The 64th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring had flyovers, fireworks, thunder, lightning, rain, a huge crowd and intense racing as Corvette Racing and Michelin once again produced the winning combination in the fierce GTLM class.
The second round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship saw the factory Corvette Racing team and drivers Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fassler, back up their victory at the 2016 season-opener at Daytona.
Michelin engineers consider the fast and bumpy Sebring International Raceway’s 3.74 mile former airfield circuit as a torture chamber for tires. This week, teams, drivers, and engineers as well as tires were tested to the limit.
“This was an incredibly intense race week,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America. “We saw a 50 degree variation in track temperatures, with a high of 122F on Thursday afternoon and just 72 degrees in the race. We had a dry track, heavy rain, a drying track, periodic sprinkles, 14 caution periods and a red flag in the race.”
“We are proud that all five Michelin manufacturer partners; BMW, Corvette Racing, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche led at various stages and all ten of our technical partner cars posted laps in the 1 minute, 59 second bracket,” said Baker.
The victory marks the fifth major endurance win in the past 53 weeks for Corvette Racing (Daytona 2015, 2016; Sebring 2015, 2016 and 2015 Le Mans) and all have come with Michelin. “We hadn’t run the medium/low-temp Michelin tires all week because of the heat, but the car was absolutely on rails at the end,” said Milner,
BMW, Corvette, Porsche Ford, and Ferrari all led at various stages, but Corvette’s Milner took control in the final two hours and withstood multiple challenges from BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen and Bruno Spengler who finished second and Porsche North America’s Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen who completed the podium.
“Tommy drove brilliantly, said Gavin of his co-driver. “He took us to the lead and delivered under massive pressure.”