SEBRING, Fla. (AP) — Earl Bamber closed out Chip Ganassi Racing’s victory in the Twelve Hours of Sebring to give the organization its 61st victory in IMSA sports car racing.
Bamber teamed up with Alex Lynn and Neel Jani – a late replacement for Kevin Magnussen when he returned to Formula 1 last week at his old Haas seat – to give Cadillac the win on Saturday at Sebring International Raceway.
“The Ganassi Racing Cadillac Chip was amazing this weekend,” said Bamber. “I’m exhausted.”
Bamber passed Richard Westbrook with 58 minutes left in the race and then held off Westbrook teammate Tristan Vautier of JDC Miller on the final stint to give Ganassi its first victory at Sebring since 2014, when the team did his debut in the 12-hour endurance race.
Cadillac swept the podium as defending DPi champion Action Express finished third with Pipo Derani at the wheel for the final stint.
Ganassi’s victory by the No. 02 team also marked a historic moment in motorsport as race engineer Danielle Shepherd led the team to victory. Shepherd, who won an IndyCar championship with Scott Dixon and then Alex Palou last year, became the first woman to break the wall in an IndyCar race when she was tasked with removing the tear from Palou’s aeroscreen every pit stop.
She was promoted to lead Ganassi’s #02 IMSA car this season.
“I mean, Danielle, it’s her first time on the car,” Bamber said.
Mikell Jensen took a third consecutive LMP2 class victory for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, who were class favorites and started from pole in an Oreca.
The Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier driven by Malthe Jakobsen won the LMP3 category.
Antonio Garcia rode Corvette Racing to the GTD Pro class victory, and Antonio Fuoco closed out the GTD victory for AF Corse Ferrari.
Ganassi’s overall victory was redemption for the organization after his pole-winning car suffered a mechanical problem minutes into the race. Sebastien Bourdais had set the Sebring DPi record in qualifying but never had a chance to compete for the win due to the early problem.
Ganassi’s No. 01 finished last in its class, 44 laps behind its victorious sister Cadillac.
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