Toyota Gazoo Racing takes one-two finish at 1000 Miles of Sebring
Toyota Gazoo Racing has taken a one-two finish at the 1000 Miles of Sebring. The #8 TS050 Hybrid of Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastién Buemi finished two laps ahead of the #7 of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway.
The sister car lost two laps in the pits as it needed repairs after making contact with the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage. The race came to somewhat of a premature end when Loïc Duval crashed the #28 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 in rainy conditions, bringing out the safety car with just under 15 minutes left to run.
Behind the Toyotas, the LMP1 privateer battle claimed a multitude of victims. In the end, only the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR-AER1 of Hartley, Petrov and Aleshin and the #3 Rebellion of Berthon, Laurent and Menezes saw the chequered flag. The latter suffered plenty of problems, including spins and several mechanical issues.
The most notable LMP1 retirement came at the hands of SMP's Egor Orudzhev, who crashed the #17 car at the end of the second hour.
In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing had a race of ups and downs. The two ORECAs locked out the front row in qualifying, but the #38 of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stéphane Richelmi was struck by multiple issues, including a faulty driver's side door. The sister car of David Heinemeier Hansson, Jordan King and Will Stevens has had a marvellous evening in central Florida, taking the lead in the first hour and running away for the remainder of the race.
Second place in LMP2 went to the Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrao and Pierre Thiriet and the Dragonspeed ORECA of Anthony Davidson, Ricardo Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado came home in third, despite Maldonado damaging the rear bodywork on the exit of turn 17.
The GTE Pro battle remained close right until the end, with Ford, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin and BMW fighting for the lead during the eight hours.
The #67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito looked like the favorite for a long time, until the #91 Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni claimed the lead in the eighth hour. A battle between the two cars seemed on the cards before a rain shower changed the course of the race as a scramble for rain tyres followed.
Porsche's mechanics then earned their praise as the Stuttgart squad sent the 911 RSR out before the #81 BMW of Nicky Catsburg, Alexander Sims and Martin Tomcyzk, which was enough to claim victory as the safety car followed minutes later. The #67 Ford came home in third.
Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin fought a hard battle for the top spot in GTE Am. The two British machines, despite being in contention, dropped back with issues. In the end, it was the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Matt Campbell, Julian Andlauer and Christian Ried that took honours, ahead of the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE of Giancarlo Fisichella, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr.
Team Project 1, despite seeing their car go up in flames earlier in the week, still managed to make the podium. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti came third in the #56 Porsche 911 RSR.