While the 61st annual 12 Hours of Sebring was unquestionably a worthwhile investment of time, it didn’t hold many surprises: The Audi entries took a commanding win by finishing a full five laps ahead of the rest of the LMP1 field; the DeltaWing… didn’t; and the GT class was a thrilling battle between American and European technology that came right down to the wire. (The Corvette came away with the win.)
What was also unsurprising was that Ryan Briscoe, a driver who many of IndyCar’s faithful wish was still on the open-wheel side of the fence, was triumphant in his return to sports cars in co-piloting the No. 551 Level 5 Motorsport HPD machine to the class win in LMP2. A ride with the team for the full ALMS season would seem to be a natural progression.
IndyCar drivers also represented two-thirds of Level 5′s No. 552 entry: Simon Pagenaud and reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay co-drove the team to a second-in-class finish.
Both teams had days that were relatively uneventful. Hunter-Reay had a spin in the first hour but lost no spots and recovered quickly, and roughly two hours later Simon Pagenaud was tagged by Extreme Speed Motorsport’s Ed Brown in the No. 02 entry after a failed pass attempt and was able to drive away (though the 02 car was affected much more adversely by the incident). Apart from those early incidents and a few technical gremlins, both teams dominated the class yet stayed largely out of the limelight until the checkered flag flew.
Another notable performance from the Mazda Road to Indy ranks was that of former Firestone Indy Lights driver David Ostella, who led a number of laps and put forth a strong effort as part of his PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team’s class win in LMPC.
Full results of the American Le Mans Series 12 Hours of Sebring can be found at alms.com.