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Forward of January’s 24 Hours of Le Mans Digital, the 500 Miles of Sebring was the ultimate likelihood for groups to log precious championship factors and observe throughout a race situation.
Consequently, a number of entrants had been working as soon as once more with their FIA-graded professional drivers, delivering additional seat time. It meant the likes of Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean, Raffaele Marciello and Beitske Visser lined up on the digital circuit.
In qualifying the day earlier, R8G Esports driver Marcell Csincsik set the quickest time, however wouldn’t begin the race on the head of the sector because of a 10-place grid penalty carrying over from the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps.
That honour went to Porsche Coanda’s Joshua Rogers as an alternative, and because the race began the #23 disappeared off within the distance in a peerless show of velocity and consistency.
Behind, nevertheless, Mexico Racing Crew’s Alberto Gironella misjudged the rolling begin and drove into the again of Pescarolo Esport Monaco, who in flip hit Rocket Simsport. The web end result was a drivethrough penalty for the Mexican staff and a pitlane go to for harm repairs for the British entry.
The latter was to endure an embattled race, later pushed off by ARC Bratislava’s Erik Vizi, sharing the automotive with former Method 1 and IndyCar driver Tomáš Enge.
Within the supporting GTE class, the race begin was much less fraught. The shock pole place holders had been SIM Maranello due to a speedy lap by Christian Malghera. They saved the lead, with fellow Ferrari squad SF Velas Esports up in second in the course of the early levels, however fell again as numerous methods performed out.
Reigning champion Kevin Siggy was eased large in his BMW on the opening lap, dropping down the order.
Because the race progressed, two key moments occurred on the 17th lap. Jernej Simončič, driving for the aggressive Floyd Vanwall-Burst staff, acquired a drivethrough for alleviating Csincsik onto the grass, damaging the staff’s podium hopes.
A second R8G entry was additionally hindered on the identical lap, this time its GTE Ferrari, as Risto Kappet, sadly, got here throughout a stranded Diogo Pinto who had spun the Crew Fordzilla LMP throughout the monitor.
Simply 5 laps later, the primary main pitstops came about, the main Porsche stopping on the finish of the 22nd lap, its #20 teammate a lap later. By now, it was complete domination, with solely the #1 Crew Redline nonetheless in contact with the Porsches when Verstappen took over with simply over 40 laps remaining.
Issues weren’t going fairly as effectively for the second Redline entry, nevertheless, because the #2 plus the #eight R8G LMP each got here round Cunningham Nook solely to discover a stranded Adolfo Pérez. A number of automobiles piled in, with no critical harm, however a second indiscretion for Mexico Racing Crew resulted in one other drivethrough.
The R8G entry could have survived that contretemps, however sadly present ADAC GT Masters driver Arthur Rougier then hit the wall at Gurney Bend, inflicting suspension harm. From being the quickest automotive in qualifying to a lowly 15th place end.
As darkness fell, the 2 M8 GTEs of Redline and BS+Competitors had been chasing down the main SIM Maranello 488, Enzo Bonito inside a second of Lorenzo Arisi with 20 laps remaining. The Autosport Esports Driver of the 12 months nominee made the transfer to move the sector six laps later.
Again to LMP, in third general Verstappen was being caught by Spa-round-winner James Baldwin. With simply six laps remaining, the Mercedes-AMG driver swept by in a clear transfer forward of the two-time world champion.
Porsche Coanda, nevertheless, had been by no means touched from the begin to the end. Mack Bakkum crossed the road after simply over 4 hours for the staff’s first-ever general victory.
“It was an superior job by everybody within the staff,” stated Rogers.
“The staff has dug deep and labored on any mistake that was [previously] made. It’s incredible to complete off the common season with a one-two end result forward of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Digital.”
BMW Crew Redline has fought again in GTE with Bonito, Siggy and Rudy van Buren taking back-to-back wins for the staff.
“For me, I had the straightforward job, [Kevin and Enzo] carried me,” stated Red Bull Racing Formula 1 development driver van Buren.
“I simply needed to be constant and tick the packing containers, hats off to them.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Digital will probably be held on 14th-15th January 2023.
Le Mans Digital Collection, 500 Miles of Sebring LMP outcomes
- Laurin Heinrich / Joshua Rogers / Mack Bakkum – #23 Porsche Coanda – 134 Laps
- Ayhancan Güven / Tommy Østgaard / Mitchell deJong – #20 Porsche Coanda +2.785
- James Baldwin / Bono Huis / Graham Carroll – #63 AMG Crew Petronas Esports +27.130
- Max Verstappen / Jeffrey Rietveld / Maximilian Benecke – #1 Crew Redline +28.947
- Sami-Matti Trogen / Jack Keithley / Petar Brljak – #5 Williams Esports +1:18.285
Le Mans Digital Collection, 500 Miles of Sebring GTE outcomes
- Rudy van Buren / Kevin Siggy / Enzo Bonito – #71 BMW Crew Redline – BMW M8 – 121 Laps
- Lorenzo Arisi / Christian Malghera / Andrea Terzi – #26 SIM Maranello – Ferrari 488 +three.201
- Alen Terzic / Ibraheem Khan / Ferris Stanley – #89 BMW Crew BS+Competitors – BMW M8 +four.611
- Dennis Lind / Yuri Kasdorp / Dennis Jordan – #99 Oracle Purple Bull Racing – Porsche 911 RSR +51.458
- Marcus Jensen / Turkka Häkkinen/ Rasmus Busk – #111 P1 Esport – Porsche 911 RSR +53.764