Green, Green, Green!
The green flag dropped on the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts with polesitter Ricky Taylor leading the field in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi. The race, typically held in March, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and served as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale.
No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R (Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler)
It wasn’t the final race Oliver Gavin had hoped for as a full-time Corvette Racing driver. Gavin, whose accolades include five Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victories in 19 years with the team, nearly lost control of the No. 4 Corvette when it started leaking fluid onto the track less than three hours into the race. The car was able to continue but finished last in the GTLM class. Gavin was honored during prerace and the car sported a "Cheers, Olly!" decal.
No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 (Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki)
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring marked the final race for the Porsche GT Team as they concluded their seven-year North America program. The Nos. 911 and 912 donned special red, white and blue "Thank You" liveries. The teams went out on top, finishing the race 1-2 in the GTLM class.
At the end of Hour 3, Michelin celebrated its millionth mile since becoming the Official Tire of IMSA in 2019. The milestone includes WeatherTech Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge practice, qualifying and race sessions.
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R (Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon)
Saturday was full of ups and downs for the No. 10 Cadillac. At the four-hour mark, with Briscoe leading the race, he and van der Zande clinched the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup driver and team titles for the DPi class. It looked like the season championship may be theirs as well after the team leading the points, the No. 7 Acura Team Penske, experienced mechanical issues. But the No. 10 would have setbacks of its own when it sustained damage almost five hours into the race after contact with the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi. The No. 10 Cadillac finished the race seventh in class, seven laps down and only one point behind the No. 7 Acura in the championship points standings.
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi (Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr, Gabby Chaves)
With both the Nos. 7 and 10 experiencing early-race issues, it looked as though the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi and drivers Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr might have a shot at the championship. The No. 31 team found itself in an intensifying rivalry with the Acura Team Penske Acura DPis in recent events and that continued into Saturday’s race. With Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel of the No. 6 Acura and leading the race at the nine-and-a-half-hour mark, Derani made contact with the No. 6 and served a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility. As Derani exited pit lane the right-front suspension broke, ending his and the team’s title hopes.
No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R (Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia, Nicky Catsburg)
With No. 3 Corvette Racing drivers Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia sewing up the driver and team GTLM championships heading into the season finale, all that was left was for the Nos. 3 and 4 to start the race at Sebring to give Chevrolet the manufacturer’s crown as well. They accomplished that, but both cars dealt with rear suspension issues throughout the race and finished fifth and sixth in class, respectively.
No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 (Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer, Scott Huffaker)
With Patrick Kelly and the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 having already clinched the driver and team championships at the penultimate round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the team’s focus was on winning the Michelin Endurance Cup for the team and co-driver Simon Trummer; they accomplished that, along with a class win.
No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 (Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry, Shinya Michimi)
The No. 86 Acura and drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry entered Sebring leading the driver and team point standings in the GTD class. Farnbacher displayed his expert driving skills when he was tapped from behind, sent into a 360-degree spin and was able to immediately carry on. With an assist from Shinya Michimi, the No. 86 Acura finished third and captured the GTD championship titles.
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R (Jan Heylen, Ryan Harwick, Patrick Long)
The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche started on the GTD pole after a fast lap by Heylen. Early in the race, with Hardwick at the wheel, the Porsche fell off the pace, dropping towards the bottom of the class. The team was able to rally, and with veteran racer Patrick Long at the helm, nabbed the fourth Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring win for Long and the first WeatherTech Championship win of Hardwick and Heylen’s careers.
No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi (Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Ryan Hunter-Reay)
When the No. 77 Mazda suffered a flat tire and brought out the final full-course caution of the race, their stablemate, the No. 55 with Harry Tincknell behind the wheel, claimed the lead with under 30 minutes remaining. Tincknell made the most of the opportunity, scoring the team their second win of the season.
"This is what you dream of,’" Tincknell said. "Twenty minutes to go, leading one of the biggest races in the world. You just have to go for it, give it everything you have. No regrets. I just pushed like crazy."
No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi (Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves, Alexander Rossi)
Entering the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring having won four of the last five races and leading the DPi championship standings by two points, Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves did not have the storybook race they were looking for, but still got the fairytale ending.
Less than an hour into the race, Taylor pulled the No. 7 Acura behind the wall for 30 minutes for repairs to the left-side intercooler as Castroneves pitched in to help the team.
"We’re going to fight until the end," Castroneves said while the work was underway. "Anything is possible. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to come back and keep going. … I don’t want to lose hope right now. I know it sounds difficult. It is."
The No. 7 Acura returned to the fray 11 laps down, but Taylor and Castroneves, along with co-driver Alexander Rossi, fought back to finish only seven laps down – but still last in their class. Thanks to the mishaps faced by the other championship contending teams, the No. 7 team was able to celebrate both team and driver championships by one point.
"It was destiny," Castroneves said. "I always say if it’s meant to be it will be, and I’m so glad it was our turn. … We never gave up."