It was yet another dominant race for Cadillac during the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring 2017, the Prototype podium was a repeat of Daytona 24 Hours with Rick Taylor placing the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi V.R in first place, to lead the #5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R. Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Mike Conway rounded off the top three and a full podium sweep for Cadillac in the #43 Action Express Whelen Cadillac DPi V.R.
The #85 JDC-Miller ORECA LM P2 claimed fourth while the #55 Mazda DPi slotted in fifth after a troubled session. The biggest loss perhaps went to Porsche man Neel Jani and teammates Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld. Driving the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA LMP2, Jani won pole and ultimately set a new lap record at Sebring. Mechanical problems threw them off the competition and eventually finished ninth.
The #38 Performance Tech ORECA FLM09 of James French, Kyle Masson and Patricio O’Ward won the Prototype Challenge class. This class will be abolished in the next season bringing down the classification to three categories namely Prototype, GTLM and GTD. The PC class will also miss the next round in April.
In the GTLM class, Corvette managed to stage a repeat win of last year’s race. The #4 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, ex F1 driver Jan Magnussen and DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller crossed the finish line first denying the Fords a second win after Daytona 24 Hours. During last year’s race, the #4 Corvette crashed and ended up in 41st place…the #3 sister car eventually claimed the win. For this year, the #3 car suffered cooling issues and fell back leaving the #4 car in a lone fight.
It was a last minute pitstop that allowed Corvette to prosper, a record stop which saw Garcia emerge ahead of the Fords. His last stint to the end was described as “Superman drive” by his teammates. The #66 Ford GT finished second with Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and IndyCar champ Sebastien Bourdais behind the wheel. Third place went to the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, the slowest car in qualifying but faster in the main race. Ford filled fourth and fifth places with the other two GTs.
Mercedes won the GTD class to mark their first Sebring win in 60 years. The new Mercedes-AMG GT3 has enjoyed major success in Europe and Asia including a win in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but this was the first proper victory in North America. The #33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 crossed the finish line first, driven by Dodge Viper legend Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher. Dodge discontinued the production of Vipers, forcing Keating to find an alternative car to compete in.
Second in GTD went to the #63 Scuderia Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan and Matteo Cressoni. Pole winners, the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 completed the GTD podium in third.