One of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GTs led 11 hours of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring but it was Nick Tandy in a Porsche that controlled the GT Le Mans class at the close of the all-important 12th hour.
- Results: 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
The half-day second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season featured just five full-course caution periods, the last of which proved critical in the lead GTLM battle.
After advancing from fifth in the eight-car category during the final hour, Tandy and the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR were set to mount on attack on Ryan Briscoe, who occupied the No. 67 Ford GT, which occupied the class lead.
Briscoe lunged for the lead upon the return of green-flag racing but spun off track and was forced to rejoin in the midst of the GT Daytona battle. The car that led at the conclusion of every hour of the race to that point dropped to six, its final finishing position.
Ganassi’s other Ford was promoted to second when its sister car fell out of contention, but Joey Hand could only bring the No. 66 Ford within 1.951 seconds of Tandy by the checkered flag and settled for second.
After 330 laps, Tandy and co-drivers Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki were crowned victors at Sebring International Raceway for the second consecutive running of the classic endurance contest. Full-season pilots Tandy and Pilet entered the weekend fifth in the GTLM points following the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
A further four seconds behind second-placed Hand was Antonio Garcia and the No. 3 Corvette Racing entry, completing the podium. John Edwards held on for fourth in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE to ensure the German marque was represented in the top five and finished a half-second clear of Laurens Vanthoor in the other Porsche GT Team car.
The class was rounded out by the No. 25 BMW and the No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler, which fell back early in the race while its alternator belt was repaired on pit lane.
Grasser Follows Daytona Win With Sebring Triumph
Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti and Rik Breukers padded their points lead in GTD by following their Rolex 24 victory with a class win at Sebring for the Grasser Racing Team.
The Austrian team, competing only in the four Michelin Endurance Cup rounds this year, will return to action at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen leading the championship within the WeatherTech Championship after winning the all-GT3 class by 2.724 seconds with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
A start from the rear of the field didn’t keep Magnus Racing and its similar Lamborghini from charging to the front over the course of 12 hours, with John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly giving the Italian manufacturer a 1-2 result.
Toni Vilander came home in third driving Scuderia Corsa’s No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 in front of top-five finishers Christopher Mies and Jeroen Bleekemolen of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport and Riley Motorsports.
A messy race for the pole-sitting No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 culminated in a seventh-place finish, two spots ahead of Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R which dominated much of the race at the hands of Scott Hargrove, Zacharie Robichon and Lars Kem.
The GTLM division will participate in the next WeatherTech Championship event April 12–13 on the streets of Long Beach but a visit to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is next up for GTD — and the first race for teams competing only in the new WeatherTech Sprint Cup.