Action Express Racing remains out front with two hours remaining in the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The No. 5 Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi held a commanding one-lap lead over Joey Hand’s No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford prior to the race’s sixth full-course caution.
Brake issues sent the No. 4 Corvette C7.R Oliver Gavin into the barriers, which ended a remarkable three-hour and 47-minute green flag run, the longest in the race.
With the Action Express car one lap ahead, it’s turned into a race for the remaining podium positions, with Hand just ahead of the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook in third.
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Jordan Taylor has climbed back up the running order to fourth, with Eric Curran making it a DP sweep of the top-five overall and in the Prototype class.
Prototype Challenge continues to be paced by the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Tom Kimber-Smith, who also has a one-lap lead over his competition.
Patrick Pilet (Porsche North America) and James Davison (TRG-AMR) lead GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, respectively, in the closing hours.
Bourdais continues to lead in Hour 8 at Sebring
IndyCar stars Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon have paced the field in the last two hours of the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Bourdais out front at the eight-hour mark in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
At the start of the eighth hour, the No. 5 reassumed the lead from the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford when Joao Barbosa barged his way past Dixon into Turn 17 on Lap 191.
Barbosa pitted and handed to Bourdais, four laps after Dixon stopped and turned the No. 01 car over to Scott Pruett.
The No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP of Michael Valiante continues in third as the last car on the overall lead lap, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP fourth and a lap back.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports leads in PC with Tom Kimber-Smith and now Mike Guasch in the No. 52 Oreca FLM09. Sebring debutante Andrew Palmer has also impressed in his stints.
CORE autosport and Performance Tech Motorsports are in the running for podium positions.
The GT classes remain wide open, with the top seven still on the lead lap in both GTLM and GTD.
Porsche continues to lead in GTLM with Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, and Ben Keating is out front in GTD with the No. 33 TI Automotive/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R.
The lead has shifted depending on pit cycles but generally it’s been the two Porsches or No. 3 Corvette C7.R leading in GTLM. The No. 4 Corvette briefly stopped on track with Tommy Milner behind the wheel, but restarted following a minor belt issue.
In GTD the lead has shifted among the No. 33 Viper, No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and Nos. 22 and 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT Americas.
The P2-spec cars in the race have dropped like flies in the last two hours.
Tequila Patron ESM’s pair of HPD ARX-03bs has been retired in the last two hours. The No. 1 car had steering issues and the No. 2 car had persistent boost pressure issues.
Additionally, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda has been officially retired from accident damage sustained after Ozz Negri’s accident.
With the two Mazdas also out, it leaves the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd as the only P2-spec car running, four laps down.
Thus far there have been five full-course cautions for one hour, 41 minutes and 22 seconds.
Dixon leads; Action Express hits milestone in Hour 6 at Sebring
The 2015 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is halfway home, with a new overall leader and another team hitting a milestone in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition.
Scott Dixon leads overall in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford from Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, with the race now back to green following its fifth full-course caution of the day due to Marc Drumwright’s spin and stall in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports PC car exiting Turn 7.
Barbosa was in the car when Action Express’ No. 5 car completed Lap 149, which gave the team a full 10,000 miles complete in the series – every single lap and mile to date since the TUDOR Championship launched at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for our team,” said team owner Bob Johnson. “We couldn’t think of a better place to achieve this milestone than historic Sebring Raceway. Before this was one of the greatest racetracks in America, it served our country training the airborne heroes of World War II.
“Now that we’ve accomplished the mileage milestone, we’ve got another milestone we would like to accomplish at 10:40 p.m. tonight with one of our two entries.”
Other class leaders at the six-hour mark included Tom Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, PC), Patrick Pilet (No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, GTLM) and Cooper MacNeil (No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America, GTD).
In both GTLM and GTD, the top seven cars in class are on the lead lap.
In the last two hours, Jon Fogarty, Conor Daly and Olivier Pla turned in particularly impressive drives.
Fogarty enjoyed a trouble-free stint to run fourth in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b and Daly brought the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry back to second in PC.
Pla regained one of the four laps lost in the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd. The overall polesitter ran a series of 1:54 laps in the heat of the afternoon.
Meanwhile the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE went behind the wall for a front cradle replacement, and the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America had an odd accident exiting Turn 16 when it appeared something broke on the right front of the car, pitching John Potter into the inside retaining wall.
Both SpeedSource Mazdas have been retired, the No. 70 car with a loss of drive belt while running fifth in Prototype, while the No. 07 car has been withdrawn with overheating issues.
Also of note, the first round of Patron Endurance Cup points were handed out at the four-hour mark. Unofficially, Action Express Racing moves into the lead in the team standings.
VisitFlorida.com Racing takes challenge to Action Express:
VisitFlorida.com Racing has assumed the lead of the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as the race reaches the one-third mark.
The No. 90 Corvette DP of Mike Rockenfeller took over the top spot following the fourth and most recent full-course caution, after the second-placed No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP stopped on track with a loose wheel.
While Eric Curran limped his Whelen-sponsored car to the pits, most teams elected to pit again for routine service.
The No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP, which led in the hands of Sebastian Bourdais, now sees co-driver Christian Fittipaldi run second, followed by the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Pruett.
Trouble hit the once race-leading No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b of Scott Sharp, which lost two laps in the pits while under yellow due to gearshift issues.
Brake issues, meanwhile, has seen the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Max Angelelli slip to 11th overall, following a pad change while under yellow.
Andrew Palmer, now aboard the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09, leads Prototype Challenge, running in fourth overall, ahead of the No. 11 RSR Racing entry of Chris Cumming.
Wolf Henzler made a pass on Richard Lietz on the most recent restart to take his No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR to the lead in GT Le Mans.
It came after a spin for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Ryan Briscoe, who dropped from second to eighth in class.
GT Daytona continues to be led by the No. 33 Riley Motorsports/TI Automotive Dodge Viper GT3-R of Ben Keating.
Action Express continues to lead after three hours
Action Express Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais continues to lead with three hours now in the books at the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, following the resumption of racing again.
Bourdais extended his lead in the No. 5 Corvette DP following the second full-course caution, although another yellow, for the DeltaWing which stopped on track with suspension damage, eliminated the Frenchman’s advantage.
All of the leaders pitted under yellow, with both the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP of Michael Valiante and the David Heinemeier Hansson-driven No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b maintaining second and third, respectively.
The No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Mike Guasch leads Prototype Challenge, running an impressive fourth overall following the latest round of pit stops.
GT Le Mans continues to be controlled by the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, who runs ahead of Ryan Briscoe’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R and the John Edwards-driven No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE.
Riley Motorsports/TI Automotive Racing took over the lead in GT Daytona, following Ben Keating’s pass on the Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America of John Potter midway through the hour.
Keating extended his lead in the No. 33 Dodge Viper GT3-R, with the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Emilio Valverde now running second in class.
After contact in the pit lane last hour, the pole-sitting Krohn Racing entry has continued losing ground, this time with exhaust issues for the Ligier JS P2 Judd, which has seen Nic Jonsson plummet down the running order.
Michael Shank Racing’s Honda-powered Ligier, meanwhile, hasn’t been officially retired and could rejoin later in the race once repairs are made following Ozz Negri’s heavy crash in the second hour.
Bourdais leads second hour as Negri wrecks out
Sebastien Bourdais, in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, leads the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the two-hour mark, with the race now under its second full-course caution.
Ozz Negri, who had qualified fourth, was trying to make his way back through the field after an earlier pit stop to adjust the suspension in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda.
But when trying to pass Bryan Sellers in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR going through Turn 14, Negri clipped the curb on entry and spun into the tire barriers, with the car incurring significant left side damage.
Negri got out of the car and was checked and released from the infield care center, but the car itself was taken back to the paddock on the flatbed. Negri is co-driving with John Pew and Justin Wilson.
While the Negri accident put the race under caution, it wasn’t the only incident under the yellow.
The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09, down to a three-driver lineup with Mike Hedlund unavailable last-minute due to unexpected business commitments, was hit for the second time in the race during the yellow.
The Starworks team reported the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America collected it under yellow, which sent the car back to the pits. Contact had occurred between the No. 8 car and the No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda on the warmup lap, and sent Starworks driver Alex Popow in for an unscheduled pit stop before the green.
Meanwhile, the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd and No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 collided on pit lane. The No. 16 car was issued a drive-through penalty for a pit traffic violation, per IMSA.
Under the yellow and with the second round of pit stops complete, the order has changed up front.
Class leaders include Bourdais in Prototype, Mike Guasch (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) in PC, Nick Tandy (No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR) in GTLM and Boris Said (No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3) in GTD.
Bourdais assumed the lead from the prior leader, Ryan Dalziel, in the No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b. Dalziel has handed off his car to David Heinemeier Hansson.
Porsche and Corvette have battled for the lead in GTLM, and GTD has seen the Turner BMW quietly move to the front on strategy after the Porsche 911 GT Americas have been dominant early on pace.
The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS is the race’s first official retirement with mechanical issues.
Dalziel leads under yellow after first hour at Sebring
Ryan Dalziel leads overall at the end of the first hour of the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, following the first round of pit stops as the second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race season is under its first yellow flag of the day.
The caution flew just past the 50-minute mark when Paul Dalla Lana lost the right rear wheel and tire on his No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, and he was stopped on track just past Turn 3. The car was put onto a flatbed.
Dalziel and polesitter Olivier Pla each pitted at the 40-minute mark, with Dalziel staying in for a double stint in the No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b while Pla handed over the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd to Tracy Krohn.
Despite Dalziel’s advances on the start, Pla held him off at the end of the first lap and through the entirety of his stint. Pla maintained a five to eight second gap on Dalziel, with the rest of the field more than 15 or 20 seconds in arrears.
Dalziel’s lead of more than 15 seconds was wiped out following the yellow flag.
The pair of Action Express Racing Corvette DPs, driven by Joao Barbosa and Dane Cameron, ran second and third with Ozz Negri and Richard Westbrook fourth and fifth.
Colin Braun moved into the lead of Prototype Challenge ahead of polesitter Martin Plowman, though Conor Daly emerged in the lead by the end of the hour following the first round of pit stops.
GT Le Mans polesitter Fred Makowiecki led most of the opening hour in his No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR from Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R. The No. 912 maintained the lead after the first pit stop sequence, with Makowiecki handing over to Joerg Bergmeister.
Mario Farnbacher paced GT Daytona for the opening hour in the No. 23 Team Seattle-AJR Porsche 911 GT America, following an opening lap pass of polesitter Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 TI Automotive/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R.
James Davison took his No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 into the fray with Spencer Pumpelly and Andy Lally also giving chase.
While there were no major incidents of note, IMSA noted teams reported a raccoon running down pit road in the opening hour.
***Mike Rockenfeller led the 20-minute morning warmup in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP at 1:54.092. Other class leaders included Renger van der Zande (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport, PC), Bryan Sellers (No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, GTLM) and Patrick Lindsey (No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America, GTD). There were no red flags in the session.
***The pair of BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE entries didn’t run in the warmup session, opting instead to practice driver changes in the pits. Magnus Racing also was not out in the session in the No. 44 Porsche 911 GT America.
***The SpeedSource Mazda team has changed the engine on its No. 07 SKYACTIV-D prototype, citing an ongoing issue with its glow plugs. The No. 07 car and the No. 50 Fifty Plus Racing Riley-Dinan BMW did not set times during Friday’s qualifying, but both returned to the track during the morning warmup session.
***Various balance issues have plagued the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford throughout the week, with Joey Hand only able to qualify ninth on Friday. If Ganassi’s No. 01 can win on Saturday, it will be the first team to win Daytona and Sebring overall back-to-back since Gianpiero Moretti’s MOMO Ferrari 333 SP team did in 1998.
***It will be a busy few days for Tequila Patron ESM, as the team and its two HPD ARX-03bs will travel to Paul Ricard for the mandatory FIA WEC Prologue pre-season test next week. Operations Director Robin Hill told Sportscar365 the cars will be airfreighted from Orlando to London on Sunday afternoon, clear customs in the U.K., then travel by truck to Paul Ricard in time for the two-day test, which begins on Friday.
***Hill said the cars will be prepped to FIA WEC-spec at Sebring late tonight after the race, which includes different electronics and safety related components, as well as the installation of two fresh Honda powerplants. With some of the team’s drivers unavailable due to other commitments, only ESM team owner Scott Sharp and Ed Brown will be present in France.
***The GTD class polesitting No. 33 TI Automotive/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R is the same chassis (No. 001) that burned to the ground at last year’s Sebring race. Meanwhile the second car, the No. 93 Viper, has won three of the last seven GTD races heading into today’s race.
***Only three drivers, Spencer Pumpelly, Andrew Davis and Andy Lally, are pulling double duty this week between today’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Friday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Microsoft Visual Studio 150. Davis has a shot at a double win, after scoring the overall victory on Friday.
***Continental Tire has brought roughly 5,400 tires to Sebring to accommodate two series and a total of 14.5 hours of racing this week. All cars run on Continental’s Black compound.
***Watch flag-to-flag coverage of today’s race between the FOX family of networks and IMSA.com. The race will be on from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1, 12:30-7 p.m. on FOX Sports 2, 7-10 p.m. on IMSA.com and 10-11 p.m. FOX Sports 2. Full radio coverage for the duration of the race will be provided on IMSA Radio.