Mustang Sampling Cadillac looking for more at Sebring
Nasr planning to be back in Whelen Engineering Cadillac
Stephen Simpson in JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac
Konica Minolta Cadillac banking on knowledge
With the reboot of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season the teams will, once again, race in Florida. The 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway will host the series for a two-hour and 40-minute sprint race this Saturday. Competitors are used to racing for one lap around the clock at the 12-hours of Sebring in March. This year the 12-hour has been moved to November.
Coming off of a podium finish less than two-weeks ago at Daytona, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais are looking to keep the strong performance going this weekend.
“Sebring is a tough track,” Barbosa said. “We won’t have 12-hours to wait for the last one to start to race. We will have to push the whole race. It will be hot and maybe a little more demanding on the driver and the team with the heat. It is another two-day event, so we will have to be ready right away on Friday. We did some testing at Sebring before the lockdown and we hope that pays off with a fast start to the weekend.
“We were one of the fastest Cadillac DPi-V.R cars in the race at Daytona. With our podium finish at Daytona, everyone at JDC-Miller Motorsports and everyone at Mustang Sampling is motivated to keep performing.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R will have Stephen Simpson return to the team to partner with Tristan Vautier.
“Yes, it will be different to a certain degree, but even during the 12 hours, no one is driving conservatively or ‘pacing themselves’ as the competition is so strong and the cars are reliable,” Simpson said. “So, you can expect to see two-hours and 40-minutes of flat out, hard driving with hopefully a Cadillac winning the race and hopefully it’s the #85. It will be HOT. This will make things difficult! It is hot inside the car on any given day, so with the extra heat and humidity of mid-Florida in mid-July, there is no doubt it will have an effect on drivers as well as crew who will have to be suited up as well. This is something we as a team are planning for.
“The heat will have an effect on drivers, but also the cars and tires, so thinking ahead and looking after the tires will be important and I expect to see significant lap time differences between new and used tires, so you could see teams opting for different pit strategies.”
Felipe Nasr is planning to return to the seat of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R this weekend. Nasr was sidelined for Daytona due to testing positive for COVID-19. He is going through IMSA protocol to return to the team this weekend. He and Pipo Derani will be looking for another strong run at Sebring this weekend. The team won the 12-hour race in March of 2019, so come into the event as the DPi defending race winners.
“Sebring is a track that I really love,” Derani said. “I’ve had a lot of success there in the past. I’ve won three 12-Hours of Sebring [races] in the last four years. But, I think this time it’s going to be different. Instead of it being a 12-hour race, it’s going to be only two hours and 40 minutes. For sure, strategy is going to play a big role. It’s going to be a sprint, which at a track like Sebring, it’s never easy. With the success we’ve had there in the past, we expect nothing less [than a win]. Hopefully, we can finally get our championship started. There’s nothing better than winning at a track we won at last year.
“Sebring always beats you up pretty well. It’s such a hard track on everyone – on the drivers, on the car – it’s very bumpy. But hey, we’re ready for the task. I love driving around those bumpy tracks like Sebring.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team took the opportunity to test at Sebring in November. Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe, Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona winners, will be looking to unload their black Cadillac DPi-V.R ready to “rock and roll” on Friday.
“Sebring International Raceway is one of my favorite tracks,” Van Der Zande said. “The 12 Hours of Sebring is number one on my list to win, so I’m happy we will have a chance to win it in November. For now, we’re racing the short distance which will be a whole new dynamic for the race. We had a test at Sebring in December where Ryan and I had many laps in the car and it went really well. There’s a lot of positives to take from Daytona and items that we can improve on as well. I’ve been in the United States for two weeks now, so I’m very eager to get back on track. I’ve been training quite a lot, so I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Cadillac Sebring Driver Line-up:
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Stephen Simpson
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince