A first IMSA win and overall podium for Tower Motorsports at the 12 Hours of Sebring!
Eight ORECA 07s took the start in Florida on Saturday in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the 12 Hours of Sebring. The IMSA race was just as suspenseful as the previous day’s FIA WEC race decided in the final laps!
The second round of the American championship offered a magnificent battle at one of the most demanding circuits in the world. After a thrilling 12 hours of racing, the final classification didn’t emerge until the last 20 minutes!
While in a duel with Mathieu Jaminet for victory, brief contact sent Filipe Albuquerque’s Acura ARX-06 into the grass. The shock was significant enough to hurl the Japanese car back on the track in the middle of traffic. Powerless to rectify the situation, the Portuguese driver crashed into his opponent, wreaking havoc in their wake. The three race leaders a stone’s throw apart at the time were then forced to disembark from of their prototypes on their own. The trio of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Louis Delétraz in fourth position slipped into the top spot.
Meyer Shank Racing’s #60 Acura ARX passed under the chequered flag sixth in GTP after breaking its left rear wheel nut and losing the wheel following an incident in the 10th hour. The misfortune allowed LMP2 competitor Tower Motorsports to win its first IMSA victory and even claim the third step on the overall podium!
The trio of John Farano, Scott McLaughlin and Kyffin Simpson believed all was lost in the sixth hour after a track exit tore off their car’s front and rear bonnets, but outstanding work by the mechanics and flawless stints by the drivers made it possible to prevail, a welcome reward after the team’s troubles at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
They had managed to hold off Mikkel Jensen, Steven Thomas and Scott Huffaker who took control of the race with 34 minutes to go and finished second at the wheel of TDS Racing’s #11 ORECA 07. Era Motorsport’s #18 ORECA 07 shared by Dwight Merrimann, Christian Rasmussen and Ryan Dalziel rounded out the class podium.
Despite demonstrating impressive speed, pole-sitter PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, the leader at mid-race, finished fourth ahead of Crowdstrike Racing by APR’s #04.
The #20 of High Class Racing, #51 of Rick Ware Racing and #35 of TDS Racing completed the classification.
The third round of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set for 15 April at the Long Beach street circuit where only the GTP and GTD classes will compete.