The eighth hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring ended under caution as a battle for the lead in GTD came to a head. Philip Ellis in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG and Zacharie Robichon in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 had a light touch in Turn 1, sending Robichon spinning into the tires, but continuing with what appeared to be minor wing damage. Ellis wasn’t so lucky, as the right front suspension gave way two corners later, forcing him to park the car and bringing out the full-course caution.
That left Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 in the lead, followed by Andy Lally’s No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage, Kenton Koch in the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG, Roman De Angelis in the Rolex 24-winning No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin and Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW. The polesitting No. 93 Racers Edge with WTR car is out of contention after Ashton Harrison had contact with another car on a restart.
With four hours left, the GTP and overall fight is still wide open as the real racing heats up as the temperatures cool. Seven GTP cars are together on the lead lap – the No. 24 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8 has retired due to an unknown technical issue – led by Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R. Polesitter Derani is at the front for the first time since the early stages of the race, last leading on lap 27.
The No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 is running second with Matt Campbell at the wheel, followed by Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac and Helio Castroneves in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura, although the latter two were engaged in a fierce fight as the hour closed. The yellow was a big help to the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, in which Ricky Taylor was having to work his way through traffic after being handed a penalty for pit lane speed violation. All the GTP cars still running are on the same lap.
As the race moves toward the setting sun – the blinding light of which may be subdued by some clouds, much to the drivers’ relief – those who have wisely set their car up for the nighttime finish will start to get serious. The drivers and teams will transition from survival mode into racing mode.
The GTD PRO battle between Corvette vs. Mercedes-AMG was raging when the yellow came out, as the No. 3 Corvette and the No. 79 WeatherTech car continued to pull away from the rest of the field with any time of racing. Tommy Milner led in the Corvette as the hour ticked over ahead of Maro Engel, but the Corvette had a problem with the left-rear shock and went a lap down while the team changed it during the yellow. Davide Rigon was third in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 when the yellow came out, followed by Bill Auberlen in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW and Jordan Pepper in the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracán.
Five LMP2 cars remain on their lead lap, led by Nolan Siegel in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing ORECA. Ed Jones ran second for High Class Racing, followed by Scott McLaughlin in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports car, Paul-Loup Chatin for PR1 Mathiasen and Pietro Fittipaldi for Rick Ware Racing.
LMP3 has five cars in contention, Felipe Fraga leading for Riley Motorsports in the No. 74 Ligier. Garret Grist was second in the No. 30 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier, while the car that took pole and has looked the strongest all race — the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier — was third in the hands of Glenn van Berlo.
The race is now live on USA Network to the finish.