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Bourdais leads JDC Miller to thrilling victory at 12 Hours of Sebring

Credits: IMSA.

The 2021 edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring once again did not disappoint, providing us with breathtaking last laps battles and very unexpected results. Here is a quick recap of what happened.

On Friday, Pipo Derani clinched the pole position, lapping the Sebring International Raceway in 1:45.354, one tenth faster than Ricky Taylor. However, as always in endurance, the race did not end up as expected, as the fastest crews did not necessarily show great results.

The end of the race was particularly interesting, especially in terms of pit strategy. It all began after Timothé Buret was involved in a terrible crash, destroying his LMP2, and causing a full course yellow. Luckily, the French driver managed to walk out unarmed from what was remaining of his Oreca 07.

In DPi, the peak category of IMSA, the Chip Ganassi Racing team looked very fast, managing to put up the fastest lap of the event and engaging the last two hours of the race with an advance of almost 15 seconds. Nonetheless, it would not be endurance racing if everything went as planned. Indeed, one hour before the end of the race, Scott Dixon collided with a BMW trying to pit in, causing big steering damages to his car and ending the hopes of the team to win the race.

Thanks to a few yellow flags, the JDC Miller Motorsports’ Cadillac driven by a 100% French crew managed to catch up with the leading group of the race even though they had been lapped by the leaders earlier in the race. After Dixon’s accident with the BMW, the French crew had the opportunity to lead the race, just one hour before the checkered flag.

All the teams had a last stop after 11 hours and 30 minutes of racing, during the last yellow flag of the race. Bourdais restarted the race in the first position, closely followed by Harry Tincknell’s Mazda and Rossi’s Acura. Kobayashi stormed past the other DPI and quickly caught the leading group as a great battle for the win started. However, Sebastien Bourdais suffered from unexplained rear wing damage right after the restart that did not allow him to push his car at 100% of its potential.

The battle for the lead ended in the very last lap of the race. Kamui Kobayashi and Harry Trincknell had a breathtaking last-lap battle while Bourdais managed to win the race for JDC Miller Motorsports, finishing one second ahead of Trincknell’s Mazda and Kobayashi’s Cadillac.

In LMP2, Mikkel Jensen claimed the victory with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports whereas Colin Braun was the first to cross the line in LMP3, leading CORE autosport to the victory.

In the GT categories, Porsche dominated the race putting their legendary 911 on top of GTLM (GT Le Mans) and GTD (GT Daytona). Nonetheless, the end of the race was also very exciting in GTLM. Indeed, the BMW number 25 looked extremely fast and was almost on a highway towards victory. However, in a very fast last pitstop, Antonio Garcia’s Corvette came out on top. De Philippi, now behind the wheel of the BMW #25 caught up with the Corvette and tried to take the inside of the Spaniard just 8 minutes before the end of the race. Nevertheless, nothing went as planned, as the Corvette violently closed the door on the BMW, causing both of them to crash. Mathieu Jaminet miraculously avoided an over-accident with De Philippi and took the lead, before winning the race in GTLM.

In GTD, Vanthoor led his 911 GT3R to the win, finishing in front of Wright Motorsports’ Porsche, sealing an almost perfect and very promising race weekend for Porsche.

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