Cadillac in control of first quarter at Sebring

Both Cadillac Racing cars have taken their turn up front as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring entered its second quarter. Scott Dixon in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing-prepared V-Series had been leading Jack Aitken in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing car. Pipo Derani had led the first segment of the race in the No. 31, but after the first round of pit stops, Sebastien Bourdais pushed the No. 01 past.

“Pipo was kind of holding us in tempo that was fairly comfortable,” said Bourdais. “I felt I had a little bit more grip to use in the stint and when I had the chance to get by I did and felt it was pretty good. The 01 Cadillac is pretty strong and Cadillac in general, so hopefully it holds true the whole time. We’re in a bit of a wait-and-see phase of the track, but you still want to be in position. We’ll have to double stint a couple sets of tires, which we’ve already done. Early going, but so far so good.”

A full-course caution, the third of the race, for the No. 88 AF Corse ORECA LMP2 pulled off course meant the end of the third hour came under yellow, although it was good timing for most of the GTP field that were under 20 percent remaining energy. The ensuing stops did jumble the field a bit, though, as the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 took a short fill of energy to gain track position, putting Dane Cameron in the lead as the hour ticked over. The No. 7 had had to do a full power cycle during an earlier pit stop to fix an improperly operating data logger, dropping it down the order.


As a result, Cameron led Aitken and Dixon, with Richard Westbrook in the JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 fourth and Fred Makowiecki in the No. 6 PPM 963 in fifth.

For most of the LMP2 field, however, the yellow was quite bad timing, and the top half of the field had to enter closed pits for emergency service. That meant two stops for each of them. As a result, what was a top three of the No. 2 United Autosports ORECA, the No. 99 AO Racing machine and No. 18 Era Motorsports entry became Bijoy Garg in the No. 22 United Autosports ORECA in first, followed by Rasmus Lindh in the No. 81 DragonSpeed entry and Lance Willsey in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier.

Several of the GT cars had exceptional timing on their second pit stops, stopping for fuel just before the previous full-course caution was called for Michael Dinan putting the No. 8 Tower Motorsports ORECA LMP2 car into the tires at Turn 13. That includes the cars that were at the lead of GTD and GTD PRO before the yellow. Russell Ward was at the head of the entire GT field after the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG — which was the fast qualifier in GTD but was found to have unapproved sensors on the car — had to start from the back. The No. 96 Turner BMW M4 GT3 and the No. 78 Forte Racing benefitted from the same stroke of luck.

After the pit stops shook out, Michael Christensen led GTD PRO in the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, with Neil Verhagen second in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 second. Antonio Garcia was third in the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Z06 GT3.R.

The No. 57 Winward car remained in the GTD lead, with Indy Dontje enjoying several GTD PRO cars between him and Aaron Telitz in the No 12 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RX F GT3. Robby Foley was right behind Telitz in the Turner BMW.

The move of the race so far goes to the entirety of the GTD PRO and GTD fields, for avoiding Davide Rigon as the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 spun all the way across the track at the exit of Turn 1 moments after the green flag. There were some unfortunate side effects, however, including the two McLaren 720S GT3s in the field making contact. The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports car got the worst of it, and had to make a trip to the paddock before returning, and is running 12 laps down.

There are two official retirements. The No. 17 AWA Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R hit alternator trouble almost immediately, and changing it didn’t fix the problem. Mike Skeen brought the No. 32 Korthoff Preston Motorsports Mercedes AMG into the pits reporting funny noises, and the car was sent to the paddock, never to return.


Story originally appeared on Racer