Sebring: Michelin race report

MICHELIN WINS 10th CONSECUTIVE SEBRING 12 HOUR RACE SEBRING, FL (March 16, 2008) - Sixteen different drivers in seven cars from five Michelin partner teams and four manufacturers led at various stages as Michelin and its partner teams and...


SEBRING, FL (March 16, 2008) - Sixteen different drivers in seven cars from five Michelin partner teams and four manufacturers led at various stages as Michelin and its partner teams and drivers led every lap to claim an unprecedented 10th consecutive overall victory for Michelin in the 56th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, America's oldest and most prestigious sports car race.

The tenth consecutive overall win in the 12 Hours of Sebring matches the record tenth consecutive win for Michelin at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June. Sebring is the opening event of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season.

The Peugeot 908 of Nicolas Minassian and Pedro Lamy led early, but it was Romain Dumas in the #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder who led late, proving that he who leads last, leads best.

The furious race pace produced new race lap records in the LMP1; LMP2 and GT2 classes as both Audis and the race leading Peugeot all broke the former track record on just the third lap of the race. Risi Ferrari's Jaime Melo set a new GT2 mark on the next lap.


Retaining the lead while making a final "splash and go" pit stop for fuel in the closing stages to score the first ever overall victory at Sebring for legendary team owner Roger Penske was the #7 Porsche RS Spyder driven by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard.

The win makes Penske the first team owner ever to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and 12 Hours of Sebring.


Ending their eight-year Audi overall victory streak at Sebring, the Audi R10 still claimed the LMP1 class as Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, joined by Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, took the win over their teammates Mike Rockefeller, Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr. The impressive Peugeot 908, making its North American competition debut, had the early lead but suffered hydraulic issues and finished fourth in class.


In addition to the race winning Porsche RS Spyder from Penske; the twin Dyson Racing Porsches; and the Horag Lista Porsche all showed well with both Dyson cars leading the race and the #20 Dyson driven by Butch Leitzinger; Marino Franchitti and Andy Lally ultimately taking the overall second place. Matching them in both pace and reliability were the trio of Acuras from Andretti Green Racing; Patron Highcroft Racing and Lowe's Fernandez Racing all of which successfully double-stinted their Michelin tires. The Lowe's Acura rang up over 100 laps on their Michelin tires to put themselves squarely into the overall race battle. But, Adrian Fernandez saw his new LMP2 track record and overall second place finish spoiled when the car failed a mandatory post-race air stall test and was excluded from the final results.

Making a noteworthy debut was Marco Andretti who had an exciting opening stint in the Andretti Green Racing #26 XM Acura. Andretti lost several positions by running wide at the start to avoid contact but came back in impressive fashion to claim the class lead and overall race lead. After triple-stinting his Michelin tires for the first 260 miles of the race, Marco Andretti said: "The tires were pretty unbelievable. They were very consistent and we were able to keep up the pace throughout." The car eventually fell to overheating issues.


Michelin technical partner Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell; Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows combined to make ALMS and Sebring history. O'Connell passed racing legend Phil Hill in the Sebring record books by claiming a seventh class win and Magnussen extended his ALMS record of scoring at least one victory in every ALMS season. The #4 Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin; Olivier Beretta and Max Papis suffered a broken half shaft early dropping several laps behind, but returned to finish 10th overall and second in GT1 class.


After being on the short end of a fiercely fought GT2 duel with the Risi Ferrari team here in 2007, the Flying Lizard Porsches returned to claim a sweet 1-2 finish with the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jorg Bergmeister; Wolf Henzler and Marc Lieb taking the win over their teammates in the #44 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Alex Davison. The #61 Krohn Racing Ferrari completed a Michelin podium sweep.

The defending champion #62 Risi Ferrari went out after heavy contact with the #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche following a restart.


When the #2 Audi led lap 115 of the race, it marked the 3,000th lap of Sebring led by Michelin in the last 10 years. With the exception of three laps under caution early in the 2005 race, Michelin has led every green flag lap at Sebring since lap 296 of the 1999 Sebring race. The Michelin total is now 3,236 of the last 3,239 laps at Sebring.

The victory is the 86th for Michelin in the 89 races held since the inception of the ALMS in 1999. With today's sweep of all four class victories, Michelin now has 245 ALMS class wins, including victories in all four ALMS classes in each of the past 13 events.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Nicolas Minassian , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Emmanuel Collard , Pedro Lamy , Phil Hill , Lucas Luhr , Andy Lally , Oliver Gavin , Darren Law , Jaime Melo , Timo Bernhard , Marino Franchitti , Marco Werner , Marco Andretti , Marc Lieb , Romain Dumas , Seth Neiman , Alex Davison , Olivier Beretta , Wolf Henzler , Roger Penske
Teams Krohn Racing , Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing