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Continental Tire Sebring Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ Continental Tire post-race notebook from Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring…

Photo: IMSA

***Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race-winning No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi of Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Nico Lapierre featured the only lineup comprised entirely of previous race winners.

***Each driver picked up their second overall Sebring win, with Derani and van Overbeek claiming their second win in three years, also with ESM, and Lapierre returning to Sebring victory lane for the first time since taking Team ORECA Matmut’s Peugeot 908 HDi FAP to overall honors in 2011.

***Nissan, meanwhile, claimed its first Sebring overall victory in 24 years, when Steve Millen, Johnny O’Connell and John Morton combined to win in a Clayton Cunningham Racing-entered Nissan 300ZX in 1994.

***Overheating concerns shared pre-race from the Cadillac teams never fully materialized, despite the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R needing multiple top-ups of water throughout the race, as well as several for the No. 31 Action Express Racing entry, which completed the podium in third.

***Jordan Taylor said WTR came well prepared for the task on Saturday. “The guys came up with a strategy on Thursday night and practiced all day Friday, talked with IMSA about the rules and what we were allowed to do,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “The guys built up all the equipment here on site, which was great work to invent something new for that. It worked perfectly maintaining certain pressures and temperatures. Amd as drivers, we were able to drive and not worry about it.”

***Action Express’ Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr have taken over the lead of the Prototype drivers’ championship, ahead of CORE autosport’s Colin Braun and Jon Bennett, who narrowly missed out on another overall podium result, finishing fourth. Bennett, meanwhile, again claimed the Jim Truman Award.

***The No. 5 Action Express entry saw its four-year streak of completing every lap at Sebring end after an accident with the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca in the eighth hour. “I don’t know what he was doing, maybe he was coming to pit lane,” Joao Barbosa said. “But I was already there and he was blocking the track and I hit him. There was nothing I could do.”

***Tristan Vautier’s violent late-race accident in Turn 17 saw pieces of his Spirit of Daytona Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R get collected by a number of cars. Spencer Pigot pitted with a chunk of Vautier’s headlight attached to his No. 55 Mazda RT24-P, while Tom Dyer collected the Cadillac DPi’s splitter and other parts that caused significant nose damage to the No. 69 HART Acura NSX GT3.

***Both the damaged HART hood, as well as one of MSR’s hoods, were reported stolen post-race from the Sebring paddock.

***Nick Tandy has become the latest driver to achieve the unofficial ‘triple crown of endurance’ with victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2015, overall), Rolex 24 at Daytona (2014) and now at Sebring. The Englishman also earned overall honors in the 2015 Motul Petit Le Mans, with all of his wins coming in Porsche machinery.

***Corvette Racing was unable to claim its fourth consecutive Sebring class win in GTLM following a multitude of problems for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, which made multiple trips to the garage for alternator, steering and brake issues. The No. 4 entry, meanwhile, finished one lap behind in sixth.

***Both of the Ford GTs also had a tough race, after first colliding with each other on pit lane in the second hour. It was followed by heavy contact for the No. 66 car of Dirk Mueller, who collected a stalled car and caused a chain reaction on a restart. Mueller was forced to ultimately retire in the final 90 minutes when the car stopped on track to bring out the race’s 11th and final caution.

***The No. 67 Ford, which was leading with less than four hours to go, lost time when a short in the car’s headlights caused the team to pit off-cycle. Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon finished fourth in class.

***Saturday’s runner-up finish for the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alessandro Balzan, Gunnar Jeannette and Cooper MacNeil marked MacNeil’s first podium finish since he and Jeannette’s GTD class win at Long Beach last year. It came after a pre-race scare for MacNeil, who spent time in the emergency room Friday evening due to a peanut allergy.

***Seven different manufacturers finished in the top-seven in GTD, the most diverse finishing order in WeatherTech Championship history.

***Despite pre-race concerns from a number of teams, not a single refuel was outside of IMSA’s newly mandated minimum fill times in the race. IMSA established a 30-second minimum for full fuel fills for Prototype, 34 seconds for GT Le Mans and 40 seconds for GT Daytona, with teams able to choose its own sized refueling restrictor for the first time.

***The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca carried the names of the lives lost from last month’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Team owner Brent O’Neill’s daughter, Danielle, was among the survivors from the mass shooting, which killed 17 people and has led to a nationwide campaign for gun control.

***Patrick Dempsey and Milo Ventimiglia, the star of the NBC hit TV show “This is Us”, were guests of IMSA and Porsche on Saturday. Ventimiglia has been linked to the starring role in the upcoming “The Art of Racing in the Rain” film, which is expected to begin production later this year, with Dempsey as a co-producer.

***Wright Motorsports could debut its second Porsche 911 GT3 R entry by as early as the Detroit round in June. As revealed by Sportscar365 in January, the Ohio-based team has been working to field an additional GTD entry, with Wright’s former Pirelli World Challenge driver Michael Schein tipped to be one the drivers.

***Preparations continue for the inaugural Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore, which is set for Nov. 9-11 at Sebring. The four-hour race will feature LMP3, GT3, GT4 and TCR machinery. IMSA President Scott Atherton told Sportscar365 that a full rules announcement is expected to come in the “near future.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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