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Cadillac 1-2 After An Hour At Sebring

The first hour of the 2023 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring is complete, and the two Cadillac V-Series.R prototypes from Cadillac Racing and Whelen Engineering are currently running first and second after a frantic start to the race.

At the drop of the green flag, polesitter Pipo Derani held the lead aboard his #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac, while Ricky Taylor in the #10 Wayne Taylor Acura got a great jump and passed Sebastien Bourdais in the #01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R. Taylor attempted a daring move around the outside of turn one to take the lead from Derani but tucked into second place.

Behind them, Lance Willsey spun and crashed entering Turn 1 trying to avoid cars stacking up in front of him. His damaged #33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 was left stranded on the racing line while the GTD grid began to head into the first corner. Miraculously, every car managed to avoid Willsey’s stopped car around the fast, blind left-hand bend.

Willsey brought his damaged car back to the pits, but it began to spew jagged shards of bodywork onto the racing line through Gurney Bend (Turn 6) which resulted in a Full Course Yellow at the end of the first lap.

A quick caution preceded a clean restart for the prototypes. But further back in the GTD field, Brendan Iribe in the #70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO and Michelle Gatting in the #83 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 made side-by-side contact out of turn five – this sent Iribe spinning under the Corvette Bridge. The freshly-upgraded McLaren avoided contact with the adjacent concrete barriers and continued on.

Dwight Merriman in the #18 Era Motorsport Oreca LMP2 07 spun at the Hairpin (Turn 7) but he continued as well – the race remained green. Merriman’s spin was the result of contact with Eric Lux in the #51 Rick Ware Racing Oreca, and he picked up a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.

Half an hour into his opening stint, Dennis Andersen was negotiating lapped GT traffic when he dropped two wheels off into the dirt into Tower Turn (turn 13), and spun off. Clearly flustered upon rejoining, he came close to entering the path of two different cars.

Towards the end of the first hour came the first round of pit stops for the GTP class leaders. Race leader Derani, who’d done well to defend his lead from the charges of Taylor behind him, was one of the first to come in for fuel only. Bourdais, who’d overtaken Taylor for second place before his first stop, came in and took fuel, energy, and four new Michelin tyres.

Bourdais rejoined ahead of Derani to take the net lead of the race after the first hour of racing.

The last two cars to pit were the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Tom Blomqvist and the #7 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 of Matt Campbell, the latter of which had taken fuel only. They were officially scored as the leaders after one hour. Both crews timed their stop perfectly as the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca of George Kurtz spun at turn ten, and was stranded on top of the outside kerbs – bringing out another Full Course Yellow.

Blomqvist is now third overall, with Campbell in fourth. Taylor fell to fifth in the #10 Acura, ahead of the #6 Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet (which also took fuel only), and the two BMW M Hybrid V8s – the #24 of Augusto Farfus and the #25 of Connor de Philippi.

After the early chaos in the GT field, the running order in both classes has settled down.

Antonio Garcia started from the GTD Pro pole position and he has held his advantage aboard the #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD, which looks the favourite early on in its class, continuing the form from the Pratt Miller team’s dominant performance last night in the WEC race.

Second place in GTD Pro is the highlighter yellow #14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth, which is just over five seconds behind race leader Garcia. Alex Riberas is third in class aboard the #23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Kyle Marcelli in the bright red #93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Acura NSX GT3 has maintained his lead in GTD from the pole position, he’s currently third out of all the GTD cars combined.

But Aaron Telitz in the #12 VasserSullivan Lexus has kept him honest, keeping the gap around one second to Marcelli in front of him. Ian James is currently scored in third aboard the #27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin.

In the LMP2 class, Ben Keating has been putting on a masterclass among his gentleman driver peers. He currently leads aboard his Wynns-liveried #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca after an hour of racing.

Keating’s advantage was under threat from the #35 TDS Racing Oreca of François Heriau, and in fact, Heriau had even passed Keating around the outside of Sunset Bend (turn 17) for the race lead before the LMP2 leaders made their first pit stops. However, Heriau got caught speeding in the pit lane during his stop, served a drive-through penalty, and then was caught speeding again resulting in a second straight drive-through penalty.

Heriau is now second in class, Lux in the #51 Oreca is now third, after Kurtz spun out of the top three – undoing his work to move past the #11 TDS Racing Oreca of Steven Thomas for third place.

After the first Full Course Caution, LMP3 polesitter Glenn van Berlo got a sluggish start aboard the #36 Andretti Autosport Ligier. He dropped to fourth place as Dan Goldburg drove to the lead in his #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Duquiene D08.

Goldburg pulled out to a lead of around five seconds, but as they had to work their way around faster traffic approaching, Van Berlo began setting a string of fast laps to catch the class leader. Van Berlo retook the lead after 40 minutes of racing.

Gar Robinson in the #74 Riley Ligier was scored as the race leader at the end of hour one, and Christopher Allen was scored second in the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier. But neither car had made their first pit stops.

So, the #36 Andretti Autosport Ligier, which has recently changed hands from Van Berlo to Jarrett Andretti, is the net leader.

The post Cadillac 1-2 After An Hour At Sebring first appeared on
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