61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida
Audi Sport Team Joest was both first and last at the 61 st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. The firsts included the overall victory by Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer and Oliver Jarvis in the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the first victory for a hybrid race car at Sebring. The last is that it will be Audi's last P1 performance at Sebring, because P1 cars will not be eligible for next year's 62nd running and into the future of competition under United SportsCar.
The two Audi hybrids put on a great display of close racing, touching on at least one occasion, with the sister 2013 spec quattro of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi finishing just seven seconds behind after twelve hours. The difference in victory may have been the 60 second penalty that Allan McNish earned during the 1 PM hour, when he spun Mirco Schultis in the No.81 DragonSpeed Oreca PC, who almost collected the GT pole sitting Risi Competizione Ferrari F458. The penalty handed the lead to Marcel Fässler 87 laps into the race.
The two Audis finished five laps ahead of the top finishing privateer P1 from Rebellion Racing; driven by Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani and Nick Heidfeld. The No.6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c of Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas was the top finishing LMP1 ALMS regular, one lap behind the No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Toyota. A drivetrain component failure sidelined the Dyson Racing Lola Mazda just short of the race's halfway point.
The No.4 Corvette Racing C6 ZR1 overcame early electrical problems and a 60 second penalty to nip the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia in a late race battle. Tommy Milner, who was at the wheel for the victory, shared the win with Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook. The Ferrari led until Matteo Malucelli, driving in his first Sebring, went off track under pressure from Milner twice in the final 15 minutes. Who knows if the outcome would have been different if Sebring veterans Gianmaria Bruni or Olivier Beretta drove the final stint?
Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellars and Nick Tandy completed the GT podium in the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, finishing one lap behind the Ferrari and Vette. Bill Auberlen, Jorg Muller and Maxime Martin placed fourth in the No.55 BMW Z4 GTE, three laps off the class winning Corvette. The sister No.56 BMW of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and John Edwards finished eighth in class.
SRT Motorsports had both of their SRT Viper GTS-Rs finish the race in the top ten and the No.91 Viper of Marc Goossens, Dominic Farnbacher and Ryan Dalziel led the GT Class for 50 laps during the car's return to Sebring. The Viper showed good speed and the drivers managed to stay out of trouble. With some work on reliability (No.91 lost time when it wouldn't refire after a stop and the No.93 lost 30 laps for repairs) the rest of the season looks promising. The cars finished in fifth and tenth in class.
Level 5 Motorsports finished 1-2 in the five-car P2 Class. Marino Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe and Team Owner Scott Tucker bested their team car, driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud and yes – Scott “Big Chief” Tucker. Greaves Motorsport's Tom Kimber-Smith, Eric Lux and Christian Zugel split the two-car teams of ALMS P2 full season entries Level 5 and Extreme Speed Motorsports.
The Prototype Challenge Class win also went down to the wire. The PR1/Mathiason Motorsports team of David Chang, David Ostella and Mike Guasch beat Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson in the BAR1 Motorsports Oreca. They both completed 336 laps.
In GTC Dion Von Moltke was part of the winning Alex Job Racing/WeatherTech team that claimed the class win. He joined Oliver Jarvis, (who was part of the Audi overall winning team), as winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1Twelve Hours of Sebring this year. They drove together in an AJR Audi R8 Grand-Am for the GT Class win at Daytona.
Copyright 2001-2013 Greg Sarni, USA