Ricky Taylor edged out Joao Barbosa to give Wayne Taylor Racing and Cadillac victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and a sweep of the “Florida 36 Hours” with wins in North America’s two premier endurance races.
Taylor took his Konica Minolta-sponsored No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R to a 13.614-second victory over Barbosa’s Action Express entry, following a race-long battle between the two Cadillacs.
While it was, at times, a near mirror-image to January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, there was no late-race contact or drama, with the Taylor car stretching out its lead as darkness hit.
The race-winning pass came with less than three hours to go when Jordan Taylor got around Filipe Albuquerque for the lead while in traffic.
A call to short-pit the No. 10 Cadillac with 1 hour and 8 minutes to go, just moments prior to the race’s sixth and final full-course caution, kept Ricky Taylor out ahead and proved to be a pivotal moment in the race.
It was the Taylor brothers second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win, and the first for new third driver Alex Lynn, in his team and series debut.
Jordan Taylor, meanwhile, has become the latest driver to earn the “triple crown” of class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring.
Barbosa, Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi were forced to settle for a runner-up finish for the second straight race, with the sister No. 31 Whelen-backed entry giving Cadillac a sweep of the overall podium.
It came after a charge through the field for defending Prototype champions Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Toyota LMP1 factory ace Mike Conway, after Curran spun the car from the lead in the third hour and lost two laps when it failed to re-fire.
The incident initially promoted the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson to third. It ran in podium contention for much of the race but was unable to match the pace of the Cadillacs and finished fourth.
The around-the-clock enduro proved to be a test of endurance for the majority of P class competitors.
The pole-sitting No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, who showed the most promise to dethrone the Cadillacs, battled electrical issues, leading to an alternator change and multiple trips to the garage before being retired.
Both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis also retired, first the No. 22 car due to a broken exhaust after running as high as fourth, followed by the No. 2 entry, which went behind the wall early with the continuation of boost-related issues from qualifying.
While the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P recorded a fifth place class finish, following a trip to the garage to repair a coolant leak, brake issues led to a crash easy by Joel Miller, which later rejoined only to be retired due to suspension issues.
Shifting issues, meanwhile, plagued the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which soldiered home to 7th in class, behind the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson after multiple trips to the garage with engine and starter motor gremlins.
Prototype Challenge class honors went to the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of James French, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Masson, finishing an impressive fifth overall.
It came in another flawless run for the Brent O’Neill-led team, which as was the case with the Taylor car, scored back-to-back wins to kick off the season.
French crossed the line two laps ahead of the No. 8 Starworks entry of Garett Grist, Maxwell Hanratty and Sean Rayhall, a lineup that was only confirmed on Thursday.
The pair of BAR1 Motorsports prototypes, including the class pole-sitting No. 26 entry, faced setbacks, although both also got to the finish.
Remarkably, all four of the PC entries had clean races on-track, with no notable incidents.
RESULTS: 12H Sebring