The BMWs had been running second and third early in the ninth hour of the race, but a long stop for #56 to replace a broken strut took it out of contention. And not long after Car #56 developed that problem, #55 came in to address a power-steering issue that set it back two laps.
The winning Corvette took over from the dominant Risi Ferrari 458 driven by Gianmaria Bruni, Olivier Beretta, and Matteo Malucelli with just thirteen minutes remaining in the race as Malucelli had a brief off-course excursion. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, and Nick Tandy finished third in class in the Falken Tire Porsche 911. The Viper driven by Ryan Dalziel, Dominic Farnbacher, and Marc Goosens was a strong contender for the first nine hours before it made a long stop for an electrical problem. It finished fifth in GT.
The two factory Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrids finished first and second overall, having dominated the entire race. Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer, and Oliver Jarvis were first, while Lucas di Grassi, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen were second. It was the last year at Sebring for the P1 prototypes, as the class will not be part of the new United SportsCar Racing series. Audi won eleven times since 1999, entering all races but one. A BMW V12 LMR prototype won the 1999 race.
Summing up BMW’s experienceat Sebring, Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “We didn’t necessarily expect to be able to set our sights on top positions with the new BMW Z4 GTE in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series from the word go. The lap times and the consistency of our drivers was promising, both cars were able to fight among the front-runners in the first two thirds of the race. Unfortunately they lost ground due to technical gremlins. However, it hardly comes as a surprise that such problems can occur on a car that hasn’t completed too many kilometers of testing. In any case, BMW Team RLL and the BMW Motorsport crew proved their fighting spirit until the very end and delivered a good performance. The BMW Z4 GTE proved its potential, and that’s what we had all hoped for. In addition we saw just how strong our driver line-up is. All six of them were running really well. Now we will draw the right conclusions from this race and are looking forward to our second ALMS outing in Long Beach. It’s all about getting closer to the limit of the BMW Z4 GTE on a race by race basis, and today we have taken the first step.”
The Long Beach ALMS race will be run on April 20.—Brian S. MorganBack to News