Race Weekend Central

WTRAndretti Wins 12 Hours of Sebring

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global’s Louis Deletraz ran down and passed Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais for the lead with six minutes to go Saturday night (March 16). From there, Deletraz held on to win the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring for him, Colton Herta and Jordan Taylor.

“I can’t believe it,” Deletraz said after the race. “I caught [Bourdais], but I know that he’s a fast racer. I saw the gap [at the hairpin] and I went for it. We had [a little contact], but we won. That’s what matters.”

Deletraz, Herta and Jordan Taylor’s margin of victory was .891 seconds over Bourdais, Scott Dixon and Renger van der Zande. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Matt Campbell, Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr were third, then BMW M Team RLL’s Connor de Phillippi, Maxime Martin and Nick Yelloly. The second WTRAndretti Acura of Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley and Ricky Taylor was fifth.

Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani started on the overall pole and led early. Bourdais gave chase, resulting in the first segment looking like practice as the two Cadillacs fought among themselves.

Following a debris caution and the first round of stops, Bourdais was able to take the overall lead in the second hour. Pit strategies shuffled the running order as Cameron and Martin took the lead in the third and fourth hours.

As the race continued on, the Cadillacs moved back into position to win. But in the eighth hour, Derani’s chances for victory came to an end. While leading, he collided with AF Corse’s Miguel Molina in turn 9 and went head-on into the tires. The Cadillac climbed the tire barrier and ended up on his roof.

It took a couple of minutes for the AMR Safety Team to partially right the Cadillac as Derani was stuck in the car. Once it was lifted slightly, Derani was able to get out of the car and walk away. Molina’s Ferrari was also out.

The lead eventually rotated to Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 6. He was up front when he had contact with Gradient Racing’s Katherine Legge in Sunset Bend, which sent Legge hard into the wall and out of the race.

A couple of laps after the restart from that crash, Makowiecki blew his left rear tire and spun out of the lead in the hairpin. He would get back to the pits, but lost two laps getting there and getting repairs. He would ultimately finish two laps down in ninth.

The race came down to a battle between Bourdais and Deletraz. On the final restart, the two drivers drove away from the rest of the GTP contenders. Deletraz held station until the leaders caught the GT cars.

With six minutes to go, Deletraz made the move on Bourdais in the hairpin. Bourdais held the move off, but Deletraz got another run coming off of the hairpin. Some contact was made, but Deletraz was able to make the move stick. From there, he held on for the win.

In LMP2, AO Racing’s PJ Hyett won the pole and told NBC Sports that it was the third best moment in his life. The first lap Saturday was not up there as he quickly dropped out of the top-five.

United Autosports’ Dan Goldburg took the lead on the first lap and was able to hold off experienced teammate Ben Keating early on. Keating was eventually able to take advantage of traffic to snatch the lead using a rare outside run at the hairpin. Further back, other teams ran into issues.

Richard Mille AF Corse’s Luis Perez Companc spun exiting turn 1 and hit the barriers early in the second hour. The incident did not cause a yellow. The team would later retire due to a fire.

Later, Tower Motorsports’ Michael Dinan was shoved off the road by Triarsi Competizione’s Charlie Scardina right before the braking zone for turn 13. That contact resulted in Dinan sliding off-course and hitting the tires to bring out a caution.

Keating was strong, but ran into some issues that dropped him down the order. At the same time, TDS Racing’s No. 11 with Mikkel Jensen at the wheel came to the front. Era Motorsport held back early on as Dwight Merriman completed his minimum drive-time, but came on once Ryan Dalziel and Connor Zilisch got in the car.

Zilisch ended up taking the lead during the final caution period when CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s Colin Braun made a pit stop. On the final restart, Zilisch was able to open up a decent gap on the pack. From there, Zilisch was able to hold on to take the second straight win for Era Motorsport.

In the closing laps, Braun was charging back towards the lead, but had contact with Riley Motorsports’ Felipe Fraga in Sunset Bend while fighting for second. Braun spun and dropped back to ninth.

Era Motorsport’s margin of victory was 1.127 seconds over Jensen, Hunter McAlrea and Steven Thomas. United Autosports’ No. 22 for Goldburg, Paul di Resta and Bijoy Garg were third, then the Ligier of Sean Creech Motorsports’ Joao Barbosa, Jonny Edgar and Dr. Lance Willsey. Fraga, Josh Burdon and Gar Robinson faded late to finish fifth.

GTD Pro saw VasserSullivan’s Jack Hawksworth lead with ease early in the race. The first lap saw a scary moment as Risi Competizione’s Davide Rigon get bounced around and spin in front of most of the GT cars exiting turn 1. Rigon ultimately didn’t hit anything and continued on.

While trying to avoid the spinning Rigon, Pfaff Motorsports’ Oliver Jarvis and Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe collided, resulting in both drivers having flat tires. While Iribe was able to get a new right rear tire and continue, Jarvis’ McLaren had bent suspension pieces and had to go behind the wall for repairs.

Jarvis would return to the race, 11 laps down. Later on, James Hinchcliffe collided with MDK Motorsports’ Klaus Bachler exiting turn 16 and had to make a second visit behind the wall.

Much of the race saw VasserSullivan’s No. 14 team fight for class honors with AO Racing’s No. 77, also known as “Rexy.” However, Risi Competizione came into the hunt late in the race.

Daniel Serra was able to get himself up into the lead. A debris caution bunched the pack back up for the final 25 minute run to the finish.

With 20 minutes to go, Hawksworth made a huge dive to the inside of Serra for the lead. The two ran side-by-side through the bumpy turn, but Serra ran wide on exit, allowing Hawksworth to take the lead. Serra dropped down the order as a result of his off-course excursion, allowing Corvette Racing with Pratt Miller Motorsports’ Daniel Juncadella and AO Racing’s Laurin Heinrich through.

From there, Hawksworth pulled out a small lead on the pack as Serra regrouped. In the closing laps, Serra ran Hawksworth back down and nearly made a move on him, but Hawksworth held on to take the class win for himself, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood.

VasserSullivan’s margin of victory was .121 seconds over Serra, Rigon and James Calado. Iron Lynx’s Mirko Bortolotti, Jordan Pepper and Franck Perera were third in their Lamborghini, then Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Neil Verhagen. The Heart of Racing’s Mario Farnbacher, Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas were fifth.

As for Juncadella, he spun into the tires in turn 3 with three minutes remaining out of second, likely due to contact with Heinrich. He was able to get to a safe spot, but was unable to continue. The No. 3 Corvette was classified 10th in GTD Pro. Heinrich ended up ninth.

In GTD, Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mikael Grenier was able to snatch the lead from pole sitter Antonio Fuoco on the opening lap and led easily. However, an apparent overheating problem 35 minutes into the race put Grenier behind the wall. The team would be out for the day.

Grenier’s issues put Frankie Montecalvo in VasserSullivan’s No. 12 in the class lead. Further back, the man on the move was Philip Ellis in the Winward Racing Mercedes. Ellis had actually won the class pole Friday, but lost it after unapproved sensors were found on the car in post-qualifying inspection.

See also
Pipo Derani Wins 12 Hours of Sebring Pole

Losing his times meant that Ellis had to start at the rear of the field. The first hour saw Ellis charge through the 22-car GTD field to put the Daytona-winning Mercedes. Russell Ward was able to take the class lead for the first time early in the third hour.

For much of the race, Winward Racing controlled the action from the front, especially after the No. 12 Lexus was involved in an incident. While they were threatened in the second half of the race, no one was able to prevent Ellis from bringing home the second straight win for himself, Ward and Indy Dontje.

Winward Racing’s margin of victory was .646 seconds over Cetilar Racing’s Antonio Fuoco, Roberto Lacorte and Giorgio Sernagiotto in their best-ever IMSA finish. Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson, Jan Heylen and Elliott Skeer were third in their Porsche, followed by The Heart of Racing’s Roman DeAngelis, Ian James and Zacharie Robichon. Forte Racing’s Devlin DeFrancesco, Misha Goikhberg and Loris Spinelli were fifth.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Unofficial Results

Next up for WeatherTech is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the GTP and GTD classes. That race will air April 20 on USA Network at 4:30 p.m. ET. GTD Pro teams will race next at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on May 12, while LMP2 teams race next at Watkins Glen on June 30.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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great coverage; easy to read unlike the IMSA website; great site for racing updates

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