Ally Cadillac drivers Kamui Kobayashi (Japan), Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) and José María López (Argentina) will try to give the team its first win of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in the 70th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 16-19 at Sebring International Raceway. The team will be without co-driver Jimmie Johnson (Mooresville, N.C.) this weekend due to a schedule conflict in another series.
In this race last year, Kobayashi drove the No.48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R, alongside co-drivers Johnson and Simon Pagenaud, to a third-place finish. However, the team was assessed a drive time penalty after the race. This result forced the team to be officially classified seventh, negating their podium finish. This year, the team looks to rebound and build upon last year’s strong performance in the 12-hour enduro.
“I think we will be good here this weekend as all three of us are running in the WEC (World Endurance Championship) race,” Kobayashi said. “We will have a lot of track time to build from for the IMSA race. I am looking forward to running in the Ally Cadillac again and working with the Action Express Racing team. Last year, we had very good pace at Sebring and should have been on the podium. Unfortunately, we had the penalty with the drive time. So, I think we are going to be very strong, and we are motivated to get a good finish for Jimmie.”
Rockenfeller has had some success at Sebring. He won the GTLM class race in 2017 driving a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. He has also finished third twice (2015, 2019). He thinks the Cadillac is well-suited for Florida’s historic 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course.
“I’m looking forward to being back in the Ally Cadillac this weekend,” Rockenfeller said. “The Cadillac has proven to be a fantastic car on many tracks, particularly at Sebring. We hope to continue that record at Sebring with a good result. It is going to be a tough week with some heat and probably some rain. After Daytona, we want to come back and have a good result. We want to fight for the win. Let’s see what we can do.”
López is excited to be back in the Ally Cadillac after helping the team finish fifth in his first-ever Rolex 24. However, unlike Daytona, López has driven at Sebring in the past, while competing in the World Endurance Championship. In fact, he will pull double duty this weekend when he gets behind the wheel of the Ally Cadillac (IMSA) and the Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota (WEC) along with co-drivers Kobayashi and Mike Conway.
“It was great to get the call to be back in the Ally Cadillac for another run at Sebring,” López said. “Unlike when I joined the team for Daytona, I have a lot of laps at Sebring and will get more running in the WEC race there this week too. The team had a good run there last year. It is too bad that Jimmie can’t be in the car. So, we are going to see if we can get a win for him in the Ally Cadillac on Saturday.”
Kobayashi, Rockefeller, López, and Johnson are currently fifth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi Driver’s Points Standings with 290 points. The No. 48 Ally Cadillac will compete in the series’ four endurance races this year – Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans.
Source. Kyle Chura Associates