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Action Express Cadillac Wins An Exciting 12 Hours Of Sebring

Sebring, Fl. (March 18th, 2023)

On March 18th, 2023, at the venerable Sebring International Raceway was the 71st running of the IMSA WeatherTech Twelve Hours of Sebring. Over the course of twelve consecutive grueling hours man and machine would have their mettle tested over the 3.7 mile seventeen turn course. With a stacked field of fifty three cars spread across five different categories all on track at the same time there would be action a plenty.

With all the Cadillac teams running fast in all the practice sessions, it was no surprise that one of them captured pole position. It was the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing V-Series.R piloted by Pipo Derani captured the pole by a scant .087 seconds over Sebastien Bourdais in his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R. Rounding out the top three would be Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06.

With the top three drivers set as well as the field, the next twelve hours were set to be action packed. With the green flag waved the field didn’t even make one lap when Lance Willsey spun his #33 Sean Creech Motorsport LMP3 car in turn one damaging the front end. Thankfully, no one else got caught up in the spin. But this would foreshadow the next twelve hours.

In the GTP class early on it was a duel between the pole sitting Action Express Cadillac and the Konica Minolta Acura. During all of this the Action Express Cadillac made contact with one of the LMP3 teams and sustained front end damage derailing its campaign as it took several laps to get the damage repaired. The No. 1 Cadillac fared no better spinning several times and handed the lead over to the Minolta Konica Acura team. But a speeding penalty on pit road would knock the Acura to the back of the field along with the Cadillacs.

With three hours to go in the race in a stunning situation, the No. 1 Cadillac caught fire due to a fuel leak and was out of the race. But the bad luck wouldn’t end there.  The Rolex 24 hour winning Myers Shank  Acura was knocked out of the race as well when the left rear wheel came off the car. With the race nearing its end, at the seventy five minute mark the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura was back in the lead and following them was both Penske Porsche cars.

With both Porsches and the Acura dicing back and forth for the lead and having to pit as well, the Action Express Cadillac stayed out and got back into the mix. With the race nearing the end, the Acura and one of the Porsches were racing hard and heading into turn three when they ran into traffic and they collided sending the Acura ricocheting off a wall and back into traffic and into a Porsche. Unfortunately the other Porsche was in the wrong place at the wrong time and collided with the Acura and it’s teammate Porsche car knocking all three leading teams out of the race with ten minutes to go.

After all the chaos, the Action Express team was able to wind its way through the carnage and into the lead. The track was cleared with four minutes to go, and the last caution of the race was done. With the green flag waved, The Action Express Cadillac was able to cruise to the checkered flag and the win. Finishing second overall was the No. 25 BWM Team Rll.

In the LMP2 class the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Oreca held a commanding lead in the early stages of the race. Eventually the #04 Crowdstrike by APR found its footing and took over control of the race. While things were looking good for the Crowdstrike team, two spins by the team later on in the race took them out of contention. The crash bug would also hit the #8 Tower Motorsports car when it had an incident in turn 1. Luckily enough they would be able to nurse the car back to the pits for repairs.

With IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin behind the wheel of the #8 Tower Motorsports car at the final restart of the night after the accident with minutes to go, he tore through the field and was able to grab the class win by .83 seconds over the No. 18 Era Motorsports team as well as third overall in the race.

The LMP3 class had one of the wildest starts of all the classes when Lance Willsey spun his No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport LMP3 car in turn one damaging the front end. Lucky enough, no one else got caught up in the spin.  The No. 36 Andretti Autosport took command of the class quickly, but  eventually gave way to  the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports car. But it was the No.30 JR III car that built a commanding lead in the class and was looking to run away with the win. With seventy five minutes to go all that changed when the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing LMP2 car lost a wheel and it collided with the frontrunner taking them out of the race. The No. 74 Riley was able to steer around the stricken race leader and get the win.

The GTD /GTD Pro class was dominated early by the No. 3 Corvette Racing team. They were eventually joined by  the No.79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG-GT3. These two teams seemingly dominated the competition. With four hours left in the race the Corvette squad needed an extended pit stop to replace a failing rear damper. The team drove hard and with some well timed yellow flags they got back on the lead lap. Once again though disaster struck as the car was struck from behind and spun out. But they were knocked down to sixth place. While attempting to come back from this they were caught up in the crash that took out the race leaders effectively ending any chance of a class win. While all the drama was playing out in the Corvette camp, quietly the No. 9 Pfaff motorsports Porsche  overcame a heavy shunt in Fridays practice session and the team executed some top notch strategy throughout the race. Between the driving and the teams plans they found themselves out in front and won the race by 2.7 seconds over the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus. The GTD class was won by the #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW. Coming in second was the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW.


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