Image by: LAT Photography
That’s the team’s bad news. The good news: What they watched was the No. 22 team car, driven by Pipo Derani, Nicholas Lapierre and Johannes van Overbeek, win by a whopping 12.427 seconds over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac driven by Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and IndyCar star Ryan Hunter-Reay. The No. 10 won the series championship in 2017. Third was the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona runner-up team, the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Cadillac of Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran and Mike Conway.
The No. 22’s Derani, who won at Sebring in 2016, dedicated the win to his ailing father.
“I’m glad he could see me win one more time,” said Derani, fighting back tears. “Thanks to this team. Without him, none of this would be possible.
In GT Le Mans, the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki took their first Sebring victory, finishing 6.230 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM of Alexander Sims, Connor De Philippi and Bill Auberlen. In third was the No. 912 team car to the winning Porsche, driven by Earl Bamber, Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor. Both the two-car teams for Corvette Racing’s Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and Ford Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT were shut out of a podium finish, with the Ford GTs finishing fourth and ninth in class, and the Corvettes finishing sixth and eighth.
It was awesome,” said a jubilant Tandy. “It was super on-the-edge there at the end, especially with the BMW coming on strong.”
In GT Daytona, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 took the victory, with drivers Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis, 8.169 seconds ahead of the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alessandro Balzan, Gunnar Jeannette and Cooper MacNeil. Third in GTD was the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Luca Stolz.
There were 11 caution flags, the most serious one coming just nine laps into 344-lap event when driver Frankie Montecalvo clipped a spun-out car coming onto the front straight. Montecalvo’s No. 64 Scuderia Corse Ferrari, a teammate to the No. 63 Ferrari, ended up on its roof. He was uninjured.
The only other serious accident in the race occurred with 294 laps in the books, when driver Tristan Vautier crashed the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac Prototype hard into a tire wall on the last turn of the 3.74-mile road course, scattering debris and tires all over the track. Said Vautier: “It started from the beginning of the out lap. I flat-spotted a tire because I was too impatient trying to change a switch on the car. When I got to turn 17, I locked up a bit. I didn’t feel as though I was as wide as I was, but when I realized my left side tires were in the marbles, I tried to get on the gas. But once you’re in the marbles, it’s like ice, and the wall came to me pretty quickly.”
The two Penske Acura Prototypes had an early end, with the No. 7 catching on fire with Ricky Taylor behind the wheel, and the No. 6 crashing out with Juan Pablo Montoya driving. Also having a bad day was the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac Prototype, which won at Daytona, but finished 15th in class, 41st overall out of the 43-car field.
Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: The Bubba Burger Long Beach Grand Prix, April 13-14.
Source : Autoweek