The #02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac crossed the line after 12 Hours of Racing to score the win at one of IMSA’s biggest events, the 12 Hours of Sebring. Bamber recovered from both a penalty and a spin in his final stints to pass fellow Cadillacs and won by a six-second margin.
This was the prototype that Kevin Magnussen was slated to drive before he left to rejoin the Haas team in Formula One. He was replaced by Neel Jani, as well as Earl Bamber who drove the car across the line. It was the first win for this car in the series.
Bamber said: “Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac was amazing this weekend. We had such a good lead and I managed to throw it away twice. I’m just exhausted. To everyone from the team and Cadillac, thank you.”
Cadillac put on a clinic throughout the day, making up the entire podium. The #05 JDC-Miller Motorsports protype looked set to win before Bamber made the pass in the closing minutes, and the #31 Action Express Motorsports Cadillac rounded up the podium.
The PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 Oreca LMP2 prototype with Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen and Scott Huffaker sharing the driving duties, scored a comfortable class win for the second straight year, with no other car on the same lap. The 29 Racing Team Nederland entry and Erica Motorsports’ 18 completed the podium.
“This is my third win in a row here but this one by far the toughest, though,” Huffaker said. “Just the heat, everything. I think I had the longest drive time there close to the end. Physically I was just done when I got out of the car. Mikkel was having some stomach issues so I think it was a tough one for the team, but we just all pulled through and kept clean.”
Joao Barbosa, Malthe Jakobsen and Lance Willse wheeled the Sean Creech Motorsports to its first win in IMSA with its #33 Ligier LMP3 prototype. The #30 JRIII Motorsports car and the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry rounded out the podium.
The podium was entirely Ligier, after the sole competing Riley entry dropped out.
“It’s great,” said Barbosa, a longtime friend of team owner Sean Creech who earned IMSA career win No. 25. “We were very close at Daytona last year and this year, and we needed a big win. The guys have been working really hard. To come to this race and giving us a great car to race, to be able to help a little bit this team to move forward and get such a big win is a great sensation.”
Corvette took its first win in the GTD PRO class, after the General Motors factory effort was forced to homologate its cars from their original GTE classification to meet GTD requirements. The #3 Corvette with with drivers Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, and Nicky Catsburg, held off a hard-charging Lamborghini late in the race to score the win, with Antonia Garcia seeing the checkered flag.
Balance of performance for the Corvette had been an issue throughout the season, and was coming into the season-opener at Daytona. The Corvettes ultimately received a power boost going into the race after practice to even up performance.
“To have zero issues around here is a big feat in itself, because 12 hours around here is harder than 24 hours at Daytona or Le Mans,” said Taylor, who earned his second Sebring 12 Hours trophy. “I was surprised how quick we were, especially in clean air. Once we got to the front, the name of the game was to maintain track position, whether by saving fuel and extending windows or saving tires.”
The TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan finished second, while the #97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished in third.
Cetilar Racing brought their Ferrari home to win the GTD AM class at Sebring ahead of the Turner Motorsports BMW M4 and the Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. The team passed the Mercedes late before Turner was forced to pit for a driver change to ensure the team wasn’t disqualified for drive-time restrictions.
Cetilar racing is based in Italy and run by the factory AF Corse Ferrari effort.
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