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

David Malsher-Lopez
·7-min read

With 2hr40 to go, Acura Team Penske’s #6 car in the hands of Juan Pablo Montoya held a 4.7sec lead Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani, with Olivier Pla and Hunter-Reay third and fourth in the Mazdas and the JDC-Miller Cadillacs of Loic Duval and Matheus Leist in fifth and sixth.

However, the Mazda drivers were about to get an unexpected bonus, because 10mins later Derani was on Montoya’s tail. He attempted to pass at Turn 10, but ran wide, nudged on to the grass by Montoya on corner exit. Derani retaliated at Turn 5 in a doomed attempt at a pass. He spun Montoya off and down to fourth, while incurring both a drive-through penalty and losing three laps getting damage repaired.

That left the Mazdas running 1-2, Pla gradually pulling away from the #55 car now driven by Bomarito, who with 90mins to go, was coming under intense pressure from Duval.

Then Pla pitted from the lead with 80mins to go to hand off to Oliver Jarvis, while Duval pitted the #5 JDC-Miller car and gave up his seat to Bourdais. Bomarito stopped next time by to give the #55 over to Tincknell, with Montoya giving up the #6 Acura ARX-05 to Dane Cameron. That Acura moved into a podium position.

Unfortunately, the #5 AXR Cadillac would have to return to the pits for a new rear end having been struck up the rear by the #912 Porsche, and so Bourdais fell behind teammate Scott Andrews, and two laps off the lead.

Suddenly, cruising to victory 25sec ahead of the sister car, Jarvis suffered a left-rear puncture and ran off the road at Turn 10. Then, as he drove the Mazda back to the pits, the tire let go, sending bodywork spraying down the back straight and caused the first full-course caution for almost three hours.

That left Tincknell in the lead ahead of Cameron, Jarvis, Stephen Simpson in the #85 JDC-Miller car and Bourdais. Following the final restart with 17mins to go, Cameron and Jarvis had a fantastic duel for second place, nine seconds behind Tincknell, until with two laps to go Cameron consolidated his advantage and finished second.

The bigger celebration for the team was that, seven laps down, Taylor and Castroneves – with Alexander Rossi’s adept assistance – clinched Acura Team Penske’s second straight title. It is a first championship win for Castroneves, who famously never won the IndyCar Series title despite his three Indianapolis 500 wins, since 1989!

LMP2 victory went to the PR1/Mathiasen Oreca shared by Patrick Kelly, who had already sealed the drivers' title prior to this race, Scott Huffaker and Simon Trummer.

GT Le Mans: Porsche signs off with victory

Following Porsche’s minor strife at the end of the third quarter, the #25 BMW M8 looked like it had it made, especially when Jordan Taylor’s #3 Corvette suffered left-rear suspension failure. But both Earl Bamber (back in the #912) and Fred Makowiecki in the #911 were keeping Porsche very much in play in the marque’s final IMSA GT Le Mans race. The #24 BMW had, unfortunately, suffered brake issues that cost the crew a lap, dropping them to fourth.

Nick Tandy took over the #911 for the final two stints, and after his last pit stop with 40mins to go, Connor De Phillippi was left with a nine second lead in the #25 BMW M8 that he shares with Colton Herta and Bruno Spengler.

The Mazda-caused yellow brought Tandy and Bamber back within striking distance but they didn’t need to do anything because GTD driver Lawson Aschenbach did it for them, trying to follow de Phillippi through past the GTD leader. He missed his braking point and sent the BMW off the track, so that the M8 had to pit for puncture repair.

Thus Tandy and Bamber were left running first and second, a lap ahead of Krohn, and signed off Porsche's seven-season GT Le Mans venture in perfect style. It was the third successive Sebring win for Tandy and Makowiecki.

GT Daytona: Meyer Shank Acura seals title

With around two hours to go, Matt McMurry’s Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 ceded the lead of the class to first Alessandro Balzan’s Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488, then Pat Long’s Wright Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, but his margin over the fourth placed Riley Motorsports Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 was 20sec, so MSR’s championship appeared safe.

Long stopped with 1h47m to go to hand over to Jan Heylen. The Belgian then whittled his deficit to Balzan until he was less than 1sec behind with 80mins to go. A dozen seconds back, Mario Farnbacher in the MSR Acura was trying to wrest third place away from Roman de Angelis’s Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage, but in fact both were demoted by Aschenbach in the Riley Mercedes through the next stint.

Balzan had extended his lead over Heylen to 4sec by the time they both pitted with under 55mins to go – along with third-placed Aschenbach – and when they emerged, it was Jeff Westphal in the Ferrari and it was 11sec ahead of Long, who quickly gave up second to Aschenbach.

Following the final restart, however, Aschenbach tried to follow the GTLM-leading BMW past Westphal and instead hit the back of the German car and sent it into the Ferrari and off the track. Not only did Aschenbach get a drive-through penalty, he also had terminal damage on the Mercedes.

That left Pat Long to take victory in the Wright Motorsports Porsche he shares with Heylen and Ryan Hardwick, and while it wasn’t enough to prevent MSR Acura from clinching the title by taking third, it was Wright’s first win of the year. Equally impressive, Roman de Angelis drove the HoR Aston Martin into the runner-up position.

Race results:

1

DPi

55

United States
United States

Jonathan Bomarito
Harry Tincknell
Ryan Hunter-Reay

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United States
United States

Mazda DPi

348

2

DPi

6

Colombia
Colombia

Juan Pablo Montoya
Dane Cameron
Simon Pagenaud

United States
United States
France
France

Acura DPi

348

10.154

3

DPi

77

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oliver Jarvis
Tristan Nunez
Olivier Pla

United States
United States
France
France

Mazda DPi

348

11.704

4

DPi

85

Brazil
Brazil

Matheus Leist
Stephen Simpson
Scott Andrews

South Africa
South Africa
Australia
Australia

Cadillac DPi

347

5

DPi

5

France
France

Sébastien Bourdais
Tristan Vautier
Loic Duval

France
France
France
France

Cadillac DPi

346

6

DPi

31

Brazil
Brazil

Felipe Nasr
Pipo Derani
Gabby Chaves

Brazil
Brazil
Colombia
Colombia

Cadillac DPi

346

7

DPi

10

Netherlands
Netherlands

Renger van der Zande
Ryan Briscoe
Scott Dixon

Australia
Australia
New Zealand
New Zealand

Cadillac DPi

342

8

DPi

7

Brazil
Brazil

Helio Castroneves
Ricky Taylor
Alexander Rossi

United States
United States
United States
United States

Acura DPi

341

9

LMP2

52

United States
United States

Patrick Kelly
Simon Trummer
Scott Huffaker

Switzerland
Switzerland
United States
United States

ORECA LMP2 07

340

10

LMP2

8

Canada
Canada

John Farano
Mikkel Jensen
David Heinemeier Hansson

Denmark
Denmark
Denmark
Denmark

ORECA LMP2 07

338

11

LMP2

38

United States
United States

Don Yount
Patrick Byrne
Guy Cosmo

United States
United States
United States
United States

ORECA LMP2 07

332

12

GTLM

911

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Nick Tandy
Frédéric Makowiecki
Earl Bamber

France
France
New Zealand
New Zealand

Porsche 911 RSR - 19

332

13

GTLM

912

New Zealand
New Zealand

Earl Bamber
Laurens Vanthoor
Neel Jani

Belgium
Belgium
Switzerland
Switzerland

Porsche 911 RSR - 19

332

14

GTLM

24

Finland
Finland

Jesse Krohn
John Edwards
Augusto Farfus

United States
United States
Brazil
Brazil

BMW M8 GTE

331

15

GTLM

25

Canada
Canada

Bruno Spengler
Connor de Phillippi
Colton Herta

United States
United States
United States
United States

BMW M8 GTE

330

16

GTLM

3

Spain
Spain

Antonio Garcia
Jordan Taylor
Nick Catsburg

United States
United States
Netherlands
Netherlands

Corvette C8.R

323

17

LMP2

51

Poland
Poland

Jakub Smiechowski
Naveen Rao
Matthew Bell

United States
United States
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

ORECA LMP2 07

320

18

GTD

16

United States
United States

Ryan Hardwick
Patrick Long
Jan Heylen

United States
United States
Belgium
Belgium

Porsche 911 GT3 R

319

19

GTD

23

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ian James
Roman De Angelis
Darren Turner

Canada
Canada
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

319

20

GTD

86

Germany
Germany

Mario Farnbacher
Matt McMurry
Shinya Michimi

United States
United States
Japan
Japan

Acura NSX GT3

319

21

GTD

63

United States
United States

Cooper MacNeil
Alessandro Balzan
Jeff Westphal

Italy
Italy
United States
United States

Ferrari 488 GT3

319

22

GTD

30

United States
United States

Rob Ferriol
Andrew Davis
Pierre Kaffer

United States
United States
Germany
Germany

Audi R8 LMS GT3

319

23

GTD

57

United States
United States

Trent Hindman
Mikhail Goikhberg
Joey Hand

Canada
Canada
United States
United States

Acura NSX GT3

319

24

GTD

44

United States
United States

Andy Lally
John Potter
Spencer Pumpelly

United States
United States
United States
United States

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

319

25

GTD

48

United States
United States

Bryan Sellers
Madison Snow
Corey Lewis

United States
United States
United States
United States

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

318

26

GTD

74

United States
United States

Gar Robinson
Lawson Aschenbach
Marc Miller

United States
United States
United States
United States

Mercedes-AMG GT3

312

27

GTLM

4

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oliver Gavin
Tommy Milner
Marcel Fassler

United States
United States
Switzerland
Switzerland

Corvette C8.R

292

28

GTD

12

United States
United States

Frankie Montecalvo
Townsend Bell
Michael de Quesada

United States
United States
United States
United States

Lexus RC F GT3

266

29

GTD

11

United States
United States

Richard Heistand
Steijn Schothorst
Franck Perera

Netherlands
Netherlands
France
France

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

263

30

GTD

96

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Nick Yelloly
Robby Foley
Dillon Machavern

United States
United States
United States
United States

BMW M6 GT3

235

31

GTD

14

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Jack Hawksworth
Aaron Telitz
Kyle Kirkwood

United States
United States
United States
United States

Lexus RC F GT3

70

View full results