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

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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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


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.


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.


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.


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.

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”

Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.

Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500