A big crash while the leaders were trying to navigate traffic in the final stage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring took out the top three GTP cars as well as several GT cars, and produced a surprise winner that should have been no surprise.
ABSOLUTE CHAOS! THE LEADERS ALL CRASH!#IMSA | @USANetwork and @peacock pic.twitter.com/CrGzSvUsp3
— Motorsports on NBC (@MotorsportsNBC) March 19, 2023
When it all shook out, the polesitting No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken — Aitken at the wheel for the finish — won the Twelve Hours of Sebring, with the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8 of Nick Yelloly, Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde finishing second. The LMP2 winner, the No. 8 Tower Motorsports ORECA of John Farano, Kyffin Simpson and Scott McLaughlin, finished third overall.
The No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports squad of Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy and Dane Cameron finished third in GTP while their wrecked heap of a 963 was carried on a flatbed back to the Penske transporter.
With several late race yellows, a fight to the finish was set up with the top five GTP cars on the lead lap all full of fuel and with fresh tires. Jaminet led Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 with Jaminet’s teammate Felipe Nasr’s No. 7 PPM 963 in third. As Jaminet hit traffic in Turn 1, Albuquerque attacked and went inside. But as Jaminet was trying to navigate a pack of GT cars, he moved left, Albuquerque went off track, lost control and slid through the inside of Turn 3 and hit Jaminet’s Porsche on the other side of the apex. Nasr was next on the scene, hit the Acura, and then the No. 6. All three cars were done, and Aitken sailed through for the victory.
All the late yellows also allowed several GTD and GTD PRO cars to go far farther on fuel than they would have been able to otherwise, the top cars in both classes running around an hour and 50 minutes from their last pit stop to the finish. It was the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Pilet, Klaus Bachler and Laurens Vanthoor winning GTD PRO, and the No. 1 BMW squad of Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis claiming GTD for Paul Miller Racing.
One of the late-race incidents ended the LMP3 battle between the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier and the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier. Shortly after a restart for the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura losing a wheel, Pietro Fittipaldi went off course and hit the tires. A wheel from Fittipaldi’s No. 51 Rick Ware Racing ORECA LMP2 bounced across track – whether that was the cause or the result of the crash is unknown. Fraga in the No. 74 avoided it, Grist in the No. 30 hit it square on as it fell from the sky. That left Fraga a lap in the lead in the car he shared with Gar Robinson and Josh Burdon, able to cruise to victory.
Full reports to follow.