#TBT – Combined 2012 Sebring WEC, ALMS race

March 7, 2019

#TBT – Combined 2012 Sebring WEC, ALMS race

March 7, 2019

The FIA World Endurance Championship returns to Sebring next week. It’s the first time the FIA WEC has been on site at the track since its first race of the relaunched series, in March 2012.

THEN
All-car shot for combined FIA WEC and ALMS race. Photo: Michelin North America

This race ran within the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the season-opening race for the American Le Mans Series.

Ultimately that meant the FIA WEC’s four classes and ALMS’ five classes combined to make nine total classes spread among the 64 cars.

Michelin tire workshop at 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Photo: Michelin North America

At the time, five different tire brands were represented. Michelin supplied 34 of the 64 cars combined. It broke down to 18 of the 30 cars in the FIA WEC, and also 16 of the 34 cars in ALMS.

Audi won the race overall with its all-conquering R18 TDI. The veteran trio of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello shared the No. 2 Audi.

Capello, McNish, Kristensen in 2012. Photo: Michelin North America

A memorable ending to the race came in the GT ranks. Joey Hand, in his BMW M3, survived a big scrap with Olivier Beretta’s Ferrari to emerge as the top GT finishing car.

However, Beretta’s Ferrari was the top-finishing FIA WEC GT car, even though it was third combined behind the BMW and first of the Corvettes on the road.

CORE autosport, which continues in IMSA now with its Nissan DPi, won the PC class. Alex Popow, E.J. Viso and Burt Frisselle won in the single-spec prototype class.

Starworks Motorsport also won that day, as the top finishing LMP2 car.
Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin shared the HPD car as Peter Baron’s team began its journey to win the FIA WEC title.

Other 2012 Sebring class winners scheduled to compete in 2019 include Joao Barbosa, Townsend Bell, Christian Ried and Gianluca Roda. Ried continues his streak as the only driver to race each FIA WEC event.

AND NOW

Seven years later, nearly 50 drivers who competed in that race are scheduled to compete in either (or both) 2019 race at Sebring.

Hand and Dirk Mueller, then teammates with BMW, still race together today in the No. 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.

Both Corvette Racing full-season pairings remain together, too. Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin were in their first race as full-season co-drivers that race, and had Richard Westbrook as their third driver. Meanwhile Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen were in the No. 3 car, with Jordan Taylor having made his debut with the factory team.

Seven years later, Westbrook in the other IMSA Ford GT. Taylor enters Sebring as the only one of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R who isn’t racing both events at Sebring. Teammates Renger van der Zande and Matthieu Vaxiviere will race both.

More than a dozen teams from that 2012 race remain active in 2019. These are the Corvette, BMW RLL, CORE, Paul Miller, Starworks, Performance Tech, PR1/Mathiasen, Aston Martin, Rebellion, AF Corse, Dempsey-Proton, Larbre and NGT teams.

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