In a somewhat abridged 64th running of the 12 hour of Sebring, which saw a two hour, 15 minute red flag during the event due to lightning and heavy rain.
Tequila Patron ESM claimed victory with Pipo Derani, Johannes Van Overbeek, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown, with the team having previously won at the Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January, they also claimed the unofficial result of the ‘36 hours of Florida’
ESM’s victory effectively came down to the last 15 minutes of the race and the final restart of the race. Pipo Derani who came to fame for his efforts at the Rolex24 in January once again showing huge talent in the closing stages, passing both Action Express entrants driven by Felipe Albuquerque and Dane Cameron therefore denying Scott Pruett victory in what is expected to be his final outing in a prototype class entrant, with Pruett moving to the GTD Lexus programme later in the season.
Pole sitters CORE Autosport won the PC class. Unfortunately once again the PC class had several incidents on track causing several somewhat frustrating cautions throughout the race. I’m not entirely sure what the solution is to this if I’m honest. The class has some highly talented drivers within it, it also has some gentlemen drivers but that is the whole point, would a switch to LMP3 machinery as opposed to the aging Oreca FLM09 really improve the driving standards within the class?
Potentially not, but at the same time, are other advantages to the class having LMP3, and I hope IMSA explore its potential inclusion again, given it’s growth in ELMS, compared to the now small field of LMPC cars in the US.
The GTLM class had great racing throughout, with an eventual victory by Corvette #4, again as with ESM, as Corvette claimed honours at both Floridian endurance races to open the 2016 season. It wasn’t all happiness at Corvette however, with just under five hours to go in the race.
Jan Magnussen and Kevin Estre had a pretty major shunt at turn 1, both cars ending up in the barriers, whilst Magnussen was able to continue around the track, the car eventually had to be towed back and repaired, having not been able to take it right the way back.
In the GT Daytona class, it was a victory by Scuderia Corsa, one captured in the closing minutes, as with the front of the field, when Alessandro Balzan passed Jens Klingmann, therefore claiming a victory for the Ferrari 488, in its opening weekend of competition.
More analysis later.
Top 3 per class
Sharp/Brown/van Overbeek/ Derani Honda HPD Ligier JS P2
Cameron/Curran/Pruett Chevrolet Corvette DP
Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Albuquerque Chevrolet Corvette DP
Bennett/Braun/Wilkins Oreca FLM09
Kimber-Smith/J.Gutierrez/Alon Oreca FLM09
Popow/van der Zande/Heinemier-Hansson Oreca FLM09
Gavin/Milner/Fassler Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
Auberlen/Werner/Spengler BMW M6 GTLM
Bamber/Makowiecki/Christensen Porsche 911 RSR
Nielsen/Balzan/Segal Ferrari 488 GT3
Curtis/Klingmann/Freiberg BMW M6 GT3
Potter/Lally/Seefried Audi R8 LMS