IMSA: Cadillacs sweep 12 Hours of Sebring, Corvette wins GTD Pro
Earl Bamber caught and passed Richard Westbrook after a drive-through penalty at the top of the 11th hour had cost the #02 the lead.
Bamber appeared headed to victory in his No. 02 Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Or was he?
Seconds later the Kiwi tried to hustle by the #21 Ferrari and was tagged into a spin, losing the lead again. He recovered and was now back in 2nd, 7-seconds behind.
But the Kiwi was undeterred.
The chase began once again, and again Bamber caught and passed the #5 Cadillac, this time with just 45 minutes remaining. A lead he would not relinquish again, despite the draining Central Florida humidity.
Bamber shared top honors with Alex Lynn and Neel Jani, who was a late substitute for Kevin Magnussen in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“It comes down to the drivers. Those guys have to push the buttons and make it happen. They’re the ultimate quarterbacks for the team and we try to give them the tools they need to win races and today they did that,” said team principal Chip Ganassi of the first-year IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R – the 2021 race winner – co-driven by Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook and Loic Duval, finished second.
Pipo Derani took 3rd in the No. 31 Action Express entry for a Cadillac sweep of the podium, despite colliding with the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 of Stoffel Vandoorne with 2 hours and 34 minutes to go.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R was also in contention throughout the race that covered 351 laps. Mike Conway, whose father passed away early Friday, laid down the quickest race lap at 1 minute, 47.018 seconds on Lap 126.
“It would have been nice to win this one,” Conway said. “It was hard. The first few stints, thinking of him out there. I was just trying to do him proud.”
In fourth and fifth were the Acuras Ricky Taylor making his way by Tom Blomqvist’s wounded #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura in the last hour.
The No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R, which started from the pole after Sebastien Bourdais recorded a qualifying lap-record time of 1 minute, 45.116 seconds, experienced a gearbox issue early on and finished several laps down.
“We took the No. 01 to the garage and changed the gearbox after having downshifting problems. We tried a number of counter measures in the pits to correct, but later realized we needed to change the whole gearbox to eliminate the issue,” Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Steve Eriksen said.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports scored a commanding victory in LMP2, with Mikkel Jensen, Ben Keating and Scott Huffaker repeating from one year ago with the same lineup.
Jensen took the No. 52 Oreca 07 Gibson to a one-lap win over the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland entry of Giedo van der Garde.
In LMP3 it was coming down to whether the #33 Sean Creech Ligier, Malthe Jakobsen at the wheel, could eke out its fuel to the end, from the chasing JrIII JS P320 of Garrett Grist.
He made it, which marked Sean Creech’s first WeatherTech Championship class win.
GTD Pro saw the #3 Corvette driven by Antonio Garcia, Nicky Catsburg and Jordan Taylor hold off the closing #63 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo driven by Mirko Bortolotti (with fellow Lamborghini factory drivers Maro Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli) by 4.4 seconds.
The Corvette took the lead with 4.5 hours remaining with pass at Turn 3 on Pfaff Motorsports Porsche driver Matt Campbell. A lead the strong Pratt & Miller-run Corvette would not relinquish except on pitstops.
The trio combined to led 247 laps or 913.9 miles for Corvette Racing’s first Sebring 12 Hours win since 2017 and 12th since 2002.
The result goes along with a runner-up GTE Pro finish for Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy in Friday’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring for the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“Congratulations to Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg and everyone on the No. 3 Corvette C8.R team,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, Performance and Motorsports. “Winning in class for the 12th time at the 12 Hours of Sebring is the result of great driving, race strategy and execution of pit stops. The Corvette C8.R’s 5.5-liter, flat-plane V-8 engine delivered the right combination of performance, reliability and efficiency throughout the race.
“This win is even more special thanks to the support of so many Corvette owners and fans at the track and around the world,” Campbell added. “This has been a great weekend with a runner-up class finish in the World Endurance Championship on Friday and now this win in IMSA. I’m proud of everyone at Corvette Racing and our technical partners at Mobil 1 and Michelin.”
Third was Jules Gounon in the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that also featured Maro Engel and Cooper MacNeil.
Both RLL BMWs were competitive in the opening stages but the No. 25 fell away in hour three when the power steering failed.
The No. 24 BMW driven by Philipp Eng, Marco Wittmann and Nick Yelloly ran second to the winning Corvette for much of the second half, but a couple of unplanned stops late on relegated it to fourth.
In GTD Antonio Fuoco drove the Cetilar racing No. 47 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 to a comfortable win over Daniel Juncadella in the #32 AMG with Toni Vilander chasing hard in the 3rd placed #21 AF Corse Ferrari, putting two Prancing Horses on the podium.
Dead last, completing only 1 lap, was the Andretti Autosport #36 entry driven by Jarett Andretti/Josh Burdon/Gabby Chaves.
No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Neel Jani
Finish: First. Start: Fourth
Earl Bamber: “Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac was amazing this weekend. We had such a good lead and I managed to throw it away twice. I’m just exhausted. To everyone from the team and Cadillac, thank you. I’m just so happy to get the first win for the 02. Thank you to Alex and Neel, who came in and did a great job.”
Alex Lynn: “It was a great race to be honest. First, thanks to everyone on the 02 team. The car was flying all week and yeah, we got the strategy right there at the end. It was a fantastic result to win and thank you to the whole team. We were driving an amazing car today. It made our job behind the wheel that much easier, if it could ever be called easy. It’s a big result for us in the championship and it’s an iconic race, the 12 Hours. With Ganassi winning it once before, it’s a huge result for us as a team.”
Neel Jani: “I had 30 laps before the race, but it couldn’t have been better. Two weeks ago I didn’t know I would be here. I’m hugely thankful to Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing to call me up and ask me to drive. We made it happen. We had a fantastic car and that made it easier for me. To drive that car is fantastic. My teammates did a fantastic job and the whole team welcomed me. That’s why it works. I know now why I miss prototypes. It’s where I belong and what I like. I loved every minute this weekend.”
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R (JDC-Miller MotorSports)
Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval
Finish: Second. Start: 10th overall, seventh in class
Tristan Vautier: “We gave it a good go. Man, I drove my heart out in the last stint. I thought I had him (Bamber) for a while, but a couple of bad breaks catching GT cars in Turns 3, 4 and 5. We had the pace. I think we can be proud of what we achieved. We’re the smallest team here. Two amazing solid races at Daytona and Sebring. The team did an amazing job again, and just thankful to Cadillac and JDC-Miller MotorSports. I feels good to know I left it all on the racetrack.”
Loic Duval: “It’s always difficult when you’re leading like an hour before the end and all the traffic. I think we drove the best we could and Ganassi deserved the win. I think we can be proud when you know the budget of our operation compared to the big boys and fight against them. Two podiums. We can be proud of that.”
Richard Westbrook: “All you can ask is for us to be in the hunt. We were in the hunt for the whole 12 hours. We had some issues with the cooling in the car, so we could only single stint at the end. I found myself in the lead with an hour to go and I got (held up) by a GTD car in Turn 16. Do I try to overtake him on the outside in Turn 16? Second is really a good result. We’ve won a podium in both races. Everyone should be proud. Great day for Cadillac and a great day for JDC.”
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Pipo Derani, Tristan Nunez, Mike Conway
Finish: Third. Start: Second
Pipo Derani: “It was a tough day at the office, but it was a good points day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win. We didn’t get a yellow at the end so we could try to catch the front runners. It was a Cadillac 1-2-3 (finish). We’ll take the points. It’s a long championship. I wanted my fourth (Sebring 12-Hour) win, but I will have to wait a little longer.”
Tristan Nunez: “It was a long, hot day. It was a tough one from start to finish. The heat did not help with that. We had a great car all race. We just had a couple of bad luck moments throughout the race that affected us from taking the win. But no doubt, a podium is good. It was a Cadillac sweep. So, it’s good for the brand. Now we move onto Long Beach.”
Mike Conway: “We were up there all day. We were going for the win, but we came up short at the end. It was a great job by the whole team. The car was really solid all day long. I think we had the car to win. But it just didn’t quite work out.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTD PRO WINNER: “We had to carry on after Daytona and do all we can. There we didn’t have the pace and little issues we had put us back and out of contention. The main thing here was to stay up front, don’t make any mistakes and have no failures that would set us back. That was the first goal. I was the first guy surprised about our pace. We started seventh and slowly started to make our way through. I wasn’t expecting to be leading after the first stop. I thought our car was the best during the day and when it was as warm as possible. I was a little bit afraid of the rest of the field at night. It seemed like everything was switching on for them, the track would go toward them and maybe all the advantage we had went away a little bit. It was up to us to control the pace and keep the gap. If we had been in a situation to catch another car, it would have been difficult. It was perfectly executed by everyone at Corvette Racing, good strategy and amazing drives by Jordan and Nicky.”
ON 12TH WIN FOR CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: “It’s amazing. I said before the race that whenever you come to Sebring in a Corvette, it is always a good feeling. You know something good is going to happen. In the end and having the pace or not having pace, there is still a Corvette factor. It’s the best team to be on when you race here. I’m very happy with that.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTD PRO WINNER: “Daytona was frustrating for us. We lacked pace there and had a mechanical issue in the middle of the night. We learned a lot after that and used it as a test session. That really helped us here. Zero issues around here is a big feat in itself. Twelve hours at Sebring is tougher than 24 at Daytona or Le Mans. It’s a big accomplishment for the team. We won Daytona and the championship last year, so it’s nice to get another major endurance race for the C8.R and start our championship fight again.”
HOLDING THE LEAD THROUGHOUT: “I was surprised how quick we were. I think we were quick in clean air. If we had been stuck behind guys, it would have been difficult for us to get ahead. Once we got to the front, the name of the game was to maintain our track position whether it be saving fuel and extending windows or saving tires. The guys nailed the strategy and kept us out front all day. That’s what really won us the race.”
IMPORTANCE OF FEBRUARY TIRE TEST: “That was big for us. If we showed up here with no test time or setup and development for this track, we would have been out to lunch. Two days here of testing with the guys doing the development and going back and doing their homework really made our weekend.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTD PRO WINNER: “Daytona is a lot about going in a straight line on the banking. This was difficult for us. Sebring was always going to be a bit easier. At the start of the weekend, we really struggled. We got a little break which definitely helped us and brought us back into contention, but it wasn’t easy. Not at all… definitely not. I was struggling on the tires in the middle of the race. It was tough. You never know where you really are until the race. In practice, you don’t know what people are doing in terms of fuel loads, qualifying runs or race runs. It’s difficult to say how much we picked up.”
GETTING THE CORVETTE BACK UP FRONT MID-RACE: “We stuck to our initial plan. We didn’t try anything too crazy. The Lexus and Porsche were going out of sequence but we always stuck to our original plan. It worked out well.”
IMPORTANCE OF FEBRUARY TIRE TEST: “That was huge. It was a huge role. We are still quite new to this tire and to this class. The team had two really good days here. They learned a lot and turned the car around. If we hadn’t done that, we would have had to do it here this week and we probably wouldn’t have won the race. It made a lot of sense.”
Results – 12 Hours of Sebring
|1||DPi||02||Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Neel Jani||Cadillac DPi||351||0.000s||0.000s||Running|
|2||DPi||5||Tristan Vautier/Richard Westbrook/Loic Duval||Cadillac DPi||351||6.471s||6.471s||Running|
|3||DPi||31||Pipo Derani/Tristan Nunez/Mike Conway||Cadillac DPi||351||14.616s||8.145s||Running|
|4||DPi||10||Ricky Taylor/Filipe Albuquerque/Will Stevens||Acura DPi||351||26.958s||12.342s||Running|
|5||DPi||60||Oliver Jarvis/Tom Blomqvist/Stoffel Vandoorne||Acura DPi||351||27.621s||0.663s||Running|
|6||DPi||48||Mike Rockenfeller/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez||Cadillac DPi||346||5 Laps||5 Laps||Running|
|7||LMP2||52||Ben Keating/Mikkel Jensen/Scott Huffaker||ORECA LMP2 07||345||6 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|8||LMP2||29||Frits van Eerd/Giedo van der Garde/Dylan Murry||ORECA LMP2 07||344||7 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|9||LMP2||18||Dwight Merriman/Kyle Tilley/Ryan Dalziel||ORECA LMP2 07||344||7 Laps||1’31.674||Running|
|10||LMP2||11||Steven Thomas/Josh Pierson/Jonathan Bomarito||ORECA LMP2 07||343||8 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|11||LMP2||22||Jim McGuire/Guy Smith/Duncan Tappy||ORECA LMP2 07||342||9 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|12||LMP2||20||Dennis Andersen/Anders Fjordbach/Fabio Scherer||ORECA LMP2 07||340||11 Laps||2 Laps||Running|
|13||LMP3||33||Joao Barbosa/Malthe Jakobsen/Lance Willsey||Ligier JS P320||331||20 Laps||9 Laps||Running|
|14||LMP3||30||Ari Balogh/Garett Grist/Dakota Dickerson||Ligier JS P320||331||20 Laps||48.586s||Running|
|15||LMP3||38||Daniel Goldburg/Rasmus Lindh/Cameron Shields||Ligier JS P320||323||28 Laps||8 Laps||Running|
|16||GTD PRO||3||Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nick Catsburg||Corvette C8.R GTD||323||28 Laps||49.029s||Running|
|17||GTD PRO||63||Marco Mapelli/Andrea Caldarelli/Mirko Bortolotti||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||323||28 Laps||4.438s||Running|
|18||GTD PRO||97||Cooper MacNeil/Jules Gounon/Maro Engel||Mercedes-AMG GT3||322||29 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|19||GTD PRO||24||Philipp Eng/Marco Wittmann/Nick Yelloly||BMW M4 GT3||322||29 Laps||58.125s||Running|
|20||GTD PRO||9||Matt Campbell/Mathieu Jaminet/Felipe Nasr||Porsche 911 GT3 R||322||29 Laps||13.160s||Running|
|21||GTD PRO||79||Cooper MacNeil/Julien Andlauer/Alessio Picariello||Porsche 911 GT3 R||322||29 Laps||12.791s||Running|
|22||GTD||47||Roberto Lacorte/Giorgio Sernagiotto/Antonio Fuoco||Ferrari 488 GT3||321||30 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|23||GTD||32||Mike Skeen/Stevan McAleer/Daniel Juncadella||Mercedes-AMG GT3||321||30 Laps||49.348s||Running|
|24||GTD||21||Simon Mann/Luis Perez Companc/Toni Vilander||Ferrari 488 GT3||321||30 Laps||10.840s||Running|
|25||GTD||96||Robby Foley/Bill Auberlen/Michael Dinan||BMW M4 GT3||321||30 Laps||35.531s||Running|
|26||GTD PRO||14||Jack Hawksworth/Ben Barnicoat/Aaron Telitz||Lexus RC F GT3||320||31 Laps||1 Lap||DNF|
|27||GTD PRO||93||Ashton Harrison-Henry/Kyle Marcelli/Tom Long||Acura NSX GT3||320||31 Laps||4’58.454||Running|
|28||GTD||70||Brendan Iribe/Ollie Millroy/Jordan Lee Pepper||McLaren 720S GT3||320||31 Laps||6.112s||Running|
|29||GTD||44||John Potter/Andy Lally/Spencer Pumpelly||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||319||32 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|30||LMP3||13||Orey Fidani/Kuno Wittmer/Lars Kern||Duqueine D08||319||32 Laps||5.023||Running|
|31||GTD PRO||62||Daniel Serra/Davide Rigon/Eddie Cheever III||Ferrari 488 GT3||318||33 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|32||GTD||12||Frankie Montecalvo/Scott Andrews/Richard Heistand||Lexus RC F GT3||318||33 Laps||5.534s||Running|
|33||GTD||99||Rob Ferriol/Katherine Legge/Stefan Wilson||Porsche 911 GT3 R||318||33 Laps||30.953s||Running|
|34||LMP3||54||Jon Bennett/Colin Braun/George Kurtz||Ligier JS P320||308||43 Laps||10 Laps||Running|
|35||DPi||01||Renger van der Zande/Sébastien Bourdais/Ryan Hunter-Reay||Cadillac DPi||307||44 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|36||GTD||28||Michael de Quesada/Daniel Morad/Maximillian Goetz||Mercedes-AMG GT3||306||45 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|37||GTD||16||Ryan Hardwick/Zacharie Robichon/Jan Heylen||Porsche 911 GT3 R||305||46 Laps||1 Lap||Running|
|38||GTD||66||Kyffin Simpson/Till Bechtolsheimer/Mario Farnbacher||Acura NSX GT3||305||46 Laps||0.590||Running|
|39||GTD||57||Russell Ward/Philip Ellis/Marvin Dienst||Mercedes-AMG GT3||287||64 Laps||18 Laps||Running|
|40||GTD||39||Robert Megennis/Corey Lewis/Jeff Westphal||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||287||64 Laps||1’01.727||Running|
|41||GTD||59||Jon Miller/Patrick Gallagher/Paul Holton||McLaren 720S GT3||276||75 Laps||11 Laps||DNF|
|42||LMP3||40||Max Hanratty/Todd Archer/James Vance||Duqueine D08||262||89 Laps||14 Laps||Running|
|43||GTD||27||Roman De Angelis/Ian James/Tom Gamble||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||256||95 Laps||6 Laps||Running|
|44||GTD||1||Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow/Erik Johansson||BMW M4 GT3||256||95 Laps||59.931s||Running|
|45||GTD PRO||25||Connor de Phillippi/John Edwards/Augusto Farfus||BMW M4 GT3||246||105 Laps||10 Laps||Running|
|46||LMP3||74||Gar Robinson/Felipe Fraga/Kay van Berlo||Ligier JS P320||232||119 Laps||14 Laps||DNF|
|47||GTD PRO||23||Ross Gunn/Alex Riberas/Maxime Martin||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||230||121 Laps||2 Laps||DNF|
|48||LMP2||8||John Farano/Louis Deletraz/Rui Andrade||ORECA LMP2 07||220||131 Laps||10 Laps||DNF|
|49||LMP3||7||Mark Kvamme/Anthony Mantella||Duqueine D08||204||147 Laps||16 Laps||DNF|
|50||LMP3||6||Efrin Castro/Moritz Kranz/Ugo De||Duqueine D08||128||223 Laps||76 Laps||DNF|
|51||GTD||42||Don Yount/Jaden Conwright/Mateo Llarena||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||105||246 Laps||23 Laps||DNF|
|52||LMP2||81||Henrik Hedman/Juan Pablo Montoya/Sebastian Montoya||ORECA LMP2 07||83||268 Laps||22 Laps||DNF|
|53||LMP3||36||Jarett Andretti/Josh Burdon/Gabby Chaves||Ligier JS P320||1||350 Laps||82 Laps||DNF|