Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

12 Hours of Sebring Class Preview: GTD

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

For the 2018 Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, the GTD class is the largest but loses only three cars from the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Let’s take a look at the GT3-based class.

The GRT Grasser Racing Team will not be racing both of their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 machines as well as Manthey Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R and Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GT3. However, CJ Wilson Racing will be competing with their Acura NSX GT3 machine.

Now let’s look at the class by manufacturer.

3GT Racing has two Lexus RCF GT3 cars entered with the Nos. 14 and 15 each having a change to their driver lineup. The No. 14 loses Bruno Junqueira while the No. 15 loses Scott Pruett to retirement and also Dominik Farnbacher but they gain Sean Rayhall.

Audi are back with the Montaplast by Land Motorsport as well as Magnus Racing with their Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars. The No. 29 Montaplast entry loses Kelvin van der Linde and Jeffrey Schmidt from Daytona but gains Alessio Celmente Picariello. The No. 44 Magnus Racing entry loses Markus Winkelhock.

Mercedes has three Mercedes-AMG GT3 machines on the grid at Sebring with Team Riley Motorsports, P1 Motorsports and SunEnergy1 Racing on the grid. The No. 33 Team Riley entry loses Adam Christodoulou, the P1 Motorsports entry loses Loris Spinelli and the No. 75 SunEnergy1 racer will go without Maro Engel.

Four Acura NSX GT3s will take to the track during the weekend. CJ Wilson Racing are the new kids on the track with Till Bechtolsheimer, Marc Miller and Kuno Wittmer driving the No. 36 entry. The No. 69 HART entry loses Rayhall to the Lexus effort and John Falb but gains Tom Dyer. Meanwhile, Michael Shank Racing has the Nos. 86 and 93 entries with AJ Allmendinger leaving the No. 86 and Côme Ledogar departing from the No. 93 machine which happened to have an incident in practice on Thursday.

Paul Miller Racing will have the sole Lamborghini Huracan GT3 entry and two drivers from Daytona stay in for Sebring while Andrea Caldarelli and Bryce Miller are replaced by Corey Lewis. Lamborghini are coming off of a win in the Rolex 24, their first 24 hour endurance racing victory.

Three Ferrari 488 GT3 machines make up the Prancing Horse’s contribution to the class in which they have one win back in 2016. Spirit of Race’s No. 51 entry remains unchanged from the Rolex 24 while Jeff Segal departs from the Scuderia Corsa No. 63 entry. The Scuderia Corsa No. 64 entry loses Sam Bird from the lineup.

Porsche have two entries in GTD and the No. 58 Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R has the same lineup from the Rolex 24 behind the wheel while the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports loses Norbert Siedler from the driver lineup.

Turner Motorsport runs the sole BMW in GTD, an older model M6. Don Yount is the only constant from the drivers that ran at Daytona. Jens Klingmann, Martin Tomczyk, Mark Kvamme and Cameron Lawrence are out while Dillon Machavern and Markus Palttala are in.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.