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Twelve Hours of Sebring: Louis Deletraz wins first for Acura at track; Pipo Derani survives wild crash

Twelve Hours of Sebring: Louis Deletraz wins first for Acura at track; Pipo Derani survives wild crash

Louis Deletraz passed Sebastien Bourdais with just under 6 minutes remaining to deliver Acura its first victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Deletraz won by just under a second in the No. 40 ARX-06 for Wayne Taylor Racing Andretti's first victory since expanding to a two-car Grand Touring Prototype team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season

It's the first victory in the No. 40 for WTR Andretti, whose flagship No. 10 Acura has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona four times.

Deletraz co-drives the winning entry with Jordan Taylor (who has returned to his family's prototype team this season) and IndyCar winner Colton Herta.

Bourdais finished second in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R, capping an emotional week for the Cadillac Racing team run by Chip Ganassi Racing. The team and manufacturer revealed a few days ago that
they will split after 2024.

In the LMP2 category, Era Motorsport remained unbeaten this season as Connor Zilisch, Ryan Dalziel and Dwight Merriman took the checkered flag in the No. 18 ORECA LMP2 07 to back up a victory in the Rolex 24 season opener.

In GTD Pro, Jack Hawksworth teamed with Ben Barnicoat and IndyCar winner Kyle Kirkwood to take the victory in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for Vasser Sullivan Racing (which rebounded from early misfortune at Daytona).

In GTD, Philip Ellis, Russell Ward and Indy Dontje won in the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Winward Racing.

More from earlier in the race below:

Hour 9

Pipo Derani walked away after his No. 31 Cadillac flipped over while leading the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (watch the video above).

The impact occurred with four and a half hours remaining when the four-time Sebring winner clipped the No. 21 the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 being driven by Miguel Molina. Derani lost control and made a heavy front impact with the tire barrier in Turn 10. The car rolled upside down on top of the tire barrier, causing the seventh caution flag.

It took a few minutes to extricate Derani from his car, but the defending Grand Touring Prototype series champion walked away from the wreck while giving a thumbs up to the crowd.

Derani, who had started from the pole position for the second consecutive year, had been leading by more than 12 seconds when the incident occurred. The No. 31 Whelen Action Express Cadillac was trying to win Sebring for the second year in a row. The No. 31 became the second of 11 GTP cars to fall out of contention for the overall victory.

“I'm all right; thank God that Dallara and Cadillac built a strong car," Derani told NBC Sports' Kevin Lee. “Man, one of those days when all of a sudden, things go upside down literally, First time for me flipping a race car. Not the nicest feeling to be upside down until they can turn the car around, but good that I'm racing in 2024 and not the '60s. I was all right, it's just a little annoying when you try to open the door and can't, and you start thinking whether there's fire.

"Luckily, everything was all right, the safety crew was there quite quickly. I was giving them signs that I was OK, so once you can see them from outside, you realize everything will be OK. In general, I didn’t feel any pain, nothing. I think the tire barriers reduced the impact by quite a lot. Thanks for the safety crew as well, for the car and everyone who showed up here to see if I was OK.

"Honestly, I don’t know (what happened). I was 12 seconds ahead and everything was running smooth. We overtake thousands of thousands of cars through a race like this. It’s one of those moments. Maybe he didn’t see, let go a little bit and there I was. Maybe I was expecting him to just hold his line to the right, knowing that I was going to go on the left. It’s just one of those situations where it happens without you having any chance of thinking or reaction whether you should have done something different or not. It’s part of multi-class racing. Our championship took a little hit with this one, but we have a strong car. We have more races to go. I wish I could have tried for my fifth win (at Sebring). I’ll have to try again next year.”

The No. 31 was retired from the race after the crash.

"First and foremost, we are glad that Pipo was able to walk away from the incident under his own power and has been evaluated and released from the infield care center," Jim Campbell, GM U.S. Vice President Performance and Motorsports, said in a release from Cadillac Racing. "That is what is most important. The construction of the Cadillac V-Series.R, its safety systems and Sebring's trackside safety elements all did their job to keep Pipo safe. With the uncertain condition of the engine and hybrid system, we made the decision with the team to retire the No. 31 Cadillac.”

There was another wicked crash just after the nine-hour mark as Katherine Legge slammed the Turn 17 outside wall after making contact with the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car. Legge was able to walk away after the wreck but was taken to the medical center for evaluation. IMSA stewards reviewed the incident and determined no further action was necessary.

With three hours remaining in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Brendon Hartley was leading in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06 by 2.5 seconds over Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R after 250 laps.

Nick Yelloly was 3.791 seconds behind in third with the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8, followed by Fred Mankowiecki in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 and Colton Herta in the No. 40 ARX-06.

Augusto Farfus was sixth in the No. 24 BMW M Hybrid V8, followed by the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 of Matt Campbell and the No. 5 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni. Romain Grosjean was in ninth with the No. 63 Lamborghini.

Other category leaders after nine hours:

LMP2: Connor Zilisch, No. 18 ORECA LMP2 07

GTD Pro: Alexander Sims, No. 3 Corvette Z06 GT3.R

GTD: Anders Fjordbach, No. 86 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

More from earlier in the race below:

Hour 6

Pole-sitter Pipo Derani was leading the 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the halfway mark as Cadillacs continued to dominate the endurance race.

Derani, who started from the pole for the second consecutive year at Sebring, was in front in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Action Express V-Series.R on Lap 168. Derani is seeking his fifth victory at the 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course and his second consecutive at Sebring.

Ricky Taylor was second in the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 for Wayne Taylor Racing Andretti, followed by Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 963 of Penske Porsche Motorsport.

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac and Louis Deletraz in the No. 40 WTR Andretti Acura rounded out the top five in the Grand Touring Prototype category. The rest of the top 10: Phil Hanson in the No. 85 Porsche 963, Julien Andlauer in the No. 5 Porsche 963, Matteo Carioli in the No. 63 Lamborghini SC 63, Philipp Eng in the No. 24 BMW M Hybrid V8 and Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8.

Mathieu Jaminet was 11th in the No. 6 963 for Porsche Penske Motorsport as GTP entries occupied the top 11 entries. None of the cars in the premier hybrid prototype category are more than a lap off the lead.

The Cadillacs have shown the most consistent speed, but Acura also has emerged as a contender. On the race's fifth restart, Filipe Albuquerque took the overall lead in the No. 10 ARX-06 from Nick Yelloly in the No. 25 BMW on Lap 119.

Other category leaders after six hours:

LMP2: Jakub Smiechowski, No. 52 ORECA LMP2 07

GTD Pro: Kyle Kirkwood, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3

GTD: Manny Franco, No. 34 Ferrari 296 GT3

Hour 3

Continuing its strong run across global motorsports, Porsche Penske Motorsport was leading the Grand Touring Prototype category just past the three-hour mark in the 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Dane Cameron jumped into the lead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship premier class with a swift pit stop for his No. 7 963 as the field pitted under a yellow flag at Sebring International Raceway for the No. 88 LMP2 car.

Cadillacs had dominated the first quarter of the prestigious endurance race on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course. Pipo Derani started on the pole position in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing and led through the first round of pit stops. Sebastien Bourdais captured the lead from Derani on Lap 29 in his No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R.

But it's also been another solid showing to start the 2024 season for Porsche Penske Motorsport, which won the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the No. 7 963 and also won the World Endurance Championship opener at Qatar two weeks ago. Team owner Roger Penske also won the IndyCar season opener with Josef Newgarden at St. Petersburg, Florida, and Team Penske driver and defending Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney is leading the points in NASCAR's premier series.

Heading into the restart at Sebring with just under nine hours remaining, Jack Aitken was second in the No. 31 and six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was third in the No. 01. The No. 25 BMW and No. 85 Porsche rounded out the top five.

Other category leaders after three hours:

LMP2: Bijoy Garg, No. 22 ORECA LMP2 07

GTD Pro: Christopher Mies, No. 64 Ford Mustang GT3

GTD: Indy Dontje, No. 57 Mercedes AMG GT3

After starting from the pole position in GTD Pro, the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 stayed on the lead lap despite a drive-through penalty for glancing off a crew member in the pits.

There were multiple lead changes in the LMP2 category in the first hour as Ben Keating, Steven Thomas and Lance Willsey each took a turn at the front.

The first yellow flag flew at the 37-minute mark, opening the pits for stops by the GTP cars (led by pole-sitter Pipo Derani, who led the first 45 minutes in the No. 31 Cadillac).

It was a tough start for the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports McLaren, which includes NBC Sports analyst James Hinchcliffe. Oliver Jarvis started the race in the 720S GT3 EVO, which sustained left-side damage in the opening minute.

Jarvis took the car behind the wall for repairs that left the Pfaff entry 11 laps down.

nbc_imsa_deraniinterview_240315.jpg

Twelve Hours of Sebring starting lineup: Pipo Derani back on pole as Cadillac sweeps front row

The No. 31 qualified first at Sebring for the second consecutive year.

  • Nate Ryan,

  • Nate Ryan,

How to watch the Twelve Hours of Sebring

The 72nd Twelve Hours of Sebring will be streamed across the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and Peacock, which will have coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at 9:30 a.m. on March 16. USA Network also will have coverage of the race from 4-10 p.m.

The announcing team will include Leigh Diffey, Dave Burns, Calvin Fish, Brian Till, Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe (who also is driving the No. 9 Pfaff McLaren in the event). Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum will serve as pit reporters.

RADIO: Select sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins March 16 at 9:30 a.m. (Sirius channel 216, XM 207, Web/App 992)

NBCSports.com IMSA coverage

Porsche wins Rolex 24 at Daytona, ending 55-year drought for Roger Penske
A viewer’s guide to the Rolex 24: Five things to watch this weekend
Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Josef Newgarden among notable crossovers this year
Inside the sophisticated cockpit of a GTP hybrid prototype
Bubba Wallace wowed by sports car culture
Pipo Derani puts No. 31 Cadillac on pole position with record lap at Daytona
Defending Rolex 24 winner Mike Shank on IMSA comeback: “I work on it every day”
As his team grows bigger than ever, Wayne Taylor keeps an eye on the little things

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