12 Hours of Sebring: Victory for Nissan after 24 years of waiting
Nissan wins the 66th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring! Twenty-four years after last Nissan’s overall victory in the North American endurance classic, Tequila Patron Extreme Speed Motorsport’s crew in the #22 Nissan DPi brings a new victory to the Japanese manufacturer. For every of three victorious drivers, it’s the second victory at Sebring – Nicolas Lapierre previously won in 2011 with Peugeot while Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek were the winners two years ago in ESM’s Ligier-Honda.
The #22 Nissan crossed the finish line 12.427 seconds ahead of last years winning #10 Cadillac DPi-V.R of Wayne Taylor Racing. The drivers were Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
One more Cadillac crew reached a podium. The #31 Whelen Engineering AX Racing’s Cadillac was driven by Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr and Mike Conway. Both podium-scoring Cadillacs were involved in an incident earlier in the race but both crews recovered from troubles.
The #31 crew was on the podium also at Daytona 24 Hours and they moved to the top of the Prototype standings after two events in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Victory for Porsche in GTLM class
In the GTLM class, the #911 Porsche 911 RSR crossed the finish line first, ahead of #25 BMW M8 GTE and #912 Porsche. The victorious Porsche GT Team’s drivers are Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki. It’s the first Sebring victory for any of three drivers in the #911 car.
A margin over the second-placed car was only 6.482 seconds. BMW Team RLL’s Alexander Sims, Connor De Phillippi and veteran Bill Auberlen were second in the class in the pole-sitting #25 BMW M8 GTE. The other Porsche GT team car, driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Gianmaria Bruni and Earl Bamber, finished third.
Seven manufacturers in top 7 in GTD class
In the GTD class, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was a victorious car for the second year in a row. This time, the winning car is the #48 Lambo of Paul Miller Racing, driven by Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis. It’s the second straight podium for the team after finishing third at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
One more Italian-made car finished on a podium – the #63 WeatherTech Racing/Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 with co-drivers Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Alessandro Balzan. Last year’s Sebring winners Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating finished third in the #33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a help of third co-driver Luca Stolz.
Seven different manufacturers made up the top seven positions in GTD, the most diverse finishing order in championship history. The #29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 finished fourth, followed by the #15 Lexus RC F GT3 in fifth and the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The #93 Michael Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 finished seventh.
The championship will be continued on April 14 with the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. Only the Prototype and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes will participate in that race.