Starting lineup grid for Twelve Hours of Sebring: Sebastien Bourdais leads 70th field

Sebring starting lineup grid
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Sebastien Bourdais won the pole position Friday for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as Cadillacs took four of the top five spots in the starting lineup grid for the prestigious sports car race’s 70th edition.

Bourdais is driving the No. 01 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing this season after manhandling the damaged No. 5 to the overall victory last year for JDC MotorSports in the iconic 12-hour event at Sebring International Raceway.

It ranked among many memorable conclusions to the Twelve Hours of Sebring, which Bourdais is expecting to unfold unexpectedly again on the extremely bumpy circuit that once housed a World War II Air Force base.

STARTING GRID: Click here for the Twelve Hours of Sebring lineup l Lineup by car number

FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Friday’s speeds

INFORMATION FOR THE 70TH TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING: Schedules, start times, entry lists

“It’s kind of funny because you would think, ‘Oh, well, it’s the same kind of format and the race has been going on for a long time,’ but I can’t remember a single time where the race has played out the same way,” said Bourdais, who is teamed with Renger van der Zande and former IndyCar and Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (making his first IMSA start since winning Sebring in 2020).

“I can’t really tell you how this is supposed to pan out, but there’s no better place to start. I think the car has shown it was really quick and consistent since the beginning of the weekend. Looking forward to it at a track that I very much enjoy.

“It’s a race that’s always fun, but with 53 cars on the grid there’s going to be a lot of aggression management in traffic if you want to come through and stay out of trouble and make sure the car is in the best possible condition at the end. It’s always a very difficult equation to manage the aggression and how safely you need to try not get yourself in positions that would jeopardize the result.”

Pipo Derani qualified second in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac that he shares with Tristan Nunez and Mike Rockenfeller. Ricky Taylor (co-driving with Filipe Albuquerque and Will Stevens) was third in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10, the faster of the two Acuras.

Cadillacs have won three of the past five races at Sebring (Mazda won in ’20 and Nissan in ’18), and the five in Saturday’s field are expected to have the advantage on the bone-jarring asphalt.

“There’s no arguing that,” Bourdais said. “It’s a car that is less ride-height sensitive than the competitors, so that visually you can see we can run a bit softer. At a place like Sebring, that’s very beneficial. It’s the same on street courses.

“The drawback is that the car doesn’t really have a big peak in downforce and therefore is less suited to smoother tracks where you can run low and stiff. It’s a balance, but it’s obviously won a lot of championships since 2017 so it seems to be working out pretty good.”

Taylor can vouch for his rival’s comfort having driven a Cadillac to victory in 2017 at Sebring.

“The Cadillac felt more like a Cadillac,” Taylor said with a laugh, referencing the luxury street model. “It was soft, didn’t make as much downforce, wasn’t quite as edgy. But you go to Acura side, it makes a ton of downforce, and if you pack the downforce on, you can pick tracks and see where the Acura is going to be strong.

“Sebring is one of those places you want a bit of both. Long Beach, Cadillacs are extremely strong over the low-speed bumpy tracks. Go to Laguna, the smooth high-speed tracks, we’re really strong. Sebring falls somewhere in the middle with a bit of both. It’s bumpy, which the Cadillacs do very well, but it’s also high speed and you can really add quite a bit of downforce, which the Acura does very well.”

Oliver Jarvis, who is aiming to become the first driver to win four consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Endurance Cup events, will start sixth in Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 60 Acura with Tom Blomqvist and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Even though that’s last among the DPi cars, Jarvis is confident in the ARX-05’s ability to get to the front with its “very sophisticated traction control system” and efficient level of torque.

“The Acura is a very aero-dominated car,” he said. “It likes to be driven fast. The faster you drive it, the more aero downforce you get. One of the problems at Sebring is the bumps. There’s not much we can do about it. All we can do is try to tune the car.

“It’s a real compromise between aero grip and mechanical grip. That’s where we discuss a lot that the Caddy seems to ride the bumps really well. It’s got incredible traction. We can’t compete in them areas, but what we can do is maximize our strengths and limit the areas we aren’t as strong.

“Looking on pure pace over the last four years, the Caddys seem to have two or three 10ths in their pocket, but as you saw in (the Rolex 24 at) Daytona, they were probably the quickest car in Daytona, but it’s not the way the race finished, so, as always in IMSA, it’s not just about pure performance. There’s a lot more at play with strategy and staying out of trouble. You can always win, regardless of the exact performance of the car. As a team, you can make the most of it.

“You can almost choose when you want to be strong in the race and dial a car into that and it’s finding the best compromise, because it’s so competitive. You can’t afford to be at the back and expect to suddenly overtake and come through the field with an hour to go. So it’s making sure you’re competitive throughout the race. It’s the little strategy details and having experience in terms of learning in the test days about the track changing. It’s very sensitive to temperature and even more so to wind direction. It can change the balance of the car, which is incredible. We went from one day to the next, and the wind had such an influence.”

Here are the pole-sitters in other categories for the endurance race classic on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course:

LMP2: Ben Keating, No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, 1:49. 954

LMP3: Gar Robinson, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320, 1:57.048

GTD Pro: Daniel Serra, No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3, 1:59.414

GTD: Zacharie Robichon, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, 1:59.763


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III l Session IV

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage