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Wayne Taylor Racing Wins 12H Sebring, Leads Cadillac Sweep

Wayne Taylor Racing scores Sebring win, Florida 36H double…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Ricky Taylor edged out Joao Barbosa to give Wayne Taylor Racing and Cadillac victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and a sweep of the “Florida 36 Hours” with wins in North America’s two premier endurance races.

Taylor took his Konica Minolta-sponsored No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R to a 13.614-second victory over Barbosa’s Action Express entry, following a race-long battle between the two Cadillacs.

While it was, at times, a near mirror-image to January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, there was no late-race contact or drama, with the Taylor car stretching out its lead as darkness hit.

The race-winning pass came with less than three hours to go when Jordan Taylor got around Filipe Albuquerque for the lead while in traffic.

A call to short-pit the No. 10 Cadillac with 1 hour and 8 minutes to go, just moments prior to the race’s sixth and final full-course caution, kept Ricky Taylor out ahead and proved to be a pivotal moment in the race.

It was the Taylor brothers second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win, and the first for new third driver Alex Lynn, in his team and series debut.

Jordan Taylor, meanwhile, has become the latest driver to earn the “triple crown” of class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring.

Barbosa, Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi were forced to settle for a runner-up finish for the second straight race, with the sister No. 31 Whelen-backed entry giving Cadillac a sweep of the overall podium.

It came after a charge through the field for defending Prototype champions Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Toyota LMP1 factory ace Mike Conway, after Curran spun the car from the lead in the third hour and lost two laps when it failed to re-fire.

The incident initially promoted the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson to third. It ran in podium contention for much of the race but was unable to match the pace of the Cadillacs and finished fourth.

The around-the-clock enduro proved to be a test of endurance for the majority of P class competitors.

The pole-sitting No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, who showed the most promise to dethrone the Cadillacs, battled electrical issues, leading to an alternator change and multiple trips to the garage before being retired.

Both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis also retired, first the No. 22 car due to a broken exhaust after running as high as fourth, followed by the No. 2 entry, which went behind the wall early with the continuation of boost-related issues from qualifying.

While the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P recorded a fifth place class finish, following a trip to the garage to repair a coolant leak, brake issues led to a crash easy by Joel Miller, which later rejoined only to be retired due to suspension issues.

Shifting issues, meanwhile, plagued the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which soldiered home to 7th in class, behind the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson after multiple trips to the garage with engine and starter motor gremlins.

Prototype Challenge class honors went to the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of James French, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Masson, finishing an impressive fifth overall.

It came in another flawless run for the Brent O’Neill-led team, which as was the case with the Taylor car, scored back-to-back wins to kick off the season.

French crossed the line two laps ahead of the No. 8 Starworks entry of Garett Grist, Maxwell Hanratty and Sean Rayhall, a lineup that was only confirmed on Thursday.

The pair of BAR1 Motorsports prototypes, including the class pole-sitting No. 26 entry, faced setbacks, although both also got to the finish.

Remarkably, all four of the PC entries had clean races on-track, with no notable incidents.

RESULTS: 12H Sebring

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Me

    March 18, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Can’t blame BoP on this result, the three Cadillac teams had a perfect race. Congrats to WTR

    • Anon

      March 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      Tough to even gauge the BoP when almost everyone else breaks down. It seemed pretty good in the first hour, may be a small fuel advantage but that’s it.

    • John Ramella

      March 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

      Can you imagine if IMSA didn’t go DPi and there were only spec P2 in the race…errr… I mean in the garage??

      • Andres

        March 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        In WEC we will se this happen, or maybe not because the P2 class reunning ant 50mph to not explode their engines out, that Gibson engine is pure garbage, even running in full power, it is no match for the Cadillacs

        • Chips O'Toole

          March 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm

          Of course it is no match! It was built as a CHEAP engine for a spec engine series. Why do you think it would ever be competitive with the Caddy without BOP?

          • Andres

            March 19, 2017 at 8:39 pm

            And remember that the Cadillac even being a production based engine, it can perform like a proper race engine

          • thomas

            March 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

            And the Cadillac entry is 6.2L not 4.5. That makes a significant difference.

  2. GimmeShelter

    March 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Fabulous win for the Corvette in GTLM! Garcia was on fire for his last stint. Left the Ford Prototypes in the dust.
    That’s what I’m talking about!

  3. Mike S.

    March 18, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Dios Mio!! If I owned a P2 getting ready for WEC or ELMS I would be sweating bullets. I don’t think the Caddie/Dallara package is just greatest thing since sliced bread but holy cow the P2’s need their own BoP to slow down just to finish and have some reliability. Gees Mazda needs to go back to diesel engine or something. Not really but man terrible.

    • 996corsa

      March 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Totally agree, not the most confidence inspiring start for the global-spec P2 cars.
      I’m sure there are some very nervous WEC P2 team managers at the moment!
      On the bright side, at least one Oreca-Gibson had a reasonably trouble-free run today.
      Which is very good news for the new-look, ALL Oreca, WEC P2 class…
      Once again the “36 hours of Florida” shows it’s value for durability testing, especially on new cars!
      Congrats to all the teams, I think it was an excellent 12hrs of Sebring.

    • Passin theTaurus~

      March 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      Rebellion had their car up to 220mph at Aragon. I don’t think they’re sweating yet. Let’s get to summer first…at least spring lol

      • Andres

        March 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Yes, 220mph at a fast circuit with a low drag configuration, that is not impressive at all, more when you can do it only two or three times and then the engine goes on fire literally because is complete garbage

    • Name

      March 19, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Thing with Mazda is I think they ruined the aerodynamic pace of their car, and had to crank up an already fragile engine to make up the time. The Caddys and Nissans seem to have got the formula right (Nissan just facing teething issues which will be worked out). Mazda needs an engine with more displacement at the least, but new bodywork closer to spec would help.

      I wonder if IMSA would allow changes or if Mazda is going to be stuck trying to get a crap package to work.

      • Jareth Belanger

        March 20, 2017 at 12:44 am

        IIRC the mazda’s are running at the same power as the rest of the field around. So it’s not the aero. P2’s are a lot more powerful this year. I think Mazda needs to consider something with more displacement than a bottle of mountian dew.

  4. Jeremy

    March 19, 2017 at 12:09 am

    The Cadillac package seems to still be in a class of
    It’s own. Great effort for the 55 Mazda to muster up a 5 th place finish after all the gremlins it faced all race. As a Mazda fan I’m impressed with the reliability of the AER engine at this point but much less impressed with the overall preparedness of the speed source squad for this race . #70 car with “failed brakes” early on and “cracks in the suspension ” . I understand Sebring takes a toll on equipment but this seems to be the trend lately. Hoping the shorter races they will have a better shot. Great job by the corvette and the ferarri to put forth a stellar effort to prevent chip ganassi and Ford from dominating in sheer force with numbers in this one . The elusive “triple
    Crown” is still up for grabs !

  5. John

    March 19, 2017 at 12:31 am

    BoP can only blunt objective on track performance (and that’s only if IMSA is willing).

    What it can’t address is the benefit of a well-funded factory-backed program, with a well-sorted car run by well-sorted teams.

    In those respects, they’re in a class by themselves, and that’s what the results reflect.

    Mazda created a pretty car, but its potential seems to be limited by the budget, and the team running the car.

    Nissan has a hand in ESM’s program, but it’s undoubtedly a small one.

    A bunch of privateers running spec P2 cars may be able to scrum with Mazda and Nissan to grab a podium here and there, but are no match for a proper factory effort.

    The only potential serious challenger I see is Honda, and that’s going to depend on how $eriou$ their commitment to a program is, and whether they can sign Penske to run it.

    It will probably be boring to see GM (and Ford) winning most of the time, but they’ve both stepped fully to the plate, and no matter how much IMSA tinkers with the formula, that’s going to be hard to overcome.

    The reality is that the Goliaths are going to have it covered most of the time.

    • Tyler

      March 19, 2017 at 12:46 am

      “What it can’t address is the benefit of a well-funded factory-backed program, with a well-sorted car run by well-sorted teams” Most true statement here.

      • moi

        March 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        I think Tyler has found the secret

    • Chips O'toole

      March 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

      I generally agree about Honda and how much they are going to want to spend, but given there recent track record in delivering results in any series I’m skeptical they have the will to be more than just a participant.

      I fear that since Cadillac has stated they are interested in selling cars to more teams (Vist Florida?) the prospect of diverse manufacturer competition and podiums will be lost.

  6. Mike S.

    March 19, 2017 at 1:43 am

    I seriously don’t think Mazda will finish even at Long Beach. I have no confidence. Not that I don’t want them to finish because if all these Dpi’s and P2’s can actually battle it would be epic but might take a lot of the season before that might even happen at this point. Mazda been going backward since the change even back to gasoline AER engine. Lost that initial gain and going backward again.

  7. Jenner

    March 19, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Just as Formula 1 has been dominated by Mercedes’ the last few years, it looks like Cadillac will be doing the same this year in IMSA.

    Hopefully GTLM will provide something worth watching.

    • Kirk

      March 20, 2017 at 12:29 am

      But F1 doesn’t have BoP. No car will win too many races as IMSA will constantly be adjusting things. Expect more restrictor changes or added weight to the Caddy’s before the next race.

      • thomas

        March 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

        Given how even the cars were in qualifying I doubt there will be very much change made.

  8. KW

    March 19, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Currently the Cadillacs are the only competitors that are really well prepared for the first season of the new regulations. It will probably be not before end of this year that we will see an overall win by another car.
    Still I wonder why the Rebellion Oreca is consistently suffering from electrical gremlins (already at Daytona), while the same car in the hands of JDC/Miller can go 12 hours with no problem. My advice to the Rebellion guys would be to change the complete electrical wiring; somewhere there must be a wrong cable in the right plug…

  9. Luna

    March 19, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Mazda needs another engine and another team than Speedsource……
    But John Doonan is confident…

    • David

      March 21, 2017 at 2:06 am

      When will heads roll at Speed Source? Seriously! Something needs to change.

  10. Luna

    March 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    It looks like the ACO people were at the race. Certainly proudly looking to the performance of their LMP2….

    • Andres

      March 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Looking how they chosen a crappy spec engine for the class

  11. Steven

    March 19, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Can Dyson Racing please come back and revive the Mazda program?

    • Matt

      March 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Mazda needs to hand the cars over to Dyson. They used to run these 2.0L AER engines with nowhere near the amount of problems Speedsource is having.

      • George 917-30

        March 20, 2017 at 8:56 am

        I remember Dyson having trouble with everything they ran after the 962’s and Riley MkIII’s, though they had a few good results with the Lola EX257’s in a David vs Goliath situation with Audi. Even there the main problems were with the AER engines (an unsolvable vibration in the power plant, for one). They never seemed to get a handle on the Porsches. The later Lola’s had many engine problems .At this point I think that the Riley/Multimatic platform is a question mark, needs more miles. I do hope that Speedsource can get some good runs for both cars under their belt soon – and credit to Mazda for fully embracing the DPI concept in such a beautiful way.

  12. Avery

    March 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

    AXR 5 was outclassed by WTR and even Whelen teammates, in the pits especially. Had the 31 not collided with the 22, then it probably would have beaten the 5.

  13. elVeloz

    March 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    since 2014, Prototype category is just an General Motors show (but now with a Porsche 919 copycat).

    • thomas

      March 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

      except for the Oreca on pole. And that lead. And the competitive Nissan-Ligier, Ligier and at times even Riley cars.

      Or for that matter last year’s Ligier-Honda that won Daytona and Sebring…

      • Andy Flinn

        March 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm

        Thomas, let elVeloz have his rant. At this stage, pointing out that Ligier P2s won three (Daytona, Sebring and Petit) of the big four IMSA races last year, the faltering Rebellion Oreca Gibson that sat on the pole at Sebring and other facts is only going to confuse him.

        Just three years ago, the P2 partisans insisted that the DPs needed to be sped up and the P2s not slowed down. Now they are arguing for the exact opposite for the Cadillac DPis.

        Like Daytona, most of the LMP2-spec photos suffered problems at Sebring that knocked them out of contention.

        There was no way they were going to come back and win – even if they had Porsche LMP1 money. The Cadillacs are to strong and well-prepared.

  14. Brad

    March 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve been attending the Sebring 12-hr since 1996 (missed 2005-2007), and this was one of the best I’ve seen. Rebellion on pole was nice, and the AXR/ Rebellion/ WTR/ VFL battle was awesome until the non-caddies suffered mechanical issues. Even after Rebellion, etc. broke, WTR and AXR had a great duel to the end. Well done!

    The GT classes were fun as usual, and I cannot help but be impressed by the Corvette team- they are the best!

    Overall, terrific car and manufacturer diversity. Great racing, and the lack of caution periods/ good driving/ solid performances by at least the top 2 PC cars was refreshing. Conti Cup was exciting, and the P3 cars were way-cool!

    Well done, IMSA. Well done to the teams- you can’t BoP the talent and level of preparation that have come to define Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express! See you at Road America!

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