1000 Miles of Sebring: Victory for Toyota, Porsche took GT class win
As expected, Toyota Gazoo Racing clinched the 1-2 victory in the inaugural 1000 Miles of Sebring, the sixth round of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
It was no questionable would Toyota conquer Sebring but only which crew will do that. In the end, Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso are the winners in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, scoring their third win of the season and defeating Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 car. After six FIA WEC rounds, the #8 crew leads the championship with a 15-point advantage over the #7 crew.
After Fernando Alonso’s fastest ever lap (1min 40.124sec) at Sebring during qualifying, it was Kamui Kobayashi’s turn to break the record with the fastest lap in the race (1min 41.800sec). However, his crew lost a fight for a victory because of a mid-race delay for accident repairs.
The best of the rest was the #11 SMP Racing crew a BR1 LMP1 prototype. After the #17 SMP Racing car crashed heavily early in the race, the #11 crew managed to finish the race in the third place overall, eleven laps behind the winners. The drivers of the #11 car were Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Brendon Hartley.
Due to heavy rain, the 8-hour race saw the checkered flag behind the Safety car. Tough conditions forced many to retire. In the end, the best LMP2 crew took fourth place overall. The LMP2 class victory went to the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Oreca, driven by David Heinemeier-Hansson, Jordan King and Will Stevens. It’s the second win for the #37 car but the first with the new crew.
The #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut crew (Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao, Pierre Thiriet) and the #31 DragonSpeed crew (Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Anthony Davidson) completed the LMP2 podium.
Porsche celebrated victories in both GT classes. Factory drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR scored their first season’s win in GTE Pro class. It’s the first ever win for Bruni with the German marque. In the GTE Am class, the #77 Proton-Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 RSR took its fourth victory with Matt Campbell, Christian Ried and Julian Andlauer driving.
Three manufacturers shared the GTE Pro podium as BMW Team MTEK took the runners-up spot while Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took the third place. Alexander Sim, Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsbur finished second in the #81 BMW M8 GTE. Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Jonathan Bomarito were third in the #67 Ford GT.
In the GTE Am class, Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 Ferrari 488 GTE finished second with drivers Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella. Team Project 1 claimed third place with Patrick Lindsey, Jorg Bergmeister and Egidio Perfetti driving the #56 Porsche 911 RSR.
The next round of the WEC Super Season is the 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps, scheduled for May 4.