They were the class of the field for the vast majority of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R team of Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran were rewarded with an overall victory in a grueling IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship battle on Saturday.
Morning rains and exceedingly wet track conditions prevented the green flag from flying for the first time until 40 minutes into the 12-hour race. But once it did, the No. 31 was flying too. The team combined to lead a race-high 249 of a possible 348 laps, including all three points-scoring segments toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
It wouldn’t be an easy victory, though, as the No. 31 team had its hands full with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Renger van der Zande, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Jordan Taylor over final two hours of the race.
Taylor nearly got past immediately after a pit stop with an hour and 20 minutes remaining when Nasr took over the No. 31 from Derani, but on that occasion, Nasr eventually managed to pull away. Taylor wasn’t done yet, though. He closed all the way up on Nasr with 21 minutes left in the race, getting to within 0.2 seconds, but still not quite close enough to make his move.
The fifth and final full-course caution came out with 15 minutes to go, giving Taylor one last shot on the ensuing restart with under 10 minutes remaining, but Nasr built just enough of a lead to seal a 1.030-second victory over the No. 10. It was the closest overall finish in the 67-race history of the Twelve Hours, eclipsing the 2016 margin of victory of 2.82 seconds.
“Jordan was already warmed up, he was in the car, and I got in the car knowing that he was going to be close,” Nasr said. “From the time I jumped in the car, all the procedures getting the belts on the team stopped changing tires and go – and he was right ther
“I couldn’t do a little mistake today. It was all about hitting our marks and I did that from Lap 1 to the checkered flag. There were some pretty tricky moments out there, like I caught traffic a few times and I had a four-second lead, and that last yellow flag as well that came with four laps to go, man, that was really tricky. I could see they picked up their pace, but we got the job done first.”