Sebring 12 Hours: Acura leads with three hours to go

Acura Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud is leading the Sebring 12 Hours at three-quarters distance, being chased by the one car that can stop teammates Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor from winning the championship.

Sebring 12 Hours: Acura leads with three hours to go
Listen to this article

Prototype

A strong stint from Sebastien Bourdais saw him drive the JDC-Miller Cadillac away from the #6 Acura of Juan Pablo Montoya in the last hours of sunlight and Tristan Vautier continued his good work as evening fell across the 17-turn 3.74-mile Sebring Raceway.

Vautier’s closest opponent was another Tristan, namely Mr. Nunez in the #77 Mazda RT24-P with the sister Mazda of Harry Tincknell running third. Montoya’s co-driver Pagenaud fell to fifth during the changeover, behind Felipe Nasr in the Action Express Racing Cadillac. The Brazilian was closing on Tincknell, who was suffering a long brake pedal in the #55 Mazda.

The full-course caution flew for the seventh time with 3h38m remaining when the #4 Corvette went into the tires at Turn 17. That sent the leaders to the pits, and both Pagenaud in the #6 Acura and Derani in the AXR Cadillac jumped to the front of the pack ahead of Jarvis in the #77 Mazda, erstwhile leader Vautier and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the #55 Mazda.

The restart saw Pagenaud break away from Derani, while Vautier got the JDC-Miller #5 ahead of Jarvis’ Mazda to take third.

GT Le Mans

The BMWs seemed to come alive as evening fell, Jesse Krohn taking the lead, and Connor De Phillippi moving into second after a couple of brilliant back and forth battles with Nick Tandy in the #911 Porsche.

The demise of Oliver Gavin’s #4 Corvette at Turn 17 brought the remainder of the GTLM field to the pits and they emerged with Fred Makowiecki in the lead ahead of Jordan Taylor’s Corvette, Laurens Vanthoor third in the #912 Porsche, followed by the BMWs of Colton Herta (#25) and Augusto Farfus.

However at the restart, Makowiecki fell back, while a rub between Taylor and Vanthoor saw the #912 Porsche also fall to the back of the class. The #3 Corvette of Taylor was thus in the lead, while Herta ran second ahead of teammate Farfus and the recovering Makowiecki.

GT Daytona

The restart following the sixth caution saw Corey Lewis leading in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini but he bobbled wide and allowed Jan Heylen’s Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and the closely pursuing Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 of Jeff Westphal into first and second. That prompted PMR to pit Lewis and replace him with Madison Snow.

Darren Turner thus moved into third with the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage ahead of Marcus Miller’s Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, Shinya Michimi’s Acura NSX GT3 and Nick Yelloly’s Turner Motorsport BMW GT3, which was having a fine dice with Andrew Davis’ Hardpoint Racing Audi R8 LMS.

After a full round of pitstops around the five-hours-to-go mark, Heylen’s co-driver Pat Long was into the lead ahead of the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari now with Alessandro Balzan at the wheel. Indeed, having fallen 7.5sec behind the leader, Balzan’s attention was dominated by keeping Lawson Aschenbach behind in the Riley Mercedes. His resistance didn’t last long, and Aschenbach moved into second with 4h40min remaining.

Roman De Angelis was now wheeling the Aston Martin in fourth ahead of Pierre Kaffer in the Hardpoint Audi with Matt McMurry’s #86 MSR Acura running sixth.

The seventh caution flag and the subsequent pitstops saw Andrew Davis stay out in the Hardpoint Audi, while Westphal in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari jumped into second ahead of Mario Farnbacher in the #86 Acura with the returning Heylen up into fourth.

Then Davis lost momentum coming onto the back straight, allowing Westphal, Farnbacher and Heylen into the top three slots.

shares
comments

Related video

Sebring 12 Hours: Montoya leads at halfway as WTR hits trouble
Previous article

Sebring 12 Hours: Montoya leads at halfway as WTR hits trouble

Next article

Sebring 12 Hours: Mazda wins the race, Acura takes the title

Sebring 12 Hours: Mazda wins the race, Acura takes the title
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022