Four Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R teams and race cars are ready for the 69th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts to run at Sebring International Raceway March 17-20.
Coming off of a month-and-a-half break since the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the teams have been busy testing and getting ready for round two of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship. The No. 48 Ally Cadillac team that finished second in Daytona has decided to run the remaining IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events (Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta) and comes to central Florida with drivers Jimmy Johnson, Simon Pagenaud and Kamui Kobayashi ready for the Sebring challenge. The team took the opportunity to test at the central Florida 3.74-mile, 17-turn track a couple weeks ago.
“I will be driving the Cadillac DPi-V.R for the first time at Sebring this week,” Kobayashi said. “I’ve raced at Sebring once before in the WEC series and we finished second in the Toyota in 2019. I like the track. It is very challenging for the driver. I talked to Jimmie and Simon after the test and they said that the Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R handled the bumps really well. I am looking forward to driving the car there this weekend in what I think will be a very competitive race.”
Now that they have more miles and are more familiar with the Cadillac DPi-V.R Renger van der Zande, Kevin Magnussen, and Scott Dixon are looking for and even stronger run at Sebring this weekend in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.
“We tested at Sebring and were able to try all kinds of different things with the car,” van der Zande said. “The car is new to the team, so they are still getting familiar with it. Sebring is an iconic track and there is always something crazy happening during the race. We start in the morning and it is hot, the track changes all day, especially when the sun goes down and it gets cooler. I have won Petit Le Mans, Daytona, and Watkins Glen I am ready to win at Sebring. Looking at Daytona the Acura was strong, but there are more Cadillac’s in the field. The Cadillac has always driven really well over the bumps at Sebring. The BoP at Daytona was quite impressive, things seemed pretty even. We will see what happens this weekend.”
The Whelen Engineering Cadillac team with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, and Mike Conway come to Sebring as the favorites. The Action Express Racing led team won the 12 hours in 2019 and last year’s COVID adjusted June sprint race at Sebring.
“Sebring is a special place,” Nasr said. “The track is very unique. It has been recognized as one of the best races to attend. We won there in 2019 and we also won the sprint race there last year, so our objective is no different. We will show up and display the pace of our car. We tested with the other teams a couple of weeks ago and it was good to measure our pace. The track is very technical with high speed, low, and medium speed turns. The track surface changes with the time of day and that is one of the things that makes it so special.”
The JDC-Miller Motorsports No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R with drivers Tristan Vautier, Loic Duval, and Sebastien Bourdais were front runners at Daytona until contact set them back. The French trio are looking for another strong run this weekend in Florida.
“We were close in November with the team,” Vautier said. “Sebring was my first ever drive in America in 2010 so it is a special place for me. In November we were in the fight for the win and then we got hit in the back by a GT car and that took us out of contention. We weren’t able to test, but if we unload with the car close to where it was in November and we execute we should be able to battle for the win again. The cars at Daytona were very strong and close. It will come down to who does the small details right and avoids trouble. There is a lot going on on the track with LMP2 cars, so that will make it tricky. Plus, Sebring is more narrow than Daytona so it will be difficult to get past those cars. We will have to be around for the last two hours where we can push for the win.”
Cadillac Racing Sebring driver line-up:No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R, Jimmy Johnson, Simon Pagenaud, Kamui KobayashiNo. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, Kevin Magnussen, Renger Van Der Zande, Scott DixonNo. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Mike ConwayNo. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier, Loic Duval, Sebastien Bourdais
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing