The field is off and running in the 69th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Pole winner Pipo Derani led the opening six laps in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, but was then passed by Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. Derani was pinched in traffic near the end of the hour, costing him three laps, while van der Zande held the overall lead over Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Acura.
Jimmie Johnson had a close call when he spun in Turn 17 on Lap 7, sustaining right-front bodywork damage when he was clipped by a GT competitor. That brought out the first caution of the event. Loic Duval also pitted after picking up some damage in the incident in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac. The pit stop allowed Johnson to lead the race during the opening round of pit stops.
— IMSA (@IMSA) March 20, 2021
Class leaders at 11 a.m. were Steven Thomas in LMP2 in the No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA; Lasmus Lindh in LMP3 in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier; Antonio Garcia in GTLM in the No. 3 Corvette; and Aaron Telitz in GTD in the No. 14 Lexus.
Two front-runners accessed drive through penalties for jumping the start were Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette and Jan Heylen in the No. 16 Porsche. Milner later picked up a misfire, going to the back of the GTLM field. Milner reported the car was running better following a full electrical reset.
Rodrigo Sales had an off-course excursion in Turn 5 on the opening lap, in the No. 83 WINN Autosport Duqueine D08 Nissan. He was able to continue.
The weather was cloudy and 64 degrees F at the start, but temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-70s with little chance of rain.
Sebring native Tom Gordon — a standout Major League Baseball relief pitcher — served as Grand Marshal for the event. “Flash” is no stranger to attending races at Sebring and Homestead.