It’s a Patron ESM double shot en route to Sebring win

Photo courtesy of IMSA
1 Comment

SEBRING, Fla. – Tequila Patron ESM has taken a dramatic second successive win in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.

Courtesy of back to back incredible passes by Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani in the No. 2 Ligier JS P2 Honda on the pair of Action Express Racing Corvette DPs, both at Turn 7 on successive laps, the team has followed its win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a win at Sebring.

The Nos. 31 and 5 Corvettes were second and third.

Other class winners are CORE autosport (No. 54 Oreca FLM09, PC), Corvette Racing (No. 4 Corvette C7.R, GTLM) and Scuderia Corsa (No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD).

For Corvette, it’s their second straight win for the team and the No. 4 car after also winning in a thrilling photo finish over the sister No. 3 car at Daytona; meanwhile Scuderia Corsa has won the worldwide race debut of the new Ferrari 488 GT3.

The driver winners by class, since I didn’t include them in the initial copy:

  • P: 2-Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown, Pipo Derani
  • PC: 54-Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins
  • GTLM: 4-Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
  • GTD: 63-Alessandro Balzan, Christina Nielsen, Jeff Segal

Additional in-race posts:

Unofficial results

P

Derani’s charge came following a strategic gamble from the Patron ESM team to change left side tires on the final stop, to aid the car on the primarily right-hand corner circuit.

An earlier caution had brought that car back into contention after being down more than a minute, and once Johannes van Overbeek handed the car off to Derani, it was left in the Brazilian’s hands from there.

Derani restarted in fourth but quickly dispatched of Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca 05 Nissan for third on Lap 232 after the final restart.

On Lap 234, Derani made his first lunge to the inside of Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, to the inside at Turn 7.

A lap later, he repeated the feat on Dane Cameron in the No. 31 car at the same corner.

Although Derani had the fresher tires, it shouldn’t mean that the overtakes should be overlooked. He still had to make the moves in the dark.

The Action Express lineups – Cameron, Eric Curran and Scott Pruett in the No. 31 car and Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 car – drove nearly flawless races save for one spin by Curran at Turn 10 in the ninth hour when running second.

DragonSpeed finished fourth (Lapierre, Nicolas Minassian and Henrik Hedman) with the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP in fifth (Marc Goossens, Ryan Dalziel and Ryan Hunter-Reay).

Goossens told NBC Sports post-race that Derani had barged past him following a Lap 207 restart, then spun in traffic at Turn 7. The No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R car, which was leading GTD at the time, had led the field back to the restart as the first class leader behind a safety car.

Behind them, both Mazda Prototypes finished with sixth and eighth, marking the team’s first double finish since Long Beach last year and easily their best set of endurance race results. The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda ended seventh after a last lap pit stop.

Heartbreak struck the DeltaWing with just under 20 minutes remaining, poised for a lead lap finish in at least seventh, when Andy Meyrick retired with steering issues. The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP and No. 50 Highway to Help Riley BMW retired; the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Riley BMW also showed strongly before retiring.

PC

The pro-am class debuted a series of new electronic updates but it was nothing short of a fraught race for the second tier prototype class at Sebring.

To their credit though, Colin Braun and Tom Kimber-Smith upheld the class honors in the No. 54 CORE autosport and No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09s, respectively, in a great dice for the lead. Braun, who co-drove with Bennett and Mark Wilkins, ultimately prevailed.

Kimber-Smith shared the PR1/Mathiasen car with Jose Gutierrez and Robert Alon.

In a battle of attrition and incidents, Starworks Motorsport made it to the podium in third place with the No. 8 Oreca FLM09 driven by Renger van der Zande, Alex Popow and David Heinemeier Hansson. The other four cars in class – as did each of the podium finishers – had at least one incident during the race.

GTLM

Corvette Racing bagged its second straight win, albeit not in nearly as dramatic fashion as it did in Daytona.

But courtesy of a particularly storming drive from Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R he shared with Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler, the team pulled off another win to start the year. Milner had to hold off the rest of the GTLM field in the waning stages following the last caution flag of the race.

BMW Team RLL got on the podium with its No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM that started on pole and dominated the majority of the race in class (Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner and Bruno Spengler), while Porsche also got on the podium with the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Fred Makowiecki, Earl Bamber and Michael Christensen.

Risi’s No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE and the first Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, the No. 67 car, made it five different manufacturers in the top five.

A heavy coming together between Kevin Estre in the No. 911 Porsche and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette took those two cars out of contention, with only Magnussen’s car able to continue.

GTD

Some sixty years after Italian Eugenio Castellotti co-drove with Juan Manuel Fangio in a Ferrari 860 Monza to the overall win at Sebring, the new Ferrari 488 GT3 won on its worldwide (and de facto North American) debut in the hands of Scuderia Corsa.

Alessandro Balzan made a final pass of Jens Klingmann in the final 10 minutes, getting a run out of Turn 7 before making a pass to the outside of Klingmann entering Turn 10.

Balzan, the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT champion with Giacomo Mattioli’s Scuderia Corsa team, shared the car with Jeff Segal and Christina Nielsen. Both of those wins were monumental; Segal’s adds a Sebring triumph to his win at Daytona in 2014 and comes after he captured the debut pole for the team on Friday, while Nielsen has her first win in the series after coming close on a number of different occasions with TRG-AMR last year. She’s also the first female driver to win at Sebring since Liz Halliday in LMP2 in 2006.

Klingmann, who co-drove the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Ashley Freiberg and Bret Curtis, led late but was unable to hold off Balzan’s advances. Magnus Racing, the Daytona winners, completed the podium with Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried in the team’s No. 44 Audi R8 LMS.

The No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which sought its second straight Sebring win and an 11th for Alex Job, and Job’s No. 22 WeatherTech-backed Porsche completed the top five in class. The WeatherTech car fell out of contention late when it lost a wheel; Leh Keen did well to limp the car back on three wheels.

Paul Miller Racing ended best of the six Lamborghini Huracán GT3s in sixth. Change Racing fell out of contention when it incurred a stop-and-hold plus four minutes and six second penalty for an improper pass around. It was a shame for Corey Lewis, who got dinged for it but otherwise turned in a flawless weekend, as well as co-drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Al Carter. Pumpelly remains eternally snakebit at Sebring.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

0 Comments

Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s