Continental Tire debuted a new tire in the Prototype and GTD classes at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring over the weekend and delivered in a big way. In both Prototype and GTD, new Sebring International Raceway track records were set on the new Continental tires, with the pole times a full second quicker than the previous GTD track record, and nearly a second faster than the previous Prototype track record.
The race did not disappoint with several close battles throughout the entire 12-hour endurance event. ESM took the Prototype victory, while Paul Miller Racing claimed the GTD class victory.
WHERE THEY FINISHED
1st - No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi (J. van Overbeek / P. Derani / N. Lapierre)
2nd - No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi (J. Taylor / R. van der Zande / R. Hunter-Reay)
3rd - No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi (F. Nasr / E. Curran / M. Conway)
1st - No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan (B. Sellers / M. Snow / C. Lewis)
2nd - No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (C. MacNeil / A. Balzan / G. Jeannette)
3rd - No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 (B. Keating / J. Bleekemolen / L. Stolz)
- The Prototype track record was broken in qualifying with the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Cadillac DPi setting a fast lap time of 1:47.432-seconds. The previous track record was 1:48.178-seconds.
- The GTD track record was shattered in qualifying with the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 clocking a fast lap of 1:58.710 seconds, a full second faster than the previous record of 1:59.738-seconds.
- Tequila Patron ESM’s victory was the first win for Nissan in the 12 Hours of Sebring since 1994.
- Paul Miller Racing’s victory was the second consecutive victory for Lamborghini following GRT Grasser Racing’s Rolex 24 win in January.
Take a look at some of our favorite photos from this weekend’s race – Sebring
Pipo Derani, Driver of the No. 22 Patron ESM Nissan DPi, Race Winner: “Today was perfect. Continental Tire did an amazing job to give us a very easy car to drive. The tires were very consistent from the beginning to the end. We had no issues. Today was our day and thank you to Continental Tire. They helped us to get this win today.”
Jordan Taylor, Driver of the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi, 2nd Place: “It was good. Continental Tire brought a new tire for this event. We tested with it a couple of weeks ago and it was very good. Track conditions today were really tough so we were only able to single stint them. Throughout the whole stint they were solid and we could push all the way through. The track cooled down at night and the lap times came back down and we set new track records this weekend with the tires and that’s pretty cool. We’ll go forward to Long Beach and keep learning and working with the tire.”
Renger van der Zande, Driver of the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi, 2nd Place: “It’s a new tire for the rest of the season and we’re still learning them to be honest. I think when it is really hot, every tire starts to slide a little bit. It’s so nice when you go into the dark or into the cold that the tire just starts to grip up and you have much less degradation of course so it held really nicely. We all know this race is decided at the end and that’s what you set up the car and set up the tire pressures for. Altogether we did really well with the set up I have to say.“
Eric Curran, Driver of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, 3rd Place: “The tires were good today. We mostly just did single stint runs on the Continentals and they held up well. It was a hot day. The track was a little bit greasy so we played with tire pressures a little bit but at the end of the day we were able to push pretty hard. They worked well. The Whelen Cadillac was good and the Continental tires held up and we had a pretty good pace all race long.”
Bryan Sellers, Driver of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan, Race Winner: “For us the Continental tires held up great, they were strong all day. The main test of a tire is how you can handle Sebring in the heat of the day and our car was fantastic through the middle of the day. We really couldn’t have been happier with it. Our ability to stretch the tire for a full stint and maintain pace is what got us where we were. We were able to save fuel through the middle of the race and were able to jump people because of that. That’s a testament to what Continental has done and what they have built over the last few years. I’m really happy with how things went.”
Alessandro Balzan, Driver of the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, 2nd Place: “I am speechless. These Continental tires are so fun to drive now. Great performance, honestly we were a little bit worried before the race but the team did an amazing job with the temperatures and pressures. Once again we had no problems with Continental and I’m a little bit sad for next year honestly because I’ve had all the best results of my career with Continental. It’s a great effort from them. I’m also driving every day on the Continental road tire, I really love them!”
Lawson Aschenbach, Driver of the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, 7th Place: “Continental Tire definitely stepped their game up on the tires, there is no doubt about it. The tire is more consistent and a little more raceable. It gives you that confidence to attack. It’s going to be a great tire for the rest of the season because you saw some great laps there at the end and I think we’ll have that for the rest of the year.”
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class travels to the Streets of Long Beach, California April 13-14.