The 1000 Miles of Sebring, first round of the 10th season of the FIA WEC, played out on Friday in Florida at one of the most legendary and challenging circuits in the world. Pole-sitter Alpine Endurance Team successfully started the year with the top step on the podium after seven hours 30 minutes of racing thanks to the Hypercar shared by André Negrão, Matthieu Vaxivière and Nicolas Lapierre. The United Autosports USA team executed a flawless race, winning the LMP2 class in the first round of the season.
With a time of 1:47.407 in qualifying, the #36 Alpine A480 driven by Lapierre scored the second pole position for Alpine in the FIA WEC after Vaxivière’s at the 8 Hours of Portimão last year.
The fastest time in LMP2 was clocked by AF Corse’s #83 ORECA 07 (entered in the Pro Am championship) for its rookie season in the FIA WEC. The car finished ahead of the two ORECA 07s fielded by United Autosports (the #22 of Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and William Owen, and the #23 of Paul di Resta, Oliver Jarvis and Josh Pierson) in the class (third overall).
The 10th season of the FIA World Endurance Championship kicked off on Friday at noon local time under a full Floridian sun. The Alpine A480 led the charge for the entire race despite four red flags and extraordinary weather conditions during the last hour, clinching a triumphant first win for the French team in the FIA WEC!
Race direction was forced to interrupt the round just one hour from the checkered flag due to an approaching tornado. The restart behind the safety car was short-lived though: 32 minutes from the finish, a final red flag definitively ended the race, cementing the final classification.
Despite the chaotic end to the round, Alpine Endurance Team’s significant lead gave it the win and the top spot in the championship for an impressive start to an already thrilling season.
The victory clinched by United Autosports USA’s #23 ORECA 07 in the LMP2 class allowed Joshua Pierson, teammate of Paul di Resta and Oliver Jarvis, to become the youngest winner ever in the FIA WEC at 16 years, one month and four days old.
Team WRT’s #31 ORECA 07 driven by Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and René Rast finished second ahead of Realteam by WRT’s #41 shared by Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato. Prema Orlen Team’s #9 ORECA 07 driven by Robert Kubica, Louis Delétraz and Lorenzo Colombo finished fourth in front of the #28 and #38 Jotas.
The top spot on the Pro Am class podium was claimed by AF Corse’s #83 ORECA 07 shared by François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera ahead of the Ultimate team and Algarve Pro Racing.
After this suspenseful kickoff to the season, even more intense action is expected on the track at the next round of the FIA WEC on 7 May at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.