Nick Tandy shook off the pair of Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs to claim GT Le Mans class victory for the No. 911 Porsche crew in Saturdsay’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The Englishman had a manageable lead over Ryan Briscoe and Joey Hand wiped out with 15 minutes to go when a full-course caution was called to retrieve a parked GT Daytona class car, bringing the two Ford drivers right onto the Porsche 911 RSR’s tail.
Tandy, who shared the No. 911 machine with Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki, was able to negotiate the surrounding traffic and hold off Hand by 1.951 seconds at the checkered flag after Briscoe spun.
It marked the second consecutive Sebring victory for the Tandy/Pilet/Makowiecki combination.
Porsche didn’t feature extensively in the GTLM lead battle throughout the race but the German manufacturer rose to prominence in the final two hours when Tandy made a string of overtakes at a restart to reach second position.
This put him right behind Briscoe when the final round of pit stops took place with an hour to go, before the 2015 Le Mans winner put in a crucial pass to win the race on the run down to Turn 7.
The two Fords were strong throughout and the No. 67 car that Briscoe shared with Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon spent most of the race in the lead.
However, Briscoe’s move on a GTD runner in his attempts to mount a challenge on Tandy after the final restart resulted in a spin that dropped the Australian down to sixth.
Hand filled the void to finish second in the No. 66 Ford that also featured Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, while Antonio Garcia came through in third in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R he co-drove with Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller.
BMW Team RLL finished fourth with its No.24 M8 GTE driven by John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Philipp Eng, while the No. 912 Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet completed the top five.
Briscoe settled for an unrepresentative sixth for the No. 67 Ford at the back of the main GTLM pack, with the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE coming through in seventh as the first car off the lead lap.
RESULTS: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring