JDC-Miller Motorsports has claimed victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Sebastien Bourdais taking the Minnesota-based privateer squad to top overall honors in a drama-filled Florida endurance classic.
Bourdais survived a late-race restart and an issue with the wing on his Cadillac DPi-V.R to edge out the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell by 1.435 seconds at the line.
It came in a frantic final 20 minutes that saw the top five DPis finish within 5.5 seconds of each other.
An accident for the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maro Engel set up the shootout to the finish, where Tincknell put pressure on the Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac until the checkered flag.
He came under attack on the final lap by Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 48 Action Express Racing Cadillac.
Bourdais shared top honors with fellow Frenchmen Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval, who claimed victory ten years after his first Sebring win in an ORECA-run Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.
The Ally-sponsored Cadillac, featuring NASCAR Cup Series star Jimmie Johnson, crossed the line in third with Kobayashi but was moved to last in class due to co-driver Simon Pagenaud exceeding the four-hour maximum drive time in a six-hour period earlier in the race.
It promoted the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 of Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla and Juan Pablo Montoya to a podium finish, courtesy of Cameron’s pass on the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura DPi of Alexander Rossi on the final restart.
Rossi was fourth in the Rolex 24-winning WTR entry alongside Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque.
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R appeared to be en route to victory until Scott Dixon made contact with the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi with 1 hour and 10 minutes to go while trying to enter pit lane.
Renger van der Zande, who starred in portions of the race, brought the car home two laps down in fifth.
It was a day to forget for Action Express, with its other Cadillac DPi failing to get to the finish due to mechanical issues.
The pole-sitting No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac lost three laps early with a broken steering rack after Pipo Derani and van der Zande made contact in Turn 17, followed by a clash with Vautier before the car lost drive on-track with 1 hour and 54 minutes to go to bring out a yellow.
PR1/Mathiasen Dominates LMP2
LMP2 class honors went to the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Mikkel Jensen, Ben Keating and Scott Huffaker, in a controlling run.
Jensen finished 2.587 seconds ahead of the Rolex 24 class-winning No. 18 Era Motorsport entry of Ryan Dalziel, Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman.
Dalziel got back on to the lead lap during the race’s eighth and final full course caution and pressured Jensen in the closing stages.
The Era entry took over second after a violent accident by Timothe Buret in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport Oreca, which rolled after impacting the Turn 2 barriers with less than three hours to go.
Buret was evaluated and released from the infield medical center.
The No. 22 United Autosports Oreca, in its WeatherTech Championship return, completed the class podium, benefitting from Buret’s crash as well as electrical issues for the class pole-sitting No. 11 WIN Autosport Oreca, which was an early retirement.
CORE Rebounds for LMP3 Class Honors
A late-race charge by Colin Braun saw CORE autosport score class victory in LMP3, bouncing back from a multiple-lap deficit.
Braun got into the lead in the final 90 minutes of the race following a wave-by and extended his advantage over the pair of Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissans, which had led the majority of the race.
He shared top class honors with Jon Bennett and George Kurtz.
The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier LMP3 led the majority of the race until a long stop with three hours to go due to non-functioning headlights.
It briefly gave the class lead to the sister No. 91 entry, which finished second in class with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Dylan Murry and Jim Cox.
Spencer Pigot brought the No. 74 car home third.
RESULTS: 12H Sebring