Race updates from the 12 Hours of Sebring

Neel Jani leads the field away at the drop of the green flag. (Photo: John Dagys)
John Dagys/© John Dagys

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Hour 10:

Jordan Taylor continues to lead for Wayne Taylor Racing with two hours remaining as battles throughout the field have started to heat up in the 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque have been locked in an internecine Cadillac DPi-V.R scrap at the front of the field. Taylor took the advantage from his Action Express Racing rival with just over two and half hours remaining with deft maneuver in Turn 17 while in the midst of GT traffic and has not relinquished it since.

Mike Conway has the No. 31 Action Express entry back within a lap of the race leaders with the No. 85 JDC-Miller Oreca 07 Gibson three laps back in fourth.

A recent full course caution for No. 27 GTD Dream Racing Lamborghini coming to a stop on track helped aid Conway in getting closer to the leaders and tighten the battles throughout the field.

GT Le Mans has Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT’s running in the top two spots in the class, led by Joey Hand in the No. 66 entry.

Scott Dixon is giving chase in the 67 followed by Antonio Garcia in the last remaining Corvette C7.R, Oliver Pla in the No. 68 Ford, the No. 911 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki, and James Calado in the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE, all of whom are on the lead lap.

Jeroen Bleekemolen continues to lead GT Daytona for Riley Team AMG, but nine cars remain on the lead lap and in contention in the class.

Hour 8:

Alex Lynn leads the 65th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring over Christian Fittipaldi with four hours left in the race.The race crossed the eight-hour threshold under the fourth full course caution of the race which was caused when the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 of Sage Karam came to a halt on track.

That car has dealt with suspension issues throughout the race, but this appeared to be an unrelated occurrence.

Cadillac’s dominance at the top of the field has not waned since the No. 13 Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson, which was the early pace setter, hit trouble in the opening hours.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry swept into the lead in the most recent pit sequence when the crew took advantage of their fuel mileage advantage to fill the tank of their Cadillac DPi-V.R, change tires, and swap drivers in less time than it took their Action Express Racing counterparts.

Lynn left the pits with an advantage of over four seconds after Ricky Taylor entered the pits in second just behind Fittipaldi.

JDC-Miller Motorsports continues to hold second with Misha Goikhberg behind the wheel, but their Oreca has dropped three seconds off of the race lead.

Billy Johnson leads the GTLM field in the No. 68 Ford GT, but the top six cars in the class remain on the lead lap.

The No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Mario Farnbacher is at the top of the GT Daytona field, while Kyle Masson is the class leader in Prototype Challenge for Performance Tech Motorsports.

The eight-hour mark saw the distribution of the next set of Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup points. The final NAEC points of the weekend will be paid at the completion of the race.

Hour 6:

Joao Barbosa leads the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the halfway mark, in what’s been a dominant run so far for the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs.

Barbosa’s Action Express Racing entry holds a 1.7-second lead over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac of Ricky Taylor, with Misha Goikhberg running third in the best of the Gibson-powered LMP2s in third.

A number of other Prototypes have fallen by the wayside, most notably the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, which has been retired with mechanical issues after running as high as sixth.

The No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson is behind the wall with alternator issues, after clawing back one of its two lost laps early, while the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, which has been in and out of the garage with engine and starter motor issues.

Trouble has also hit the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motordsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, with shifting/electrical issues.

As a result, only four P class cars remain in the fight, rounded out by the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac, which remains three laps down after stalling on track in the third hour.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing runs 1-2 in GT Le Mans, with the No. 67 Ford GT of Scott Dixon ahead of Stefan Muecke in the UK-run No. 68 car.

The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 paces Prototype Challenge, running fifth overall, while Richard Antinucci is out front in GT Daytona in the No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

The race’s third full-course caution came out just prior to the sixth hour mark for an accident by the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM of Nicky Catsburg, which was delayed by multiple issues earlier in the race.

There’s also been problems for both the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Cooper MacNeil, who had wheel/suspension issues, and the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, which also went behind the wall with suspension woes.

Hour 4:

Filipe Albuquerque holds a comfortable lead over Jordan Taylor after four hours in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, marking the first chance for teams to earn points toward the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R has led largely unchallenged since the most recent restart, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac moving up into second after a fierce duel between Alex Lynn and Chris Miller in the third place No. 85 Oreca 07 Gibson for JDC-Miller Motorsports.

Only the top three cars remain on the lead lap in the Prototype class, with the No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca running fourth one lap behind the leaders and the No. 22 ESM Nissan Onroak DPi in fifth two laps off the pace.

Richard Westbrook leads a Ford GT 1-2 in GT Le Mans ahead of Sebastien Bourdais.

The front-running No. 67 entry is on a slightly different fuel strategy than the rest of the GTLM front runners, allowing Bourdais in the No. 66 has worked his way up to the lead for a time during a cycle of pit stops.

Riley Team AMG continues to lead in GT Daytona with Jeroen Bleekemolen holding down the top spot over Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa.

The defending GTLM class-winning No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R has been forced to retire after encountering overheating issues that cannot be remedied at the track.

Problems also arose for two Prototype teams, as the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P of Spencer Pigot which was pulled into the garage after a lengthy pit stop that saw the team spend significant time under the engine cowling.

Shortly thereafter, the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson returned to the garage due to shifting issues.

Eric Curran spins out after leading:

Eric Curran has spun out of the lead, with issues for the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the third hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Contact between Curran’s contact and the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi of Johannes van Overbeek resulted in both cars getting turned around in Turn 17 and the defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion unable to re-fire his Cadillac.

It’s resulted in the race’s second full-course caution of the race.

Teammate Filipe Albuquerque now leads in the No. 5 Cadillac, with Alex Lynn now second in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac and the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Misha Goikhberg into third.

A starter motor issue for the No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca Gibson put Neel Jani two laps down early in the third hour, after charging back to third following a pit lane penalty.

The No. 66 Ford GT of Sebastien Bourdais leads GT Le Mans, with the No. 33 AMG Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen out front in GT Daytona.

Kyle Masson, meanwhile, paces Prototype Challenge in the No. 38 Performance Tech Oreca FLM09.

Water temperature issues for the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, which went behind the wall in the second hour, has ended in the first retirement of the race, while the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan is also behind the wall with boost issues.

The No. 70 Mazda RT24-P, which suffered a heavy crash in the hands of Joel Miller after brake failure, meanwhile, has returned to action, 40 laps behind.

Hour 1:

Dane Cameron leads the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after the first hour, capitalizing on pit lane miscues from the pole-sitting Rebellion Racing entry.

Cameron and the No. 31 Action Express Racing DPi-V.R leapfrogged Neel Jani in the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson after the first round of pitstops which saw the Rebellion team suffer a slow stop and receive a drive-through penalty for an improperly manner fire bottle.

Christian Fittipaldi runs second in the sister Action Express entry with the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac up to third with Ricky Taylor behind the wheel.

Dirk Mueller leads GT Le Mans in the No. 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, while Connor De Phillippi showing the way in GT Daytona for Land Motorsport in his Audi R8 LMS.

Problems hit the pole sitters in both GT classes before the race even began.

In GT Le Mans, the No. 67 Ford GT encountered an unspecified mechanical issue on the grid and missed the formation lap, forcing the car to start at the back of the GT field and serve a drive-through penalty.

The Tristan Vautier-driven SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 also was forced to the back of the GT field and issued a drive through for a fuel-cell related violation.

Issues have also materialized for the defending race winners in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi and the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM.

Pipo Derani made multiple pit stops in the ESM machine, which has gone behind the wall with issues, a likely recurrence of the overboost problem that has plagued the team throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, the No. 24 BMW made a visit to the garage after suffering a reported major vibration but has since returned.