By IMSA Wire Service
It’s been a long time coming, but Paul Miller Racing finally took home another checkered flag in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Saturday in the 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
In the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Bryan Sellers took the reins from co-driver Madison Snow with under an hour remaining in the 12-hour endurance race and ran some of the quickest times of the night in the GT Daytona (GTD) class to catch Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the lead.
Sellers never looked back, claiming the second straight GTD class victory for Lamborghini, the first win for Paul Miller Racing since he and Snow won at VIR in 2016, and the second straight podium for the team after finishing third at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Corey Lewis, a former WeatherTech Championship GTD winner and current competitor in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, was the team’s third driver for the enduro.
“In the end, the car was great,” said an emotional Sellers. “It’s just that, for the first time I think I’m kind of at a loss for words. This is a huge race, and this is the 20th anniversary of the first time I came here with my dad and stood up in Turn 3 and watched the cars go around. I remember him looking at me and saying, ‘If one day you can do this race, that’d be pretty amazing.’ Here we are 20 years later.”
“It’s difficult to know whether you want to be in the car at the end or if you want to be out on the timing stand watching someone else be in at the end,” Snow added. “No matter what, it was nerve-wracking. (This is my) first time on the 12-hour podium, so I’m glad to be on the top step.
“This is huge. After finishing Daytona in third place and now coming here getting in first place, we honestly couldn’t be off to a better start for this championship.“
Soaring into second place in the closing laps was 2017 GTD champion Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing / Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 with co-drivers Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette. The No. 63 incurred minor nose damage in the final half hour from a wayward prototype, but Balzan continued to charge ahead to land Scuderia Corsa on the podium for the fourth consecutive Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating, 2017 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GTD victors, claimed the final step on the podium with endurance driver Luca Stolz in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Seven different manufacturers made up the top seven positions in GTD, the most diverse finishing order in WeatherTech Championship history. The No. 29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 finished fourth, followed by the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 in fifth and the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The No. 93 Michael Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3, which worked around-the-clock to repair the racecar after a heavy collision during practice earlier in the week, finished seventh.