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Sebring Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from the Twelve Hours of Sebring…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

***Tequila Patron ESM became the first team since Doran-Moretti Racing in 1998 to have claimed overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring in the same year. ESM’s Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, meanwhile, have now racked up three of the four wins by a P2 car in IMSA competition post-merger.

***The team’s Ligier JS P2 Honda chassis it used for the Florida 36 Hours triumph — on loan from Onroak Automotive — will be used next by Michael Shank Racing for its debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. ESM will utilize separate Nissan-powered Ligiers for its FIA World Endurance Championship campaign.

***With their GT Le Mans class victory alongside Marcel Fassler on Saturday, Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner have now achieved wins in the three major endurance races (Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans) over the past 12 months.

***Scuderia Corsa took the new Ferrari 488 GT3, in its competition debut weekend, to GT Daytona class victory, 60 years after Eugenio Castellotti co-drove with Juan Manuel Fangio in a Ferrari 860 Monza to overall honors at Sebring.

***Christina Nielsen, meanwhile, claimed her first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in the Ferrari alongside Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Segal. It came in only her second start with the Giacomo Mattioli-owned squad.

***Continental’s new prototype rain tire debuted during the race, with a noticeable improvement in performance compared to the previous-generation tire that was used at Petit Le Mans and at Daytona. The Prototype class were quicker than the GTLM cars in the wet.

***While DP cars appeared to excel on the the new tire construction, P2 and PC cars struggled, which Continental has attributed to a quarter-inch smaller radius on the front tires, due to a new belt pattern. The tires, which were only made available last month, had not been tested on-track prior to the race.

***Saturday’s race featured only the 5th red flag in event history and the first for weather since 1995. Cars were stopped for 2 hours and 15 minutes due to track conditions and lightning. The 2014 race was the most recent red, which had been due to a multi-car PC accident.

***It was a bitter-sweet P2 debut for DragonSpeed, which nearly pulled off a podium but settled for a fourth place result for its ELMS-bound Oreca 05 Nissan. The car was forced to run with the ACO-spec 40mm air restrictor, which team boss Elton Julian estimated put them up at a 70 horsepower deficit to the race-winning ESM Honda-powered Ligier. The Oreca, however, was 60 kg lighter than the Ligier in IMSA specification.

***Julian told Sportscar365 he was proud of his team’s race execution, including an impressive stint from Bronze-rated Henrik Hedman in the wet, but said his Florida-based team has no plans to return to IMSA competition, largely due to the BoP issues, and will focus its efforts in ACO-run championships instead.

***The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GT3 lost out on a potential class win in GT Le Mans after being handed a drive-through penalty for over boost in the closing stages. It was a first for IMSA, which penalized a car during the race for a technical infraction.

***IMSA’s new data logger systems, installed on all GTLM and GTD cars, tracks boost levels in real-time. It’s a similar system that’s utilized for LMP1 cars via fuel flow meter regulators in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***The DeltaWing, which battled handling issues prior to the race, faced heartbreak in the final hour when an issue with the steering box forced Andy Meyrick into the tire barriers with just 17 minutes remaining. The car was running 6th overall and on the lead lap at the time, which had by far been their best run in an endurance race to date.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing led the first laps for its No. 67 Ford GT, with reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon leading the class twice for 18 laps. The car faded in the late stages en route to a fifth place finish in class. The No. 66 entry suffered an accident from Dirk Mueller just prior to the red flag, which cost them six laps.

***The hope that the new Prototype Challenge electronics package would deliver cleaner and more competitive racing did not materialize on Saturday, with track conditions and lack of experience with the system impacting the quality of racing in the spec prototype class. Some teams even disabled traction control — a new component the system offers — prior to the start of the race.

***The class was again marred by multiple spins and incidents in the race. CORE autosport, which served as the development team with the new Motec electronics, had the cleanest run out of the seven cars and claimed top class honors. It marked the team’s third class win at Sebring.

***Audi is expected to surpass its previously confirmed production limit of Audi R8 LMS cars this year. Chris Reinke, the new Head of Audi Sport customer racing, told Sportscar365 they already have 60 orders and will expand capacity to meet the demand. If an order was placed today, a new Audi R8 LMS would not be delivered until June.

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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