Long gone are the days where fans of the 12 Hours of Sebring need only choose between the No. 1 Audi or the No. 2 Audi when trying to choose the race winner. A wide-open field will take the green flag for the 64th version of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Sunday and it’s literally anybody’s race.
It will be the last year for the Daytona Prototypes at Sebring and the DP contingent is definitely strong.
The No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Corvette DP are the defending race champions. The driving line-up of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Fillipe Albuquerque is top-notch and Action Express was strong during last month’s Sebring February Test, claiming the fast lap in three of the four testing sessions.
“It’s always better to go into the race as defending champion, but we still need to get the job done whether we are defending champions or not,” Fittipaldi said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a challenging and competitive race and we just need to get our act together and do the best possible.”
The No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Corvette DP is another logical contender. The team added driving ace Scott Pruett to its already tough line-up of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran and there’s no doubt that Action Express knows how to prepare a car for the rigors of 12 hours over Sebring’s notoriously rough track.
The No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP has a talented trio of drivers in Ryan Dalziel, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marc Goossens and the team is coming off a podium finish in the Rolex 24, giving it optimism heading into the 12 Hours.
“It was really our first time all together, so that was kind of our shakedown testing,” Hunter-Reay said. “The team had a great test at Sebring. It was a great step forward.”
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP is a dangerous foe and the driving line-up of Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and Rubens Barrichello has plenty of wins and plenty of big race experience. The car is coming off a solid second-place finish at Daytona.
Among the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) cars, Tequila Patron ESM is riding a wave of momentum, as the No. 2 HPD-powered Ligier took the win at Daytona behind the driving line-up of Scott Sharp, Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown.
The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Tire Kingdom Ligier JS P2 is always tough and Sebring could very well be the site of a breakthrough win for drivers John Pew, Ozz Negri and Olivier Pla.
Those looking for a bit of an upset may want to look at the No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca 05 Nissan. The team showed plenty of promise in its debut during the Sebring February Test and has a solid driving line-up of Nicolas Lapierre, Henrik Hedman and Nicolas Minassian.
The two-car entry from Mazda Motorsports can’t be overlooked, as the team showed plenty of speed at Daytona in its new gas-powered Prototypes. The No. 55 car will have Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot behind the wheel, while the No. 70 will see usual drivers Tom Long and Joel Miller joined by Ben Devlin and Keiko Ihara.
The No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing DWC13 also showed promise at Daytona before its day came to an early end and drivers Andy Meyrick, Sean Rayhall and Katherine Legge are a talented group.
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is a fan favorite and this year sees the long-awaited return of Ford with a two-car Ford GT entry, but Corvette Racing enters Sebring on a huge wave of momentum after running 1-2 in a thrilling finish at Daytona.
The No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler took the win at Daytona edging team-mates Antonio Garcia, Mike Rockenfeller and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 car.
Porsche North America will have its usual No. 911 and No. 912 cars entered and the team will be tough, as usual. The No. 911 will be driven by Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Kevin Estre, while Earl Bamber, Michael Christensen and Frederic Mikowiecki will be behind the wheel of the No. 912.
You can never count out BMW at Sebring, and BMW Team RLL will have its new BMW M6 GTLM cars on hand. Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner and Bruno Spengler will handle the driving duties for the No. 25 car, while John Edwards, Kuno Wittmer and Lucas Luhr will handle the No. 100 car.
There will be a pair of Ferrari 488 GTE entries, with the No. 62 Risi Competizione driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Davide Rigon, while the No. 68 Scuderia Corsa entry will see Daniel Serra, Andrea Bertolini and Alessandro Pier Guidi handle the driving duties.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has a pair of solid driver line-ups, with the No. 66 Ford GT being piloted by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais, while Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook will be behind the wheel of the No. 67 car.
With 20 cars on the entry list, the GTD field is the largest of the four classes.
Alex Job would like nothing more than to tie his Sebring Hall of Fame induction with a win for one his Alex Job Racing entries. The No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 R entry will see Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Leh Keen behind the wheel, with Mario Farnbacher, Alex Riberas and Ian James taking care of business in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche.
Stevenson Motorsports will have its pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars on hand, with Robin Liddell, Andrew Davis and Connor De Phillippi taking care of the driving duties for the No. 6 entry. Lawson Aschenbach, Matt Bell and Dion von Moltke will pilot the No. 9 car.
Flying Lizard Motorsports and Krohn Racing will join forces once again in the Flying Lizard R8, as Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Pierre Kaffer will be behind the wheel.
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán was strong at Daytona and will have Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Bryce Miller as drivers.
Change Racing will have a pair of solid entries in the team’s two Huracáns, with drivers Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Richard Antinucci in the No. 11 car and Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis the No. 12 car.
Konrad Motorsport has a top-notch two-car Huracán entry and you can’t count out the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, especially when you have a driving line-up that consists of Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried.
The No. 33 Riley Motorsports ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R is looking for a win after the team came within a few minutes of winning last year’s race.
There are a pair of Ferraris entered, with the No. 51 Spirit of Race entry in a 458, while the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3 is another likely contender.
The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R is always a tough customer and the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche has looked impressive since the team returned to IMSA.
The two familiar blue and yellow BMWs of Turner Motorsport will be on hand and the team now has the M6 GT3, while Aston Martin Racing is back in the familiar No. 98 car with and impressive driving lineup that features Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Richie Stanaway.