Final 2023 Twelve Hours of Sebring results: No. 31 Cadillac rebounds for win after mishap
Pipo Derani won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring for a fourth time Saturday night, topping the results Saturday night with co-drivers Jack Aitken and Alexander Sims when Action Express Racing inherited the victory after a crash among the top three with less than 20 minutes remaining.
The No. 31 Cadillac started from the pole but bounced throughout the GTP field in a 12-hour race of attrition at Sebring International Raceway.
Aitken, the endurance driver for Action Express, was running fourth when Wayne Taylor Racing crashed with both the Porsche Penske Motorsport entries.
WTR Acura driver Filipe Albuquerque tried to squeeze inside Mathieu Jaminet for the lead, but Jaminet had to swerve low to avoid lapped traffic, and contact with Albuquerque knocked the Acura off the track.
Albuquerque sped through a grassy turn and returned to the racing surface, only to slam directly into Jaminet. It caused a multicar crash that collected Felipe Nasr, running third in the second Porsche Penske Motorsport entry.
Aitken, a British racer and reserve driver in Formula One, closed out the victory for Action Express in his second career IMSA sports car race.
“Obviously it was quite tricky in the end. There’s a lot going on,” Aitken said. “We were struggling a lot with the tires at the end and it’s not the way you want to win the race, but we were there when we needed to be and kept it clean.”
Derani, who won the pole in the Cadillac V-Series.R, was thrilled to claim a fourth win after he crashed early in the race when he was caught behind a spinning LMP3 car with nowhere to go. After managing to stay on the lead lap despite significant damage requiring a front wing change, Derani and the No. 31 remained in the hunt and vaulted back into first with less than five hours remaining on a swift pit stop.
Derani felt for the leaders, who were in a three-car battle until their race-ending crash in the waning minutes of the race.
“I’m sorry for the guys who crashed, they did an amazing race, but, you know, you’ve got to be lucky a little bit in motorsports,” the Brazilian said. “We had a flawless race after the incident in the beginning, we recovered well, so just fantastic to be here for number four.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing finished second in a BMW M Hybrid V8 with a lineup of Connor de Phillippi, Nick Yelloly and Sheldon Van Der Linde.
There was so much attrition in the top GTP class that the third place overall went to the Tower Motorsports LMP2 entry that included IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske in just his second IMSA sports car race.
The No. 8 Tower ORECA LMP2 07, which also includes John Farano, came back to win after Kyffin Simpson, a development driver in IndyCar, had crashed earlier in the race.
“Young bloke Kyffin drove well, so did John, but our team really put us on the right path to get our car together after our little guy’s misdemeanor,” McLaughlin said. “We will let him off the hook now that we’re in victory lane.”
Other class winners:
GTD Pro: The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) with Klaus Bachler, Patrick Pilet and Laurens Vanthoor rebounded from a crash Friday to win after running the final 41 laps (one hour and 52 minutes) without stopping for fuel or tires.
Pilet was behind the wheel for the winning stint, leading the final 19 laps to win by 2.706 seconds ahead of Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 of Vasser Sullivan.
“Just amazing, this group of people on the team that worked until 1 a.m. to repair the after qualifying yesterday,” Pilet said, according to the IMSA Wire Service. “Then they rocked so much in the race, with the strategy and all the pit stops. Sometimes you get bad luck with the yellows, but we never gave up and we stayed focused. They call me the fuel-saving expert; that can be a big advantage and today it paid off.”
GTD: Paul Miller Racing won in the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 with Corey Lewis, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, who ran the final 40 laps without stopping in a critical double stint that lasted nearly two hours.
Snow caught a fortuitous yellow to help conserve fuel while holding off the charges of cars on fresher tires over a final three-lap sprint. He won by 1.532 seconds and credited the victory to his team’s strategy.
“In the car they don’t really tell you a whole lot,” Snow said, according to the IMSA Wire Service. “You’re doing what they tell you, and you hope they’re telling you right. So, I’d say it was the team and the drivers for 10 and a half hours, and it was definitely the engineer the last hour and a half.”
LMP3: Riley Motorsports won with the No. 74 Ligier JS P320 co-driven by Gar Robinson, Josh Burdon and Felipe Fraga, who took the lead on a restart with an hour remaining.
“The team made a good call before that restart,” Fraga said. “We decided to come in and put stickers on and not scrubs. I was like going crazy on the restart to try and win; you have one chance. It worked out with the new tires.”
STATS PACKAGE FOR MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING:
NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will resume with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 14-15.