SEBRING, Fla. (AP) — Earl Bamber closed the victory for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Twelve Hours of Sebring to give the organization its 61st victory in IMSA sports car racing.
Bamber teamed with Alex Lynn and Neel Jani — a late replacement for Kevin Magnussen when he returned last week to Formula One in his old Haas seat — to give Cadillac the victory Saturday at Sebring International Raceway.
“The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac was amazing this weekend,” Bamber said. “I’m exhausted.”
Bamber passed Richard Westbrook with 58 minutes remaining in the race then held off Westbrook teammate Tristan Vautier of JDC Miller over the final stint to give Ganassi its first Sebring victory since 2014, when the team made its debut in the 12-hour endurance race.
Cadillac swept the podium as reigning DPi champion Action Express finished third with Pipo Derani behind the wheel for the final stint.
The Ganassi victory by the No. 02 team also marked a historic moment in motorsports as race engineer Danielle Shepherd led the team to victory. Shepherd, who won an IndyCar championship with Scott Dixon and then Alex Palou last year, became the first woman to go over the wall in an IndyCar race when she was tasked with removing the tear-off from Palou’s aeroscreen every pit stop.
She was promoted to lead Ganassi’s No. 02 IMSA car this season.
“I mean, Danielle, it’s her first time on the car,” Bamber said.
Mikell Jensen closed a third-consecutive LMP2 class victory for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, which was the class favorite and started from the pole in an Oreca.
The Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier driven by Malthe Jakobsen won the LMP3 class.
Antonio Garcia drove Corvette Racing to the GTD Pro class victory, and Antonio Fuoco closed the GTD victory for AF Corse Ferrari.
The overall victory for Ganassi was redemption for the organization after its pole-winning car suffered a mechanical problem minutes into the race. Sebastien Bourdais had set the Sebring DPi record in qualifying but never had a chance to compete for the victory because of the early issue.
The No. 01 for Ganassi finished last in class, 44 laps behind its winning sister Cadillac.
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