDVOORT : Two new TOP 5 standings
Before the championship truce, PORSCHE CARRERA CUP stopped in Zandvoort in the Netherlands at the old Formula 1 track in the middle of the North Sea dunes, with dry, cool weather. The circuit, fast-paced and technical, pleased Florian despite the bumpy roads. The hilly route with its many banks, allowed him to attain speeds at almost 93 miles /h, reminding him of tracks raced in the United States.
Always well placed in free practice, Florian and the team worked to gradually get closer to the lead and finished third among the 25 drivers.
On Saturday the qualifying sessions were difficult to manage with a red flag break in each race. The race strategy was shattered, but in the end he finished 5th place after Race 1 and in Race 2, he managed to obtain 4th place only 3 minutes before the end of the race.
In race 1 on the outside line, Florian lost 2 places before turn 1 named "Tarzan" which is a very large pin turn at 180 degrees. Shortly after, the turn and the track were controlled by the safety car after a collision between 4 cars. However, after the restart Florian gradually regained two places to cross the finish line in fifth place.
Located in the second row of the grid in race 2, Florian got caught in the lights, but during the race, he was able to gain back the 2 positions lost. He finished once again in the Top 5, on the podium in 4th place.
The record is always positive and convincing, as we are half-way through the season in 4th place overall and first place in the junior standings with a 10-point lead.
The next race will be back on a French track : LE MANS from the 9th to the 11th of SeptemberMore photos ... More videos...
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS: CONFIRMING A PROMISING DEBUT
For the second meeting of the season, the Porsche Carrera Cup takes over the circuit in the opening of the 6-hour endurance world champion WEC. The legendary circuit, Belgian Ardennes, was graced with a beautiful day throughout the entire programme.
For this test, the Benelux champion joined the French champion, two guests competing at a very high level, which created a record event for the 28 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Thursday was reserved for two open practice sessions that allow Florian to learn the 7km long circuit, famous for its steep inclines, and continue his apprenticeship with his new car.
On Friday, Florian had two qualifying rounds, each 20 minutes long. Like in Barcelona, he had trouble fully optimizing the benefits of his car’s new tires and this hampered him in the first round. In the end, this gave him starting positions in 8th and 7th position.
In the beginning of race 1, Florian avoids by a narrow margin, a minor accident at the cost of heavy braking. Due to this, he was blocked at the inside of the turn, causing him to lose three places. After a good race, Florian overtook several places, crossing the finish line in 7th position overall, 4th in the French rankings and 1st place in the junior standings.
During his second time out on the track in race 2, Florian, despite a great performance, did not climb in the rankings. The previous winner, continuously using illegal maneuvers, made him impossible to overtake. In the end and after a decision made by the race director, Florian got to maintain his 7th place overall, and placed 5th in the French rankings and 2nd in the junior standings.
“I had never driven at SPA and it is truly a track that must be tackled at least once in a lifetime. This is essential in the training of a driver. Adapting to the course was done fairly quickly but I have yet to optimize the full potential of my tires. This is a new adjustment that I have to work on with the team, but overall, we have noticed that the pace and rhythm of the race is very good. A solid foundation has been laid and with Sebastien Loeb Racing, we will continue to move forward. The next round will be in Zandvoort, a track I have yet to discover, but one that I look forward to. The conditions could be interesting depending on the state of the track that is mapped in the dunes. We must adapt to such conditions which leads us to aim our goals even higher and I know that we will.”
Before the next round scheduled for the 24th to 26th of June, Florian takes back the 4th place overall position and took the lead in the junior standings.
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BARCELONA : A promising start with just a few adjustments to make
The 2016 season with Porsche Carrera Cup France has started with the Barcelona Catalan Circuit. Florian discovered this great circuit that wasn’t possible during the winter season, with fantastic weather conditions during each outing on the track.
From the first practice session, Florian is on it. His lack of experience combined with his new car, hasn’t allowed him to be competitive with the two other drivers from the Porsche Motorsport team. However with the 4th fastest time of the day, he is ready to fight.
The qualifying heats Saturday morning, confirm the feeling of the day, with a 3rd place finish in race 1 with only a tenth of a second the others and then, a second race, a little more delicate to mention, where Florian got 6th place.
Well positioned in the second line for race 1 with his teammate at his side, Florian had hoped for a great first race. Unfortunately, his lack of experience with the standing start, was detrimental and he lost three places in the first corner. Still, the price of a head-to-head battle with Vincent Beltoise, Florian completed his first race in 5th place.
In race 2, out of the third line this time and always alongside Joffrey De Narda, Florian encountered the same problems at the start and with the same consequences, but this time, he did not make his way back into the top 5. He crossed the finish line in 8th position by overtaking two competitors at the end of the race.
Even if he expected more in terms of results, his 5th and 8th places in his first two races, are honorable and leave him in 5th place overall, close the top 3, and in 2nd place in the junior standings, just one point behind the leader.
Next step will be in Spa Francorchamps (Belgium) on May 6th and 7th. Meanwhile, Florian and all of the Sébastien Loeb Racing team have already planned several days of work to continue to improve. They will do everything possible to be ready for the second test and in order to realize the potential seen in Barcelona.
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2016 : CARRERA CUP FRANCE, PORSCHE 911 GT3 CUP and… SEBASTIEN LOEB RACING
After three years of competing overseas, many podiums, and a title of US champion in USF2000, Florian, who in 2016 chose to change careers to the GT, will do so with an experienced and highly recognized team: SEBASTIEN LOEB RACING.
For the fifth consecutive year in the category, SEBASTIEN LOEB RACING decided to bring its experience and professionalism to Florian to take him up the rankings of the Porsche Carrera Cup France.
Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz rely on Florian with his qualities and his youth to do even better than the 2015 season and the two titles that were won.
For Franck Tiné, Sports Team Director: "Our new driver, Florian, was a class favorite. We performed all tests, hours before he was named ‘Espoir Porsche Carrera Cup France.’ This nomination has only confirmed our feelings on his potential. We are counting on him to be the surprise of the championship, while contending with the rookie standings. "
Florian integrates into the SEBASTIEN LOEB RACING team with the support of Porsche France, Porsche Distribution and all of its partners.
The final team looks great and has promised great things for the future.
Florian said, "The Porsche pathway was the best solution for me to switch to GT. My goal is to grow and learn as quickly as possible, to be able to recalibrate according to my opponents and to improve my overall level. I hope to make it to the top of the rankings this season. "
This new season is off to a good start with a small tour of Europe. Various tests are planned from March and until the start of the championship in Barcelona from the 22nd to the 24th of April. More Photos
After four years karting at a top level accompanied by several international titles, then four years in a single seater with numerous podiums and a United States champion title, Florian has decided to take a change of direction in his career.
The idea was indeed in his head for a long time and he thinks that the 2016 season will be a good period to take up this new challenge.
His time table allowed him to be present for half of the tests for the 2015 Carrera Cup, he already wanted to get settled into the category that he was looking into for 2016.
It was at the end of three days of selection process organised by PORSCHE CARRERA CUP FRANCE with the support of MICHELIN and RS MAGAZINE, at the centre of the 2015 final of the Porsche Carrera Cup France, on the Paul Ricard circuit, that the jury evaluations took place.
The programme was complete with marketing, communication, different track tests with the 911 series models and at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, sporting evaluations and an individual interview with members of the jury - including Patrick PILET, official driver for PORSCHE MOTORSPORTS and sponsor for young talents.
Next meeting on the 23rd March 2016 for the Test Day on the Bugatti circuit of Le Mans for Florian’s first official laps at the wheel of his Porsche 911 GT3 CUP.