Van der Zande puts Cadillac Racing on top in Sebring night practice

With the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring ending in the dark as the temperatures are dropping from the heat of the day, the sole night practice session is crucial to make sure the car and its drivers are ready to finish the race.

“We’re getting into the hours of the night where we’re going to be finishing the Twelve Hours of Sebring, so obviously a pretty important time,” explained Roman De Angelis, who is looking for his first Sebring win to go with his 2021 Petit Le Mans victory.

“If there’s any time that you want your car to be good, it’s right now. So we’re trying to dial in a setup for us where we’re going to be strong at the end of the race and 10 hours leading up to that point, we’ve just got to stay on the lead lap and stay in the top five or 10. So, we’re doing our best to make sure we have a good car as always.”


Renger van der Zande posted the fast time in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R at 1m49.179s, a quarter-second better than Augusto Farfus in the No. 24 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8. Filipe Albuquerque had the third-best time in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06. Pipo Derani was fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing V-Series.R, and Nick Tandy made it four manufacturers in the top five by putting the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 in fifth. While van der Zande echoed the importance of the session, he said the track conditions may have made the night practice less useful.

“Right now I think everybody who comes on track, is driving off track,” he said after getting out of the car. “The track is unbelievably dirty, so I think it’s not it’s not what it will be at the end of the race. I think at the end of a race the track will be better. But, damn it was hard to drive right now with sand everywhere. You would you would do Turn 17 with a normal grip and then the next lap, the grip was suddenly gone because of people going off in 16.”

His words may have proven to be foreshadowing, as a short time later Colin Braun spun the LMP2 No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR  ORECA in 17 with a few minutes left in the session to end the scheduled 90-minute  practice with a simultaneous red and checker. Mikkel Jensen was on top of LMP2 again after posting the best time in the first session today in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA. Paul-Loup Chatin put AO Racing near the top with a 1m51.504s in the No. 99, followed by Ben Hanley in the No. 2 United Autosports ORECA at 1m52.390s on his final circuit.

For the first time today, neither GT class was led by a Lexus. Earl Bamber turned the quickest time at 2m00.79s in the No. 4 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports. The GTD winners from 2022, now in GTD PRO, Paul Miller Racing, were second courtesy of Neil Verhagen piloting the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 to a 2m01.109s lap, followed by Laurin Heinrich in the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Antonio Fuoco topped GTD in the No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 at 2m0.991s, ahead of Philip Ellis in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG only 0.017s back. Elliott Skeer had another top five in the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche with a 2m01.192s for third in GTD.


UP NEXT Qualifying for the 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac at 12:50pm ET on Friday.

Story originally appeared on Racer