For almost the entirety of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s 2023 12 Hours of Sebring, the race has been fought by the Acuras and Cadillacs.
Like many IMSA races, it’s been a race peppered with caution periods and safety cars, to recover spun or stuck cars, and to clear the track of debris. This has bunched the field up multiple times, allowing the racing to stay tight across all five classes.
Pipo Derani started the race from pole in the #31 Action Express Cadillac V-Series.R and retained the lead as the green flag dropped. He kept hold of it for as good as the entire first hour, but then lost it mid-way through the second hour to Tom Blomqvist, driving the #60 Meyer Shank Acura ARX-06.
Derani then came further unstuck in the third hour, as he made contact with an LMP3 machine and got pitched off track. This caused an inevitable caution period, and as the accident caused a puncture on the Brazilian’s car, he could have pitted for emergency service under IMSA rules. However, he didn’t pit, causing further damage to the front left of the car as the deflatedtyre shredded the bodywork.
Eventually he pitted, and has he didn’t lose a lap, he was able to stay on the lead lap.
By this point Ricky Taylor held the lead in the #10 Wayne Taylor Acura ARX-06, but not for long as IndyCar veteran Scott Dixon took it and then built a gap of up to 25 seconds.
Dixon then lost this in the pitstop cycle to Helio Castroneves in the #60 Meyer Shank Acura. However, another yellow changed things again, and the #10 Wayne Taylor Acura of Filipe Albuquerque, on double duty this weekend as he raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1000 Miles of Sebring, leads the race going into the second half of the race.
The Portuguese driver has a lead of around five seconds to Jack Aitken, who has now taken over the #31 Action Express Cadillac. Renger van der Zande, in the #01 Cadillac, has slipped back and lost second to Aitken a little earlier, and is now eight seconds adrift from Albuquerque.
The best of the two German marques in the race is Sheldon van der Linde in the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8, 6 second back from the lead battle. Dane Cameron, also on WEC/IMSA double duty, is a further three seconds back, in the #6 Porsche 963, with Colin Braun’s #60 Meyer Shank Acura in sixth, Michael Christensen in the #7 Porsche seventh, and Marco Wittmann in the #24 BMW eighth.
In LMP2, Ben Hanley leads in the #04 Crowdstrike APR Oreca 07-Gibson, from IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin in the #8 Tower Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson 18 seconds back. Paul-Loup Chatin is third in class in the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson.
In LMP3, Gabby Chaves leads in the #36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320. He’s just over 12 seconds ahead of Josh Burdon, at the wheel of the #74 Riley Ligier JSP320, while Lars Kern is third in the first of the Duqueines, the #13 AWA Duqueine D08.
Tommy Milner leads GTD Pro, driving the #3 Corvette C8.R. He’s less than a second ahead of Jules Gounon’s #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Third is Daniel Serra, another double-duty driver, in the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3.
Finally, in GTD, Indy Dontje leads in the #57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. In second place, just nine tenths of a second back, is Mikael Grenier, driving the #32 Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, while Roman de Angelis in the #23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is third.
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