Halfway through the 1000 Miles of Sebring, No. 7 Toyota Gazoo GR010 Hybrid stands ahead of sister car.
Toyota Gazoo Racing was in charge of the 1000 Miles of Sebring halfway through the race, but United Autosports’ chances of winning the LMP2 class were crushed by an unanticipated electrical problem.
The No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, driven by Kamui Kobayashi, took the lead with a gap of 1.6 seconds over the No. 2 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, driven by Brendon Hartley. Just before the halfway point, the Japanese ace took the lead by pushing ahead of Hartley in a calculated move.
Since the start of the race, when the No. 50 Ferrari 499P driven by Antonio Fuoco made an unscheduled pit stop, the two Toyotas have led the field mostly unchallenged. As Hartley made his pit stop just as race control signaled a Full Course Yellow due to United Autosports’ Josh Pierson’s stoppage, the No. 8 car briefly seemed to be in danger of losing the lead earlier in the race.
The pits must be shut down in accordance with FIA World Endurance Championship regulations as soon as the race director informs the teams that an FCY will be in effect.
As a result, Hartley was only able to take on five seconds of fuel before having to make a full pit stop when the green flag reappeared. Despite this, Hartley was still able to maintain the lead over teammate Kobayashi at the start of the race before the two cars eventually traded positions.
The Ferrari, Porsche, and Cadillac fight for third place has turned into an interesting tussle while the two Toyotas still have a lead of more than a minute over the rest of the Hypercar class.
Earl Bamber, driving the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R, was in the final podium position halfway through the race. He overtook Kevin Estre, driving the No. 6 Porsche 963, and Miguel Molina, driving the No. 50 Ferrari 499P, when they came in for scheduled stops.
Estre managed to push his car past Molina’s Ferrari to go up to third at Turn 16 shortly before. Nicklas Nielsen paid it back by overtaking Andre Lotterer at Turn 3 after both cars had pitted, with the Ferrari running fourth and the Porsche fifth.
Cadillac had been in third place earlier in the race, but fell behind after Alex Lynn was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for an earlier FCY infraction. Shortly after winning a protracted struggle for third place with Laurens Vanthoor’s No. 6 Porsche by passing him into Turn 3, Lynn was handed the penalty.
David Beckmann’s No. 48 Hertz Team JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson is in first place in the LMP2 category after tragedy struck the top-performing United Autosports car.
The No. 23 Anglo-American team vehicle, driven by Josh Pierson, came to a stop on the racetrack after starting from pole position and maintaining the lead for the most of the race. An inbuilt TV camera on the vehicle reportedly broke loose, and Pierson lost all power.
As a result, Beckmann took the lead from Matthieu Vaxiviere’s No. 36 Alpine Elf Team Oreca 07 Gibson, with Sean Gelael representing Team WRT to round out the top three.
In GTE-Am, Nico Varrone, driving the No. 33 Corvette C8.R, took first place, followed by Julien Andlauer, driving the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
D’Station Racing’s Casper Stevenson placed third, and the top five was rounded out by Scott Huffaker of Kessel Racing and Simon Mann of AF Corse.
Rahel Frey’s running wide out of Turn 1 caused serious damage to the No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche, one of Corvette’s key competitors, which was currently holding the lead. The Iron Lynx team is now running several laps behind Varrone’s pole-winning Corvette, at the edge of top 10 in their class.