Corvette Racing scored its second straight win in the 2016 IMSA season at the 12 Hours of Sebring by winning the highly contested GTLM class. The team of Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler drove the #4 Corvette C7.R home in first place leading the #26 BMW M6 GTLM and the #912 Porsche 911 RSR.
The new Ferrari 488 GT3 scored its maiden race victory after winning the GTD class in the hands of Scuderia Corsa team. Turner Motorsports claimed P2 in this class in their new BMW M6 GTLM while Magnus Racing claimed P3 in their Audi R8 LMS.
Elsewhere in the top Prototype class, Tequila Patrón ESM repeated their Daytona 24 victory with their Honda Ligier JS P2 by claiming the overall win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The #54 ORECA FLM09 claimed the Prototype Challenge class win, and 9th place overall.
12 Hours of Sebring Results 2016 (Class wins)
P1 #2 Honda HPD Ligier JS P2 – Pipo Derani
P2 #31 Chevrolet Corvette DP – Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Scott Pruett
P3 #5 Chevrolet Corvette DP – Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque
P1 #4 Corvette Racing C7.R – Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler
P2 #25 BMW M6 GTLM – Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen and Bruno Spengler
P3: #912 Porsche 911 RSR – Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen
P1 #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 – Alessandro Balzan, Christina Nielsen and Segal
P2 #96 Turner BMW M6 GT3 – Jens Klingmann, Ashley Freiberg, Curtis
P3 #44 Audi R8 LMS – John Potter, Andy Lally and Marco Seefried
The 2016 Twelve Hours of Sebring experienced the full package of an enduro race, having been red flagged for over 2 hours due to heavy rain and lightning. Dane Cameron was leading the field in the final minutes of the race in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP, but Pipo Derani managed to slip past him in his Honda prototype with only 5 minutes left into the race. Derani crossed the finish line first to claim their second straight win of the season.
Speaking of his victory, Derani said, “What a tough race this was. We had some contact, some spins, and moving our way back to the front was just unbelievable. In the end, I knew we had a great car, and new tires. But with only 10 to 15 minutes to go and still be in fourth was difficult to believe that we were going to make it. God had an eye on me and everything I executed was perfect. I can’t believe it all. It happened like that. I was so focused to bring the car home. The adrenaline was so high I couldn’t think about anything else.”
Cameron claimed P2 in the Corvette DP leading the sister Action Express #5 Mustang Sampling Corvette of Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque.
In the GTLM class, Lucas Luhr was leading the field in the #6 BMW M6 GTLM when Milner passed him in the ninth hour. The Corvette driver never looked back till chequered flag, scoring a second straight win for the #4 Corvette C7.R. The sister car, #3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen spun out while fighting for the lead after making contact with the Porsche of Kevin Estre.
Dirk Werner claimed P2 in GTLM class driving the pole winning #25 BMW M6 GTLM of BMW Team RLL. He shared the car with Bill Auberlen and Bruno Spengler.The team of Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen rounded off the top three in their #912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Speaking about his class victory, Milner said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong race car when I got in for the final three hours. I knew I could pass the cars in front of me. It was difficult with all the cautions, but we got it back up there. I had a 20-second lead and then we had a caution. I knew everyone was racing for the win, so I kept pushing and was able to bring it in.”
In the GTD class, Scuderia Corsa scored the first race win for the all new Ferrari 488 GT3. Alessandro Balzan drove the #63 488 GT3 into victory beating the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Jens Klingmann and Daytona 24 winners, John Potter, Andy Lally and Marco Seefried of the #44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Balzan shared the wheel with Christina Nielsen and Segal whereby Nielsen became the first woman on the Sebring 12 Hours podium since 2006 when Liz Halliday claimed the LMP2 win. Ashley Freiberg was the second woman on the podium yesterday, joining Klingmann in the Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3.
The next stop for the Patrón Endurance Cup will be the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International in July.