Round six of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship at Sebring, Florida, USA, was won by the N°8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin of Buemi/Nakajima/Alonso. The N°91 Porsche/Michelin of Lietz/Bruni came out on top after a thrilling battle in LM GTE Pro.
After dominating every practice session for the 1,000 Miles of Sebring and smashing the previous lap record for the Florida circuit in qualifying with Fernando Alonso in the N°8 car, the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids unsurprisingly dominated the race itself.
Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso Miles followed up their previous 2018/2019 WEC successes at Spa and Le Mans to top Saturday evening’s order. The N°7 car of team-mates Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez completed the distance a lap back after being caught up in a tangle with an LM GTE Am runner.
The third-placed N°11 BR1/Michelin (SMP Racing, Aleshin/Petrov/Hartley) finished 11 laps short, chased by LMP2 victors Heinemeier-Hansson/King/Stevens. Rebellion Racing’s N°1 BR1/Michelin and the N°17 BR1/Michelin (SMP Racing) both crashed out.
Spectators were treated to yet another enthralling scrap in LM GTE Pro between Porsche, BMW and Ford who finished in that order to make it an all-Michelin podium. Victory went to the N°91 Porsche of Richard Lietz/Gianmaria Bruni, but only 816-thousandths of a second clear of the N°81 BMW M8 GTE (Tomczyk/Catsburg/Sims) which took advantage of its last pit stop to fit Michelin wet weather tyres as rain swept across the track during the closing moments. The N°67 Ford GT (Priaulx/Tincknell/Bomarito) had to settle for third spot despite leading for much of the evening.
There was another win for the N°77 Porsche/Michelin (Ried/Andlauer/Campbell) in LM GTE Am, ahead of the Spirit of Race-run Ferrari/Michelin of Flohr/Castelacci/Fisichella. The class’s other podium finisher was the N°56 Porsche/Michelin which had to be rebuilt after catching fire earlier in the week.
In LMP2, Signatech-Alpine (Lapierre/Negrao/Thiriet) celebrated its return to the Michelin fold by securing second place. The N°31 Oreca-Nissan/Michelin (DragonSpeed, Gonzalez/Maldonado/Davidson was third.
The weekend’s action continues with the 12 Hours of Sebring, round two of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which starts on Saturday afternoon local time.
To cover the two races, Michelin took 16,000 tyres to Florida.
The next 2018/2019 FIA WEC clash will see teams travel to Belgium for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 2