Sebring 12 Hours: Nasr holds off Taylor to win for AXR

Jamie Klein

The Whelen Engineering-backed #31 Cadillac DPi.V-R moved into the lead right at the end of the first hour in wet conditions, with the heavy rain ensuring the first 40 minutes were run under caution.

From there, despite several safety car periods bunching up the pack over the course of the race, Nasr, Derani and Curran were able to maintain their advantage at the head of the field throughout.

The penultimate caution period, which came with two hours to go, erased what had been a 47s advantage for Derani, who then had to survive one final restart in the final 15 minutes when the Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 parked at Turn 3 with suspension problems.

Jordan Taylor had picked off Brendon Hartley's AXR Cadillac at the previous restart to move the Rolex 24-winning Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac up to second, but when the green flag was shown with seven minutes to run, Taylor was powerless to challenge Nasr.

The Brazilian eventually crossed the line 1.030 seconds ahead of Taylor, who sealed second place in the Cadillac he shared with Renger van der Zande and newcomer Matthieu Vaxiviere.

Hartley and the full-timers in the #5 Cadillac, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, completed the podium a further 2.9s behind.

IndyCar ace Alexander Rossi brought home the best of the Acura Team Penske entries fourth. Both Acura ARX-05s struggled badly early on when the conditions were at their worst, but the #7 car shared by Rossi and full-timers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor was able to recover from losing a lap.

The sister #6 car lost more ground with an electrical problem and then two changes of the rear deck, meaning Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud ended up nine laps down.

Completing the top five was the CORE autosport Nissan DPi, ahead of the best of the Mazda Team Joest cars, the #55 RT24-P of Harry Tincknell, Olivier Pla and Jonathan Bomarito.

Mazda's victory hopes were all but extinguished when an off for Bomarito before half-distance cost the car three laps, although subsequent caution periods meant the #55 finished only a lap down.

The sister #77 car dropped more than 100 laps off the lead with a battery issue that caused Timo Bernhard to stop out on track with his car on fire early in the third hour.

GTLM: Porsche completes miracle comeback

Victory in GTLM went to the #911 Porsche 911 RSR shared by Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki, which dropped off the lead lap in the wet early stages.

By half-distance, the trio had got back on to the lead lap, and after the penultimate caution Tandy vaulted from fourth to second in class behind the #67 Ford GT.

Ryan Briscoe was tasked with holding off Tandy, but the Australian slipped behind at the start of the final hour following their respective pitstops.

He had closed Tandy's lead from 4sec to 1sec before the final caution, but then spun trying to navigate traffic after the final restart, making contact with Andy Lally's Magnus Racing Lamborghini.

That promoted the #66 Ford GT of Sebastien Bourdais, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand to second at the finish, ahead of the #3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller, which was off-sequence and led before its final pitstop.

BMW's top finisher was the #24 car of John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Philipp Eng, ahead of the second of the Porsches, the #912, and the #67 Ford shared by Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook.

Corvette's #4 entry ended up nine laps down due to halfshaft and alternator problems.

GTD: Grasser Lamborghini doubles up

A thrilling scrap for GT Daytona honors was finally won by the #11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Rolex 24-winning trio Mirko Bortolotti, Rik Breukers and Rolf Ineichen.

Remarkably it means Breukers has a perfect win rate in IMSA, having made just three starts - two Rolex 24s and a Sebring 12 Hours - and won all three. All have been achieved with the Grasser team and Bortolotti and Ineichen.

Bortolotti was split from fellow Lamborghini driver Lally by less than three seconds at the finish, with Lally surviving his late brush with Briscoe's Ford to hold on to the runner-up spot in the Magnus Racing entry he shared with John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly.

Third place went to the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Toni Vilander, Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Westphal, ahead of the Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS and the Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG-GT3.

Class honors in LMP2 went to the Performance Tech Oreca crewed by Kyle Masson, Cameron Cassels and Andrew Evans, 13 laps up on its sole opponent, the PR1/Mathiasen Oreca.

Race results:

Pos. Class No. Drivers Chassis Laps Time
1 DPi 31 Brazil Felipe Nasr Cadillac DPi 348  
2 DPi 10 United States Matthieu Vaxiviere Cadillac DPi 348 1.030
3 DPi 5 New Zealand Joao Barbosa Cadillac DPi 348 4.023
4 DPi 7 United States Ricky Taylor Acura DPi 348 11.331
5 DPi 54 France Colin Braun Nissan DPi 347 1 lap
6 DPi 55 United Kingdom Jonathan Bomarito Mazda DPi 346 2 laps
7 DPi 85 Colombia Tristan Vautier Cadillac DPi 346 2 laps
8 DPi 84 Switzerland Stephen Simpson Cadillac DPi 345 3 laps
9 DPi 6 Colombia Dane Cameron Acura DPi 339 9 laps
10 GTLM 911 United Kingdom Frédéric Makowiecki Porsche 911 RSR 330 18 laps
11 GTLM 66 France Dirk Muller Ford GT 330 18 laps
12 GTLM 3 Denmark Mike Rockenfeller Corvette C7.R 330 18 laps
13 GTLM 24 United States Philipp Eng BMW M8 GTE 330 18 laps
14 GTLM 912 New Zealand Mathieu Jaminet Porsche 911 RSR 330 18 laps
15 GTLM 67 Australia Richard Westbrook Ford GT 330 18 laps
16 GTLM 25 United States Colton Herta BMW M8 GTE 329 19 laps
17 LMP2 38 United States Andrew Evans ORECA LMP2 322 26 laps
18 GTLM 4 Switzerland Tommy Milner Corvette C7.R 321 27 laps
19 GTD 11 Switzerland Rik Breukers Lamborghini Huracan GT3 320 28 laps
20 GTD 44 United States John Potter Lamborghini Huracan GT3 320 28 laps
21 GTD 63 Finland Jeff Westphal Ferrari 488 GT3 320 28 laps
22 GTD 29 Canada Richard Feller Audi R8 LMS GT3 320 28 laps
23 GTD 33 Netherlands Felipe Fraga Mercedes-AMG GT3 320 28 laps
24 GTD 73 United States Nicholas Boulle Porsche 911 GT3 R 320 28 laps
25 GTD 86 United States Trent Hindman Acura NSX GT3 320 28 laps
26 GTD 57 United Kingdom Ana Beatriz Acura NSX GT3 320 28 laps
27 GTD 12 United States Aaron Telitz Lexus RC F GT3 318 30 laps
28 GTD 9 Canada Zacharie Robichon Porsche 911 GT3 R 318 30 laps
29 GTD 71 Germany JC Perez Mercedes-AMG GT3 315 33 laps
30 GTD 47 United States Don Yount Lamborghini Huracan GT3 311 37 laps
31 GTD 96 United States Dillon Machavern BMW M6 GT3 309 39 laps
32 LMP2 52 United States Gabriel Aubry ORECA LMP2 309 39 laps
33 DPi 50 Austria Agustin Canapino Cadillac DPi 305 43 laps
34 GTD 8 United Kingdom Ezequiel Perez Companc Audi R8 LMS GT3 292 56 laps
35 GTD 14 United Kingdom Richard Heistand Lexus RC F GT3 262 86 laps
36 GTD 48 United States Ryan Hardwick Lamborghini Huracan GT3 249 99 laps
37 DPi 77 United Kingdom Tristan Nunez Mazda DPi 233 115 laps
38 GTD 19 United States Alex Riberas Audi R8 LMS GT3 174 174 laps