The #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez beat the sister #8 entry of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa at Sebring International Raceway’s WEC opener.

The #8 car led for the opening half of the race but the #7 took command after a particularly rapid out-lap from Lopez in the fifth hour, as Hirakawa took longer to get up to speed. Earlier, Hartley had just managed to hold his position at the front, even when he had to make two pitstops in rapid succession in the fourth hour, including one to top up on fuel under a full-course yellow.

The cars were just half a second apart with 90 minutes remaining, as Kobayashi and Buemi took over. But Buemi reported that his car became undrivable in traffic and fell away by over 10s as the race entered its final hour, which more than doubled after a slow final pitstop, meaning their battle was over and they cruised to a crushing 1-2.

Behind them – two laps in arrears – was a fierce battle for the final step on the podium. The #50 Ferrari 499P that Antonio Fuoco had qualified on pole position, led early on but a strategy decision to pit under an early safety car backfired.

He was hit with a drive-through at the restart and a further 5s penalty for not following correct procedure, while the #51 sister car suffered a further delay that dropped both into the middle of the Hypercar pack.

With two hours to go, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 car clipped the #54 GTE Am Ferrari 488 of Francesco Castellacci at Turn 15, near the pit entry, and spun into the #56 Project 1 Porsche, smashing its left-rear corner – which Pier Guidi further damaged having to drag the car around on three wheels, sending it to the garage for 20 minutes.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Before that, the Ferraris had enjoyed some entertaining on-track battles with the pair of Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s and the single Cadillac V-Series.R, with the latter being delayed when Alex Lynn suffered a drive-through penalty for not respecting the FCY procedure at the end of hour 2.

The Cadillac – piloted by Lynn, Earl Bamber and Richard Westbrook – just missed out on a podium finish, and chased home the #50 Ferrari of Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, which gave Ferrari a podium finish in the car’s first start.

The Porsche 963s finished a distant fifth and sixth, another two laps down, with the #6 of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor aided in the intra-team battle when the #5 of Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki earned a drive-through penalty for an FCY infringement. But an electrical system reset with an hour remaining switched their places back, so the #5 prevailed.

Peugeot suffered a disastrous race, with a number of technical issues consigning both 9X8 LMH cars behind the wall for prolonged periods. The #94 entry encountered a gear-shifting issue at the very start of the race, with further high-voltage energy store issues later on putting the car shared by Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Nico Muller in the garage for several hours.

The #93 sister car also had a troubled run, with an incident between Mikkel Jensen and the Vanwall Vandervell 680 of Esteban Guerrieri compounding the misery of the French marque. Jensen was caught out when Guerrieri slowed down in response to a FCY period at the end of hour 3, spinning as a result.

The sole Vanwall picked up a puncture in the process and had to pit immediately, but its hitherto untroubled run was spoiled when Jacques Villeneuve suffered a wild spin at Sunset Corner due to a suspension failure, and the former Formula 1 world champion was forced to crab back to the pits. But, after repairs, the Vanwall recovered to beat the factory-run Peugeots.

The sole Glickenhaus retired from the race after Romain Dumas stopped on track at Turn 17 in the second hour with an electrical issue.

#48 Hertz Team Jota Oreca 07 - Gibson: David Beckmann, Yifei Ye, William Stevens

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Bizarre United Autosports TV camera issue hands LMP2 win to Jota

Oliver Jarvis led the early part of the race after qualifying the #23 United Autosports car on pole position, with Joshua Pierson carrying on his team-mate’s good work after being put in the driver's seat at the end of the second hour.

But Pierson’s ORECA-Gibson 07 suddenly crawled to a halt in the fourth hour, ending the #23 crew’s hopes of repeating their Sebring victory from 12 months ago. United reported that the electric failure was “caused by an in-car TV camera fixture”.

That handed the class lead to the #48 Jota of David Beckmann, Will Stevens and Yifei Ye, which is the car that the team is running while it waits for its customer Porsche 963 LMDh to be delivered - and duly isn’t registered for points in LMP2.

But the #48 was off-strategy to the #63 Prema car of Doriane Pin, Mirko Bortolotti and Daniil Kvyat, and looked to have given up victory with just over 10 minutes remaining as it needed to pit for fuel. But the Prema car also had to stop a few laps later, so Jota retook the position and the win with just three minutes remaining.

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R: Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone, Nicky Catsburg

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Corvette wins GTE Am after Iron Dames drama

Corvette scored victory on home turf in GTE Am, with Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg and Nicolas Varrone enjoying a flawless race in their #33 C8.R.

The Corvette was handed the lead when the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 of Rahel Frey went wide over the kerbs at the exit of Turn 1, with the impact breaking apart the car's entire rear bodywork that needed replacing. That undid all the great work done by Sarah Bovy across the opening stints, which included a brilliantly-timed pitstop before an FCY that gave the car its considerable lead.

Dempsey-Proton’s Porsche finished a lap down in second, ahead of Kessel Racing’s #57 Ferrari, which needed a late stop for fuel which gave away the runner-up spot.

There was a major crash for Richard Mille driver Luis Perez Companc in the opening hour of the race, with the Argentine’s #83 Ferrari rolling upside down after going wide at Turn 1 and smashing into the barriers.

WEC Sebring 1000 miles - Race results

17 Jose Maria Lopez Toyota GR010 - HybridHYPERCAR239 -
28 Ryo Hirakawa Toyota GR010 - HybridHYPERCAR239 2.168
350 Nicklas Nielsen Ferrari 499PHYPERCAR237 2 laps
42 Richard Westbrook Cadillac V-Series.RHYPERCAR237 2 laps
55 Frédéric Makowiecki Porsche 963HYPERCAR235 4 laps
66 Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 963HYPERCAR235 4 laps
748 Will Stevens Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
822Filipe Albuquerque Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
963 Daniil Kvyat Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
1034 Albert Costa Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
1141 Louis Deletraz Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
1228 Oliver Rasmussen Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
1331 Robin Frijns Oreca 07LMP2230 9 laps
149Andrea Caldarelli Oreca 07LMP2229 10 laps
1551 Antonio Giovinazzi Ferrari 499PHYPERCAR228 11 laps
1636 Charles Milesi Oreca 07LMP2228 11 laps
1733 Nick Catsburg Chevrolet Corvette C8.RLMGTE AM221 18 laps
1877 Julien Andlauer Porsche 911 RSR - 19LMGTE AM219 20 laps
1957 Daniel Serra Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE AM219 20 laps
2021 Ulysse DeFerrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE AM219 20 laps
2154 Davide Rigon Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE AM219 20 laps
2260 Alessio Picariello Porsche 911 RSR - 19LMGTE AM219 20 laps
2386 Benjamin Barker Porsche 911 RSR - 19LMGTE AM218 21 laps
2485 Rahel Frey Porsche 911 RSR - 19LMGTE AM218 21 laps
2510 Gabriel Aubry Oreca 07LMP2218 21 laps
2625 Charles Eastwood Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE AM217 22 laps
27777 Tomonobu Fujii Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE AM217 22 laps
2898 Nicki Thiim Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE AM216 23 laps
2956Matteo Cairoli Porsche 911 RSR - 19LMGTE AM215 24 laps
304 Jacques Villeneuve Vanwall Vandervell 680HYPERCAR215 24 laps
3193 Jean-Eric Vergne Peugeot 9X8HYPERCAR213 26 laps
3294 Nico Müller Peugeot 9X8HYPERCAR141 98 laps
3335 Olli Caldwell Oreca 07LMP2139 100 laps
3423 Oliver Jarvis Oreca 07LMP291 148 laps
35708 Olivier Pla Glickenhaus 007HYPERCAR62 177 laps
3683 Alessio Rovera Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE AM4 235 laps
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2023-03-18T00:31:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd