SEBRING, Fla.—The 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has been non-stop action and excitement, a perfect example of what multi-class endurance racing can be at its best.
Hard racing, reliability issues, penalties, collisions, and more hard racing has kept things lively throughout the race. After seven hours, only three caution periods have interrupted the race, while there have been lead changes in every class every hour.
Audi has dominated, as expected, with Benôit Tréluyer in the #1 leading Allan McNish in the #2.
The fights going on behind the leaders have definitely not gone as expected.
One Corvette has lost a lot of time, as has one Viper, while the other Viper, slow all week, actually led GTE for a while. After seven hours, the #4 Corvette driven by Richard Westbrook led Marc Goosens in the #91 Viper and Matteo Malucelli in the #62 Risi Ferrari.
ESM, Level 5, and Greaves shared the P2 lead until accidents, mechanicals, and penalties left Level 5 running 1–2 in P2.
PC and GTC have been equally tumultuous.
Here is a run-down of some of the major events:
Nine minutes into the race, Antonio Garcia in the #3 Vette hit PC pole-sitter Jon Bennett in the #5 Core Autosport Oreca, dropping Bennett back in the field. Garcia got a penalty for avoidable contact, half an hour later pulled into the pits with probably unrelated transmission trouble. The car lost half an hour, then came back in later for another fifteen minutes. The lost time plus the penalty set the car well back, but at least it was finally running right.
he Delta Wing pulled into the pits after 20 minutes of racing, with a broken throttle body. After a long stop, the car rejoined, then started burning, causing the first caution period of the race after 1:45 complete. The car retired, and the field followed the safety car for 20 minutes.
When the race went green, the #02 ESM HPD hit Simon Pagenaud I the #551 Level 5 HPD, wrecking the ESM’s nose. Ed Brown brought it in for repairs. The accident allowed Scott Sharp in the #01 ESM to take the P2 lead.
Sharp lost the lead to Eric Lux in the #41 Greaves Zytek, then took it back.
In GTE, the top eight cars were within 20 seconds, all chasing the #4 Corvette.
After 2:38 completed, Allan McNish, leading the race, hit Mirco Schultis in the #81 DragonSpeed PC Oreca, earning the Scots driver a one-minute penalty. Schhultis spun and continued.
Just before the three-hour mark, Richard Westbrook brought the #4 Corvette into the pits with electrical issues, giving the GTE lead to Joey Hand in the #56 BMW. Adding self-abuse to injury Oliver Gavin, who took over from Westbrook, got popped for speeding leaving the pits and had to serve a stop-and-go.
P2 pole sitter Ryan Briscoe brought the #51 Level 5 HPD in with shifter issues after three-and-a-half hours.
While the Level 5 mechanics were working in the garage, the P2 lead changed on the track, as Simon Pagenuad passed Scott Sharp, who was in the pits for fuel and a driver change. Te GTE lead also changed as Dominik Farnbacher in the #91 Viper GTS-R overtook Joey Hand’s BMW.
After 3:45 run, Ed Brown in the #02 ESM HPD spun off exiting Turn 5 and got hung up on the curb, bringing out the yellow flag for the second time.
Thirty minutes later ESM had more problems: this time it was the #01 driven by David Brabham stopping in Turn 11 which brought out yet another yellow flag.
The race went green with just under six hours complete, with Audi 1–2 in P1, Level 5 1–2 in P2, Olivier Beretta in the #62 Risi Ferrari on top of GTE ahead of the Falken Porsche and #56 BMW, Kyle Marcelli in the #8 Bar 1 leading PC, and John Fogarty in the #11 JDX Porsche ahead in PC.
After six-and-a-half hour, Klaus Graf in the class-leading (P1 privateer) Muscle Milk Pickett HPD hit David Cheng’s PC-leading #51 PR1 Oreca. Graf got a stop-plus-sixty, giving Nicholas Prost in the #13 Rebellion Lola-Toyota third overall.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.