Cadillac earns runner-up at Sebring

– In the usual ebb and flow of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac, six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon summarized: “You’re never out of it until you’re out of it.”

The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R, whose prospects for victory were dashed the past two years by not going the distance after starting on the front row, challenged for the victory to the checkered flag Saturday night.

Drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and Dixon, the Chip Ganassi Racing team and Cadillac Racing engineers combined to lead the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) entry to second place at Sebring International Raceway. It is the second runner-up finish of the young IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season for Cadillac Racing. The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R placed second in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

Cadillac, the reigning GTP Manufacturer champion, is tied for the lead through the two races.

“Congratulations to Cadillac Racing team and the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R on their podium in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac. Every member of the team can be very proud of their efforts on preparing the racecar for success, from both a technology and durability standpoint,” said John Roth, Global Vice President, Cadillac.

“For more than a century, racing has provided a testbed for Cadillac to transfer knowledge and technology between racecars and production vehicles, and our V-Series portfolio demonstrates how we seamlessly bring lessons from the track to the road. The second place today showcases the remarkable capabilities and determination of the Cadillac Racing team.”

Bourdais drove the final 2 hours, 12 minutes, negotiating the 3.741-mile, 17-turn course and traffic under the lights, holding off GTP challengers on three restarts and over the closing laps while meeting an energy number. Bourdais was overtaken by the No. 40 Acura on newer tires with 5 minutes left. The cars bumped several times, with the No. 40 going on to win by 0.891 seconds and end Cadillac’s three-year hold on the overall trophy.

For the second consecutive IMSA GTP race – and second year in a row at Sebring — Cadillac Racing locked out the front row in qualifications. Both the pole-sitting No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R and No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R started strong, leading all but 10 of the 148 laps through the initial four hours and the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R pacing the 11-car GTP field at the halfway point. The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R led a field-high 97 laps and the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R led 79.

The fortunes of the pole-winning and race-leading No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R were turned upside down with 4 hours, 35 minutes left when it was involved in an incident that forced its retirement.

Reigning GTP champion Pipo Derani was 12 seconds clear of his closest competitor when his car made slight contact in Turn 10 while overtaking a GTD car, sending the prototype nose-first into the tire barrier and rolling on its hood. Derani was checked and released from the infield care center.

“First and foremost, we are glad that Pipo was able to walk away from the incident under his own power, and that has been evaluated and released from the infield care center. That is what is most important,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. “The construction of the Cadillac V-Series.R, its safety systems and Sebring’s trackside safety elements all did their job to keep Pipo safe. With the uncertain condition of the engine and hybrid system, we made the decision with the team to retire the No. 31 Cadillac.”

Cadillac Racing will look to return to the podium April 20 at Long Beach, where it has won five times on the 1.9-mile street course since entering IMSA prototype competition in 2017.

No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “I gave it all I had. The 40 car was out of sync and they put new tires on at the last stop and we didn’t because we didn’t have time for that and they just came like a rocket at the end. I’m a little disappointed that it turned into a bumper car contest at the end. I’m glad we got out of it because we could have picked up four or five punctures along the way. Obviously disappointed for the whole group and Cadillac because we had a really strong day. It was not as straightforward as we wanted, but up front most of it. It always hurts to get done like this in the closing laps. But it’s racing.”

Renger: van der Zande: “The battle there at the end is good for the show. I thought with six minutes to go, we were in a good position to get that win. I am obviously disappointed but at the same time very proud of the team and Cadillac. We’ll continue to be in the hunt to win other races this year, but this one for now stings. Second place in my 100th IMSA start is not bad.”

Scott Dixon: “It’s always an action-packed race. I had a ton of run out there. It was definitely up and down. We had an electronic issue that we were trying to debug. We got that sorted after falling back and clawed our way back up to second and then took the lead. The car had good speed. You never know; you always think you’re in this race and it can change quickly. You’re never out of it until you’re out of it. Glad Pipo (Derani) is OK. That’s a testament to the safety of these cars.”

No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “The Dallara Cadillac is a strong car. It’s one of those days that things go upside down, literally. It’s just a shame because we had a really strong car and our race was going strong. There was nothing I could have done and the wall came pretty quickly. The moment I was headed to the wall I knew the race was over. First time for me flipping a racer. Not the nicest feeling to be upside down until they can turn the car around. Good that I’m racing in 2024 and not in the ‘60s. I felt I was OK, just a little annoying when you try to open the door and you can’t. Luckily, everything was OK and the safety crew was there quite quickly and I was giving them signs I was OK. In general, I think the tire barrier got the most of the impact. (Navigating GTD traffic) I was 12 seconds ahead, I think, and everything was running smooth. We overtake thousands and thousands of cars. It’s one of those moments maybe he didn’t see, let go a little bit and there I was. Maybe I was expecting him to hold his line to the right; I was going to go on the left. It’s just one of those situations where it happens where you don’t have any chance at thinking or reacting. It’s part of multi-class racing. Our championship took a little hit with this one, but we have a strong car. We have more races to go. I wish I could have tried for my fifth win (at Sebring). I’ll have to try again next year.”

Cadillac Racing PR