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Porsche Claims GTLM Honors; Paul Miller Lamborghini Wins GTD

Nick Tandy holds off Alexander Sims for GTLM class win at Sebring…

Photo: MPS Agency

Nick Tandy secured the first major endurance win for the mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR by holding off Alexander Sims in the final hour to take GT Le Mans honors in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Tandy and co-drivers Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki went to the front with just under two hours remaining when Pilet muscled past Toni Vilander’s Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE in Turn 17.

Solid work by the Porsche crew on the final pit stop kept the Porsche in the lead despite the best efforts of Sims in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE, which ran at the front all day for BMW Team RLL.

Sims managed to cut a five-second deficit down to under three seconds in the half hour but could get no closer, ultimately finishing 6.230 seconds behind the class winners.

Laurens Vanthoor ensured both Porsches were represented on the class podium with a strong final stint in the No. 912 entry.

The victory for the No. 911 was the second win in international competition following its maiden victory at Lime Rock Park last year.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe, Risi Competizione’s Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Oliver Gavin of Corvette Racing finished fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.

The top five in class all finished on the lead lap.

While the No. 25 BMW carried the torch, the sister No. 24 entry was sidetracked by front end damage in the fifth hour after leading in the early going and was credited with a seventh-place finish.

The No. 3 Corvette C7.R suffered through a variety of maladies, most notably a recurring alternator problem that appeared to materialize just over an hour into the race.

It was scored in eighth, followed by the No. 66 Ford GT, which had to be towed back to the pits with 80 minutes left in the race after stopping on track.

Late Pass Gives Paul Miller Racing GT Daytona Class Win

Bryan Sellers made an audacious outside pass of Jeroen Bleekemolen in Turn 1 with 47 minutes remaining to GT Daytona honors.

Sellers and Paul Miller Racing co-drivers Madison Snow and Corey Lewis hung around the front of the field for the bulk of the race in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and led going into the final round of pit stops.

That changed briefly in the final hour when quick pit work by Riley Team AMG got Jeroen Bleekemolen out ahead of Sellers, but the Dutchman couldn’t keep the Lamborghini behind him for long.

Once around the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Sellers pulled away and held on for the win by 8.169 seconds over Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.

Balzan began the final hour fourth in class but caught and passed Christopher Mies in the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS and then Bleekemolen’s Mercedes to finish second.

The victory at Sebring marks the second-consecutive major endurance class triumph for Lamborghini after Grasser Racing Team’s victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month.

The Land trio of Mies, Sheldon van der Linde, and Alessio Picariello, meanwhile, took fourth with Jack Hawksworth’s 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 completing the top-five in class.

The top 10 cars in GTD all finished on the lead lap.

RESULTS: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Keith

    March 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Awesome!!!! Not a corvette in sight!!!!

    • Andres

      March 17, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      Ok, so when a car that is competitive via BOP as te M8 and the 911 are on top there is nothing wrong, but then if is a Corvette there is so much bad, fuck off man with that stupid logic

      • Breathe

        March 17, 2018 at 11:34 pm

        Chill out man. No need to resort to personal insults.

      • E. Raab

        March 18, 2018 at 1:12 am

        Shame Andre that violence is the only ‘ace’ up your sleeve.

    • J.C.

      March 17, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      I knew there would be a corvette comment… hahahah

    • JDMs are best

      March 18, 2018 at 1:43 am

      So, can we stop to blame IMSA always gives unfair BOP ?

    • Jason

      March 18, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Maybe for Sebring, it come Le Mans we want the yellow cars fighting for victory. Hope this not a bad sighn

  2. MotorWorks

    March 17, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    BMW BoP assistance went too far, they better get dialed back next time.

    • Trevor

      March 17, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      It wasn’t that far off; maybe a small boost adjustment to dial back the mid-range grunt. A weight drop for the Ferrari, Ford and Vette is probably in order along with a freer restrictor for the Chevy

    • tracer

      March 18, 2018 at 6:30 am

      I watched several hours of the #24 BMW’s in-car feed, basically switching over from the main TV feed whenever it was running in close quarters with another GTLM car. Over the course of the race it was quite clear that M8 had a decent power advantage only in the upper end of the power band compared to the rest of the GTLM field. However, the BMWs also appeared to be managing noticeable power oversteer that made the car a handful to drive towards the end of a stint. If anything, the Bimmers only need to be pegged back slightly in upper end power, IMO.

      The entire GTLM field was remarkably well balanced, probably the best I’ve seen across the board in the last two seasons. Kudos to the IMSA technical team for getting this one right. Will be interesting to compare how things shake out in the WEC with their auto-BOP system.

  3. GimmeShelter

    March 17, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Congrats to Team Porsche for a brilliant win!

  4. speedy

    March 17, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Corvette C7R is showing it’s age, BOP is not going to help that. Time to bring in these new gear, C8/C8R mid-engine.

    • Ron L.

      March 18, 2018 at 1:52 am

      The Ford GT is state of the art and it didn’t do much better. Besides, I think the Vette won the GTLM championship last year.

    • Andres

      March 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Is not an outdated car, is all about being slowed from Petit Lemans to this year after winning the championship.
      FACT: GM willl never make a mid engined Corvette, it will never gonna happen, so stop dreaming about that stuff

      • Passenger

        March 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        C8 spied car has been caught, It is clearly a mid engine Corvette.

        • gmsux

          March 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm

          Been hearing about a midengine ‘vette for over 20 years.

          Ain’t gonna happen.

  5. Bodyworker

    March 18, 2018 at 12:20 am

    …Congratulations to Team Porsche , for the first Win with the new RSR at one of the great Endurance – races..!

    …after the sobering results last Year and especially at the end of January’s 24 Hours of Daytona , thats what they really deserve…

  6. E. Raab

    March 18, 2018 at 1:11 am

    For both 911’s to finish on the podium, everything absolutely had to come right, and the hard work paid off.
    Amazing how close even the 12 and 24 hour races are, with just seconds difference in most of the finishers. Kudos to
    all the other teams who worked just as hard.

    Le Mans should be very interesting again this year! It’ll be
    here before you know it.

    Ervin Raab

  7. Jeremy

    March 18, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Congrats to Paul Miller racing ! Sellers showed his experience and some balls with that final stint that lambo is fast! The only full season lambo is looking good in the points !
    Congrats to Nick Tandy also he’s truly an ace, just as Sims was gaining in the clearly faster bmw , he found a way to run purple sector times to keep Sims from ever being a factor ! Great stuff

  8. speedy

    March 18, 2018 at 3:16 am

    Yes Corvette Racing won these championship last year, but there car has not had any type of engine updates done to it, and that’s there fault nobody else. Yes these is bop but still you keep updating your car went it’s old to stay in these game, until you get your new one out. Right now corvette racing is going to back runner’s for these rest of these season, I will be surprise if the win any thing this year, it’s there own fault.

    • Ron L.

      March 18, 2018 at 6:17 am

      What does it matter if they update the engine? They already have more power than BOP allows. That’s why their engines have restrictors. Cadillac uses Corvette engines and does quite well.

      • Andres

        March 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

        Cadillac does not use Corvette engines, the C7R engine is an LT block with direct fuel injection and being forced to reduce its displacement from 6.2 to 5.5 litres, and even with all of that handicap they have an outright advantage in low end torque, so in tracks like Long Beach or Laguna Seca they will be like the class of the field if not by another Bop restriction to them, and is not a damn old car, it has more time of developement than the Ferrari or the new M8

        • Robeses

          March 18, 2018 at 11:49 am

          GM uses dated, tired, recycled “technology”, and should have died a capitalists death when they went bankrupt for pawning off all disposable, pre-planed obsolescence to the public. Trucks, tattoo’s, and guns…manufactured 21st Century “manhood”.

          • Andres

            March 18, 2018 at 1:37 pm

            What has all of this to do with motorsports?? you just posted something out of sense in every aspect

          • Huginn

            March 20, 2018 at 5:29 pm

            You should’ve been aborted.

  9. speedy

    March 18, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Cadillac has a brand new engine, there not these same engine’s, same displacement but not these same engine, it would help a little with these bop, but went you don’t have these power it throws ever thing off, handling, bounce of car etc. And fact it’s not these bop that has them riding in these back, it’s very clear at Daytona and at sebring there doing ever thing they can to stay in the game.

    • Ron L.

      March 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

      The Cadillac uses a GM LT4 6.2 engine–the same as the Z06 Corvette. For 2018 they reduced the displacement to 5.5 in hopes of avoiding the BOP restrictors. The LT4 6.2 engine makes more horsepower than IMSA allows.

      • Andres

        March 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

        Cadillac engine is an LS small block, last year it ran at 6.2 litres, and now it was resized to 5.5, it has nothing to do with Corvettes LT4 engine, the LS engine Cadillac uses does not have direct fuel injection as the C7R has

        • Ron L.

          March 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

          Why would they use an LS engine which is outdated and being phased out in favor of the LT engines? The production Cadillac uses a 6.2 LT4 engine. According to all the articles I’ve read the IMSA Cadillac uses a 6.2 liter LT4 de-stroked to a 5.5 liter.

          • Ron L.

            March 18, 2018 at 11:45 am

            I keep referring to the engine as an LT4 which is partially true. It’s an LT Corvette engine block. But it isn’t an LS which is discontinued.

          • Andres

            March 18, 2018 at 1:46 pm

            GM said themselves that is an LS production based engine in the Cadillac DPI, and in IMSA the P class is not allowed to have engines with direct fuel injection, but GT classes are allowed to do it, this is one of the facts why they use that engine

      • fourloko

        March 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        corvette uses the 7.0 (ls7) block.

  10. Marco

    March 18, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Jammed pedal box for the #33 (Bleekemolen) in the final stint. Unlucky 🙁

    • J.C.

      March 18, 2018 at 10:06 am

      Was wondering what happened… i was pulling for that AMG. Thought maybe the tires fell off quickly.

  11. Mike S.

    March 18, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Man how fast is Balzan? He dispatched Mies and Bleekie two really good drivers in the last 20 minutes. I know Bleekie was trying to hold on to the Merc. Balzan in WT Ferrari, Sellers and company in the Lambo (which was strong all day) were perfect.
    Any word from Risi? They seemed to be just as fast at midrace and seemed to be a car that was on a mission to win. Was it night conditions that affected the setup so just lost pace? Or did I miss a puncture or something?
    Proto driving was dodgey at best. Surprised by some of the moves especially midrace that they were trying to pull off. Vautier finally after several mistakes destroyed his night. I know he can drive GT’s well but he needs more experience in the protos.

    • gtgianlu

      March 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      He drove in Indycar,too

    • John

      March 18, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      They were P2 on the final restart but Risi and the Porsche drove off in T16 to let the BMW past. Looked like just mistakes at the end caused a non-podium finish

  12. speedy

    March 18, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Cadillac said themselves it is a new engine design they said that at Daytona and at sebring this year.

  13. speedy

    March 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    That will change again, a new TT DOHC 4.2-liter V8 engine is coming from Cadillac soon.

  14. fourloko

    March 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    -20kg swing for bmw is quite a lot for 1 adjustment and gaining boost. they probably sandbagged by having the rookies do qualy

  15. Brian

    March 20, 2018 at 8:47 am

    These things are not even fun to watch anymore. The race is predetermined. Who’s turn is it to win next week ?

  16. Jack

    March 20, 2018 at 10:53 am

    So what the heck went wrong at the Rolex 24?

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