IMSA admitted two incorrect calls were made during Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
A penalty was assessed to the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America, a stop-and-hold plus 80-second penalty, for contact deemed to have occurred between it and the No. 49 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 at Turn 7 in the race’s eighth hour.
The problem was, the No. 49 Ferrari was contacted by a Porsche – twice – and neither time was it the No. 22 car.
Both the No. 911 and No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs made contact with the No. 49 Ferrari during the race. The No. 911 hit the No. 49 at Turn 5, and the No. 912 later hit the No. 49 at Turn 7.
IMSA admitted the mistakes were made with the assessing of the penalty to the No. 22, and failing to call the No. 911 for an incident as well.
The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR was not given a penalty, IMSA admitted. That car went on to win the GT Le Mans class.
Job explained his side of the situation in an interview during the race’s live stream on IMSA.com.
“I wanted to go to the tower and request to see the video,” Job explained. “They showed me the video. As they were showing, I could see the ‘oops’ coming out of there.
“The 22 was way ahead of the incident. It was one of the white (factory) RSRs that made contact with the Ferrari.
“The other comment we saw was the in-car video showed the rest. The Michelin in-car video is on the roof, which makes it hard to understand how it could be ruled that way.”
While the factory PNA 911s and WeatherTech-backed AJR have similar white-and-grey liveries, they are in separate classes (GTLM and GTD, respectively) and have separate tire partners in Michelin and Continental Tire.
Job continued: “They said they would discuss it and work on it and do whatever they could. At the very least, I think they need to calculate the lost time, the 80 second hold plus the time through the pit, going into and out of the pit.
“I believe we were running second. So that’s a lot of lost track position. It’s a difficult situation.”
With all that outlined, Elkins came into the media center briefly after the race’s conclusion to explain what happened from IMSA’s perspective.
“I think everybody knows and everyone saw the interview with Alex Job,” Elkins said. “The series tonight actually made a couple of incorrect calls during the event.
“The nature of racing is, it makes it very difficult for us to take those back. The calls involved the 22 car and the 911 car.
“I think everybody knows the way we view our analysis is via video. We had some very conclusive video… but we involved the wrong cars. It just so happened both of those cars were white Porsches. Both had in-car cameras.
“There’s nothing that we can do in terms of taking time away and doing anything to the results. We’re sorry, and we made a mistake. We have some things in place to fix it for the next time.”
Because this particular incident occurred earlier in the race, rather than on the last lap as was the GTD finish at Daytona that involved a penalty issued and later rescinded, Elkins said there was nothing further that could be done in terms of post-race time penalties issued.
“There is no way for us to actually affect change the way it is,” he said. “To take time away, what that does, it means we’re making another bad decision on top of an already bad decision.
“It just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t allow us to correct the right or wrong.”
Elkins confirmed the penalty assessed to the No. 22 was non-appealable. That car finished fourth in GTD this race, just off the podium.
Job, in his IMSA.com interview, confirmed they needed to serve the penalty, couldn’t argue it, and had one final lap to serve it or else stop being scored.
Sportscar365 will have more on this developing story.