SEBRING, Fla. — Cadillac dominated the opening third of Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the iconic endurance race and second event on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule.
After four hours in warm, sunny conditions at Sebring Int’l Raceway, Scott Dixon had the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R in the overall lead by 31.8 seconds over Louis Deletraz in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06.
The No. 01 Cadillac fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac operated by Action Express Racing shared most of the time in the lead as the 12-hour race runs in the heat of the day and then into tonight before concluding at approximately 10:10 p.m. (ET).
Six of the eight cars in the new hybrid-powered Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class remained on the lead lap after the fourth hour. Following Dixon and Deletraz at that juncture was Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.
Ricky Taylor, co-driver of the No. 10 Acura with Deletraz and Filipe Albuquerque, said his team was trying to complete as many double stints on a set of Michelin tires as possible early to set up their run to the finish.
“We’ve got 15 pits stops today and 11 sets of tires, so we want to get those tires double-stinted as soon as possible so we know we’re in good shape for the end,” Taylor said. “The Cadillacs look strong in the long run. The (No.) 31 had an amazing first double stint with Pipo (Derani). I think when it gets to nighttime when it cools down and we get to single-stint territory, we’ll see who has the best car.”
Derani started from the pole position in the No. 31 Cadillac and led for the opening hour.
However, at the two-hour mark, Derani — a three-time Sebring Twelve Hours winner — could not avoid the spinning No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 driven by Robert Mau and the two cars made contact. The No. 31 sustained nose damage and a flat left-front tire, but several pit stops for repairs under the ensuing full-course caution kept the car at the tail end of the lead lap.
Other class leaders after four hours were: Mikkel Jensen, No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07 in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2); Jarett Andretti, No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320, in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3); Jordan Taylor, No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD, in GTD PRO; and Mike Skeen, No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, in GT Daytona (GTD).
The opening hours of racing were slowed three times by full-course cautions.
The first came on the opening lap when Lance Willsey in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier (the defending LMP3 race winner) was caught in the squeeze of cars heading into Turn 1, stopped briefly on track and shed debris around the track as he made his way back to pit lane. An hour into the race, the second caution flag waved for the stopped No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR ORECA LMP2 07.
The third caution was a result of the Derani-Mau clash at the two-hour mark.
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Update
The Twelve Hours of Sebring is the second of four long-distance races that also make up the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
Points separate from the season-long WeatherTech Championship are awarded to drivers, teams and manufacturers at pre-designated junctures of the races. For Sebring, that’s the four-, eight- and 12-hour marks.
With points earned after four hours of Sebring racing, the Michelin Endurance Cup season leaders are: the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 in GTP, the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA in LMP2, the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier in LMP3, the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in GTD PRO and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in GTD.
Keyword: Cadillac Dominates Early Hours In Sebring