Pit strategy was the name of the game in Saturday’s IMSA Prototype Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway and the No. 7 VOLT Racing with Archangel team played it to perfection.
With just under an hour remaining in the one-hour, 45-minute race, the team brought its bright yellow Ligier JS P230 Nissan with Alan Brynjolfsson at the wheel down pit road for service and to install co-driver Trent Hindman in the cockpit.
A few moments later, the third full-course caution of the day came out when Indy AJ Miller spun into the Turn 17 tire barrier.
The No. 7 machine was just outside the top 10 when the FCY came out, but the top nine cars – including the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan of Moritz Kranz that led throughout the first hour – headed to pit lane just as the green flag came out with 47 minutes to go.
That promoted Hindman to second, just behind new leader Stevan McAleer in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Duqueine, who took over the lead a few seconds before yet another full-course caution came out for a Turn 7 incident involving Natasha Balogh in the No. 33 Jr III Racing Ligier.
The green flag flew again six laps later. Hindman found his way past McAleer before the end of the first lap and set sail, cruising to a 9.390-second victory over Rasmus Lindh in the No. 6 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier.
It was the first IPC victory for Hindman and Brynjolfsson, who have previously won races together in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Hindman also won the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona title.
Lindh and co-driver Dan Goldburg came home second in the No. 6 machine. Already poised for a podium result, Lindh moved into second place when McAleer served a drive-through penalty for passing under full-course caution.
Dakota Dickerson and Josh Sarchet completed the overall and P3-1 class podium with a third-place showing in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier. Naveen Rao and Matt Bell finished fourth in the No. 1 WIN Autosport Duqueine, while Kranz and co-driver Laurents Hoerr wound up fifth in the No. 21 entry.
In the P3-2 class, Francesco Melandri and Nigel Greensall claimed the victory in the No. 24 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 Nissan. It was the first win in the series for both drivers.