Thoughts on Sebring: Broken Wing Victory in a Race of Bumper Cars

I have a dream that one day in an IMSA race the entire DPi class will fall out and the overall winner will be an LMP2 or GTLM car. Last night my dream nearly came true. The DPi cars seem to have a way of making things difficult for themselves, whether it’s squeezing each other into barriers, penalties for excessive drive time, pit mistakes, or on track collisions, the top class always entertains.

The result was unlikely winner, the number 5 Mustang sampling DPi Cadillac driven by Sebastien BGourdais, Loic Duval, and Tristan Vautier. Bourdais drove the anchor leg and led the final hour and 10 minutes. The car finished the race with a broken rear wing to edge out the Mazda of Harry Tincknell.

It was an improbable win for a team that had struggled to find speed all weekend, but the car and the race came to them, with an assist from the rest of the class.

Notes

Porsche swept the GT categories with victories in GTLM and GTD. The GTLm win by the 79 resembled the follies of DPi, with a late collision of the BMW and Corvette allowing Matheiu Jaminet to grab the lead from what appeared to be a third place finish.

The GTLM winner Pfaff Motorsports benefitted from the expertise of Laurens Vanthoor, who piloted the Canadian team to the win.

A good run by Simon Pagenaud in the 48 DPi topped a difficult day for the team. Jimmie Johnson spun and made contact with another car in the foirst hour of the race. The team climbed back into contention later in the day, Pagenaud stayed in the cat 50 seconds too long, disqualifying the car, which was third on the track at the end. I don’t understand why IMSA allows a car to keep running after it is known that car will be disqualified.

Katherine Legge had a great run in the 88 Hardpoint car. She was in line for a podium until a penalty for contact dropped her to 5th in class. The team, co-driven by Christina Neilsen and Bia Figuerado, still had a good run in just their second outing.

I understand IMSA’s desire to have as many cars in a race as possible, but when GTLM cars are faster than LMP3’s, it’s a bit concerning.

I hope but I doubt that NBC is over their Jimmie Johnson love fest. I admire him that after his success in NASCAR that he is trying a completely different motorsports discipline, but NBC’s coverage of him is overkill. The nice thing about Indycar is that he will be in the car the entire race and unavailable for interviews during the races.

The final results from the IMSA website:

POSST POSCAR NOCLASSCLASS POSDRIVERSTEAM/CAR/SPONSORNO LAPSFASTEST LAPSTATUS
1651Loic DuvalSebastien BourdaisTristan VautierMustang Sampling / JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi34901:46.679Running
24552Oliver JarvisHarry TincknellJonathan BomaritoMazda Motorsports Mazda DPi34901:46.841Running
35603Olivier PlaJuanPablo MontoyaDane CameronMeyer Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi34901:46.641Running
42104Alexander RossiRicky TaylorFilipe AlbuquerqueKonica Minolta Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi34901:46.654Running
53015Rengervander ZandeKevin MagnussenScott DixonCadillac DPi34701:46.151Running
69521Scott HuffakerBen KeatingMikkel JensenPR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 0734401:48.474Running
710182Ryan DalzielDwight MerrimanKyle TilleyEra Motorsport ORECA LMP2 0734401:48.944Running
824791Matt CampbellCooper MacNeilMathieu JaminetWeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR – 1933401:55.732Running
922252ConnorDe PhillippiPhilipp EngBruno SpenglerBMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE33301:55.727Running
1023243Augusto FarfusJohn EdwardsJesse KrohnBMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE33301:55.861Running
112034Antonio GarciaJordan TaylorNicky CatsburgCorvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R33301:55.642Running
122145Tommy MilnerNick TandyAlexander SimsCorvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R33001:57.236Running
1316541Colin BraunJonathan BennettGeorge KurtzCore Autosport Ligier JS P32032901:56.166Running
1417912Dylan MurryJeroen BleekemolenJim CoxRiley Motorsports Ligier JS P32032901:56.281Running
1515743Scott AndrewsGar RobinsonSpencer PigotRiley Motorsports Ligier JS P32032901:56.183Running
161474Oliver AskewAustin McCuskerStevan McAleerForty7 Motorsports Duqueine D0832801:56.589Running
1718335Joao BarbosaYann ClairayLance WillseySean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P32032801:56.340Running
183691Laurens VanthoorLars KernZacharie RobichonPfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R32002:00.835Running
1925162Patrick LongTrent HindmanJan HeylenWright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R32002:00.808Running
2032233Ross GunnIan JamesRomanDe AngelisHeart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT332002:01.402Running
2135444Spencer PumpellyJohn PotterAndy LallyAcura NSX GT332002:01.923Running
2233885Katherine LeggeBia FigueiredoChristina NielsenPorsche 911 GT3R32002:01.484Running
2328126Zach VeachRobert MegennisFrankie MontecalvoVasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT331902:01.450Running
2427147Jack HawksworthKyle KirkwoodAaron TelitzVasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT331302:01.000Running
2529968Bill AuberlenRobby FoleyAidan ReadTurner Motorsport BMW M6 GT331302:01.298Running
2631759Maro EngelMikael GrenierKenny HabulSunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT330402:01.125Running
271316Felipe NasrMike ConwayPipo DeraniWhelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi29201:46.151Running
287487Kamui KobayashiSimon PagenaudJimmie JohnsonCadillac DPi34901:46.424Running
29349910Earl BamberTrenton EstepRob FerriolPorsche 911 GT3R28002:01.325Running
301283Gabriel AubryTim BuretJohn FaranoORECA LMP2 0726601:49.084Running
31196Matthew BellRodrigo SalesNiklas KruettenWIN Autosport Duqueine D0826501:57.106Running
3230111Bryan SellersMadison SnowCorey LewisPaul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT325502:01.353Running
3313387Rasmus LindhDan GoldburgMateo LLarenaPerformance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P32017701:56.981Running
34262812Michaelde QuesadaBilly JohnsonDaniel MoradAlegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT39102:01.960Running
35371913Tim ZimmermannStephen SimpsonFranck PereraGRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT39102:01.501Running
368114Thomas MerrillSteven ThomasTristan NunezWIN Autosport ORECA LMP2 079001:49.619Running
3711225Guy SmithJames McGuireWayne BoydORECA LMP2 0733301:48.673Running

Sebring Preview: Derani on Pole

Photo: Michael levitt/Motorsport Images

Pipo Derani will start on pole for the 69th running of the Sebring 12 hour race tomorrow morning. His number 31 Cadillac edged the Acura of Ricky Taylor 0.09 seconds. in LMP1 qualifying. Jimmie Johnson spun in turn 16 coming to the checkered flag of the session. Johnson was not hurt, but the car suffered damage.

In GTLM Antonio Garcia put the number 3 Corvette on the pole. The Corvettes sport shades of silver this weekend. It will be strange not seeing a yellow Corvette in an endurance race.

Antonio Garcia takes the GTLM pole

Indycar Drivers Tune Up for Season

The race will feature a smattering of Indycar drivers. The shrinking IMSA fields mean fewer Indycar drivers than in past years. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was with the number 55 Mazda last season, does not have a ride since the team cut back to one car for 2021.

Indycar drivers participating are mainly in the DPi class. They are:

01 Cadillac- Scott Dixon

5 Cadillac- Sebastien Bourdais

10 Acura- Alexander Rossi

48 Cadillac- Simon Pagenaud; Jimmie Johnson

60 Acura- Juan Pablo Montoya

The 01 is Chip Ganassi’s entry and the 60 is a Meyer Shank entry.

Former Indycar drivers Oliver Askew and Spencer Pigot are running cars in the LMP3 class.

Indy Lights driver Kyle Kirkwood will drive the number 14 Vasser-Sullivan Lexus in GTD.

TV Schedule: Fire Up Track Pass

While the race begins and ends on NBCSN the middle seven hours are on NBC Track Pass. You can also watch on IMSA TV and I highly recommend listening to Radio LeMans. The broadcast time, all Eastern:

.I hope that unlike the Rolex 24 Hour coverage we don’t have to sit through a Jimmie Johnson interview every 10 minutes. I’d rather watch the racing.

Portland Sets Fan Limit; Notes

Photo from Portland International Raceway website

Portland International Raceway announced a fan limit of 25% for all their events this season. This is great news. It means that the Indycar race scheduled for September 12 is a go. Fans who had tickets for the cancelled 2020 race had the option to defer tickets to 2021. Portland is the third track to announce a track spectator limit.

Barber Motorsports Park didn’t set a specific limit, but will only admit fans who park inside the facility. St. Pete has a 20,000 fan limit per day. Mid Ohio is limited by the state of Ohio to 30% of capacity. That should be around 20,000 or so fans.

Still waiting for a figure from Indianapolis Motor Speedway about the fan limit for the Indianapolis 500.

All announced limits are subject to change as the COVID situation changes. Let’s hope all changes point in the direction of more fans allowed.

Indycar iRacing Tonight

The first of three Indycar iracing events takes place tonight at 6:30 pm Eastern time. Tonight’s track is Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. this should be a fun track for Indycar. The live stream is on Indycar.com/iRacing.

Sebring Broadcast Times

Broadcast times and channels for the 12 Hours of Sebring Saturday:

I’m disappointed at the small amount of over the air television time, but that is less time to hear about Jimmie Johnson. At least the final three hours is on. After sunset is when this race gets crazy. More on Sebring tomorrow.

A Title for Helio at Last

It appeared to be over almost before it had begun. Helio Castroneves watched helplessly from the pit stand as Ricky Taylor had trouble leaving the pits after the Penske Acura’s first pit stop 45 minutes into the 12 Hours of Sebring. A boost issue forced the car back to the garage and cost them 11 laps on track. They would need help to win the IMSA Weather Tech championship. The help came from an unlikely source.

Wayne Taylor Racing, starting the day two points behind the Team Penske duo, looked to be in a solid position to overtake the season leaders. A collision between Scott Dixon, in the Taylor Cadillac and Oliver Jarvis in one of the Mazdas, forced dixon to pit. The team needed to replace the radiator, putting them five laps behind. While still ahead of the Penske car, the Taylor entry couldn’t make up enough positions to gain the three points they needed for the lead.

With the focus on the two cars, the Action Express entry was now in a position to jump into the series championship. hey were well underway until the 10th hour, when Pipo Derani tangled with Juan Pablo Montoya in the other Team Penske car. Derani received a drive through penalty, ending the title hopes for Action Express.

Thus Helio Castroneves, in his final race for team Penske, finally won a title for the Captain. Castroneves had finished second seven times in Indycar for Penske despite three Indianapolis 500 victories and 30 race wins overall. Castroneves begins a new Indycar chapter in 2021 when he drives in six races for Meyer Shank Racing.

Helio’s perseverance in pursuing a championship is admirable. he put in a lot of hard work. It took a little longer than he hoped to finally realize one of his goals.

Indycar Well Represented at Sebring

Indycar drivers and team owners had a good day and night at Sebring. In addition to Castroneves winning the season championship for team Penske, Ryan Hunter-Reay drove for the winning Mazda entry, and Simon Pagenaud was a part of the Team Penske Acura entry which finished second. Two time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya also drove the runner-up car.

Meyer Shank Racing won the season championship in the GTD class with drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry, edging Wright Motorsports by two points. meyer Shank will move to the DPi class next season, taking over one of the Acura entries. Will Castroneves be a part of this venture too?

The Michael Shank Acura, winner of the IMSA Weather Tech GTD title

Other Indycar drivers- Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth overall in his final full time ride. Bourdais will pilot the number14 for A. J. Foyt racing in Indycar in 2021.

Colton Herta ended the night fourth in class driving for RLL.

Sebring- A Race With Many Lasts Could Produce a First

Team Penske could end their time in IMSA with a championship

The Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, delayed from March, is on for Saturday. Normally the second race of the IMSA Weather Tech Championship, the oddities of 2020 have conspired to make it the last race of the season. Thirty-one cars in four classes will take the green just after 10 am Saturday morning.

This race might play out differently than the race would have at its normal spot in the schedule. In the spring, the race occurs just after the return of Daylight Savings Time. The race is run in just a bit more than two hours in darkness. This weekend, teams and drivers will contend with slightly less than half the race run after sunset, which is around 5:32 pm Saturday. Strange things happen at Sebring after dark, which will make the second half of the race interesting.

IMSA Farewells

Sebring will be the final race for the Team Penske Acuras in the DPi class and the Porsche 911s in the GTLM class. The Porsche team has been a popular mainstay in the IMSA series for a long time.

This weekend also sees some drivers leaving the series. Oliver Gavin is running his final race as a full time drive with the GTLM Corvette. Renger van der Zende and Ryan Briscoe take their final stints in Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac. Taylor will switch to one of the Acura cars next year.

Helio’s First Title?

Helio Castroneves could win his first major series title. He and teammate Ricky Taylor lead the Wayne Taylor team of Briscoe and van der Zende by just two points heading into this weekend’s finale.

Castroneves, who finished second four times in his Indycar career, will have to fend off a familiar nemesis to secure his championship. Six time Indycar champion Scott Dixon is the third driver for Wayne Taylor Racing. Dixon edged Castroneves for the Indycar title in 2008 and 2013.

Castroneves signed with Meyer Shank Racing to run six races in Indycar in 2021, and he is likley to be the extra driver in the endurance races for Shank next season. Shank assumes control of the second Acura prototype in 2021.

Should Castroneves take the championship, at certain Indycar races the grid could feature an IMSA champion, a seven time NASCAR champion(jimmkie Johnson), a three time Australian Supercar Champion (Scott McLaughlin), a four time Indycar champion(Sebastien Bourdais), and Dixon, the newly crowned six time Indycar titlist.

Indycar Drivers in the Field

Several Indycar drivers, current and former, will be driving this weekend, most of them in the Prototype class. By car number-

5- Bourdais

6- Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud

7- Helio Castroneves, Alexander Rossi

10- Briscoe

55- Ryan Hunter- Reay

25- Colton Herta (GTLM BMW for Rahal)

Coverage begins on NBCSN at 10 am, switches to NBC from 3-6, then ends on NBCSN at 6.