WTR Cadillac sees off Action Express challenge to win 12H Sebring
The Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi of Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and IMSA debutant Alex Lynn claimed victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring following a round-the-clock battle with the Action Express Racing squad.
Ricky Taylor crossed the line 13.614 seconds ahead of João Barbosa to clinch a second consecutive win for the Taylor family team, backing up its triumph at the 24 Hours of Daytona two months ago.
Only the WTR and Action Express Cadillacs survived to finish on the lead lap, with most of the eleven-strong Prototype grid experiencing issues at the 3.74 mile circuit.
The crucial move of the race occurred during the tenth hour, when Jordan Taylor snuck past Filipe Albuquerque whilst negotiating traffic.
Taylor then handed over to brother Ricky, who managed to ride a final-hour full course yellow with a well timed pit stop to preserve the WTR car's lead and secure a maiden victory for Cadillac at Sebring.
Barbosa, who shared the Action Express car with Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi, settled for second in a mirror image of the team's result at Daytona. Action Express had been a match for WTR all race long, but the #5 machine wasn't quite able to stretch its fuel out as far as Taylor's crew during the final portion of the race.
The third-placed Action Express Cadillac finished a distant two laps adrift following a recovery drive by Dane Cameron, Mike Conway and Eric Curran, although it did earn fastest lap honours thanks to an early 1:49.629s flyer from Cameron.
Fourth place and four laps off the leader was the ORECA-Gibson entered by JDC-Miller Motorsports, which stood as the best-placed LMP2 entry.
The most notable Prototypes to experience trouble during the attrition-filled contest were the pole-sitting Rebellion Racing ORECA-Gibson and the Nissan-Onroak DPi of defending race winner ESM.
Rebellion led the race early on with Neel Jani behind the wheel, but an alternator issue before the halfway point transpired into retirement for the Anglo-Swiss team.
Early mechanical gremlins also affected the ESM car, which suffered from a continuation of its boost failures detected during qualifying. The green and black-liveried team encountered double woe when its second Nissan came into the pits with a faulty exhaust, in addition to earlier contact with the third-placed Action Express Cadillac.
Both of Mazda's DPi runners failed to mount a challenge on the leaders, with the #70 car crashing in the first hour with brake failure and the #55 entry limping to a fifth place finish.
In GTLM, Corvette picked up the pace during the cooler night-time period to clinch a memorable victory over Ford and Ferrari.
Antonio Garcia - sharing the sole surviving C7.R with Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller - cycled to the lead at the final round of pit stops and held station until the chequered flag, crossing the line 4.453 seconds ahead of Joey Hand in the #66 Ford GT.
Ford controlled the race during the daytime period, but as the track temperatures waned so too did the pace of the Chip Ganassi-run machines.
Hand managed to hold on to second, although Richard Westbrook dropped the #67 car out of podium contention when he spun on the final lap, letting James Calado through in the Risi Competizione Ferrari.
Rounding out the top five was the #68 Ford GT, ahead of the #25 BMW M6 which fought its way back onto the lead lap through clever negotiation of the full course yellow periods.
GT Daytona saw Mercedes notch up its first-ever IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship victory with Jeroen Bleekemolen holding off a gaggle of GT3 cars during the closing stages.
Bleekemolen, who shared the car with Ben Keating and Mario Farnbacher, won the race with a brave lunge on the inside of Alessandro Balzan's Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 at turn 17.
Completing the class podium was the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes AMG-GT3 that secured pole on Friday.
Performance Tech Motorsports dominated Prototype Challenge to claim its second consecutive victory; the team beating the #8 Starworks entry with a driver lineup announced only two days before the start of the race