By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
The final 12 hours of endurance racing in Florida this year for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship takes place this weekend at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and this is the first of three class previews for the once around the clock classic.
In the Prototype class, the field shrank by four entries from Daytona to Sebring. The BAR1 Multimatic/Riley, one of the United Autosports Ligiers and both Jackie Chan ORECAs will not participate at Sebring but the rest of the prototype field is intact. Let’s look at them by manufacturer.
Extreme Speed Motorsports are the only Nissan DPi entrant and have an unchanged driver lineup in their Nos. 2 and 22 entries. The team will be looking to relive the glory of their 2016 victory.
Cadillac has four Cadillac DPi-V.R. machines in the field and will be trying to score another win for the brand after Wayne Taylor Racing’s success in 2017. Action Express Racing has two Cadillac DPi-V.R. machines in the field with the only driver lineup change is the removal of Stuart Middleton from the No. 31 Whelen Engineering car. Wayne Taylor Racing and Spirit of Daytona Racing have their same lineup from Daytona racing at Sebring in their Nos. 10 and 90 cars, respectively.
Acura Team Penske have their two Acura ARX-05 DPi machines back at Sebring with the same driver lineup from the Rolex 24. Penske won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008 when they were racing LMP2 Porsches.
Ligier has two LMP2 machines competing at Sebring with United Autosports competing with Phil Hanson, Alex Brundle and Paul Di Resta driving their No. 32 JS P217. AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports has their same lineup from Daytona except Nicholas Boulle is not racing at Sebring.
ORECA has four LMP2 competitors with JDC-Miller Motorsports running two cars and Performance Tech Motorsports and CORE Autosport running the other two cars. Nelson Panciatici is the third driver for JDC’s No. 85 ORECA replacing Austin Cindric and Devlin DeFrancesco while in the No. 99 GAINSCO Red Dragon for JDC Gustavo Menezes departs the team.
The CORE Autosport entry loses Loic Duval while Performance Tech Motorsports retains their four drivers from the Rolex 24.
Mazda will be looking for an improvement with their Mazda RT24-P DPi entries under the Mazda Team Joest banner. The driver lineups are unchanged from Sebring but hopefully their luck will change.