While the first full day of Spring 2015 was notable in the Northern Hemisphere for a solar eclipse and a supermoon, it was a day for the motorsports record books with the running of the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. As temperatures at Sebring International Raceway soared into the high 80s, a field of 46 entries took the green flag that set into motion the 12-hour endurance test on this notoriously rough track.
Temperatures on the track reached a high of 120 degrees as the clock approached 1500 EDT, which translated into faster lap times as the rubber deposits on the track allowed for better grip. Almost eight hours into the timed test, the heat of the day eased with the setting of the sun while giving drivers the additional challenge of keeping their cars on the pavement of the unlit course.
With Portugal’s Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil and Sebastien Bourdais of France sharing the driving duties, the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP successfully repeated as overall and class (Prototype) winner. In addition, the win also broke a 50-year drought – marking the first time since 1965 that a Chevrolet-powered car won the 12-hour race.
“It all starts back at the shop and not at the track on Friday morning,” said Fittipaldi after the awards presentation. “A lot of people think we arrive on Friday and practice, and then we qualify and then we race and that’s it, but that is not it, it begins at the shop. When we tested at Daytona we were well off the pace. We brought the car back to the shop and analyzed everything we did and when we returned to Daytona for the race we did quite well and finished in second place. Like Joao mentioned, for us to finish every single lap that has thus far been run in this series is quite remarkable, 10,415 miles and still counting. Hats off to Action Express Racing and Chevrolet and all the guys in the shop who put such a strong and competitive car together.”
In two classes, the winners of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona picked up their second endurance race win of the year: the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09, driven by Americans Mike Guasch and Andrew Palmer and British driver Tom Kimber-Smith, won the PC class; and the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, driven by Denmark’s Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia of Spain, and American driver Ryan Briscoe, won the GTLM class.
In the GT Daytona class the #23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America, driven by American Ian James, Mario Farnbacher of Germany and Alex Riberas of Spain, took the win.
Rolex is the official timepiece of Sebring International Raceway and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.\