IMSA Race Report 12 Hours of Sebring


Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti (WTRAndretti) became victorious at the Mobil Twelve Hours of Sebring as Louis Delétraz claimed the lead of the race in the closing minutes in the No. 40 DEX Imaging Acura ARX-06.  WTRAndretti’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 rebounded from 11th on the grid to finish fifth after 12 hours of intense racing around Sebring International Raceway.

Starting from the third position, it was Louis Delétraz to start the iconic endurance event behind the wheel of the No. 40 DEX Imaging Acura ARX-06. For the early hours of the race, Delétraz remained focused on keeping his position in the middle of the GTP field with his eyes on the leader the entire time. Just before the first hour complete, the field came to pit lane under caution and the No. 40 crew filled up on fuel and jumped up to third for the restart. Following the restart, Delétraz continued to ride steady in the fifth position before shortly handling the red and black over to Colton Herta just shy of two hours in. Herta then hopped behind the wheel for his return back at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Navigating heavy lapped and GT car traffic, Herta was able to keep the No. 40 within range of the GTP front runners for nearly two hours in the driver’s seat before trading places with Jordan Taylor.

Swapping places with Herta on a yellow flag pit stop. Taylor started the restart at the under eight hours to go mark in the fifth position. Nearing the halfway mark, it was Delétraz back in control of the No. 40. From the halfway point on, all three drivers cycled through another shift. Right around the two-hours left on the clock, the No. 40 team found themselves in the lead entering most crucial hours of the race. Ultimately, Delétraz was assigned the role to fight to the end. With a mix of green flag racing and caution periods, Delétraz had placed himself and the No. 40 in prime position to contend for the lead as the clock counted down. With just shy of six minutes left, Delétraz made a stellar move on the No. 01 Cadillac to take the lead. From there, Delétraz was able to hold the lead and award WTRAndretti its’ first Mobil Twelve Hours of Sebring win since 2017. After the win at Sebring, the No. 40 DEX Imaging currently lead the GTP championship standings.

Ricky Taylor took control of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 to start the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after a difficult qualifying session that a  saw a starting position of 11th in GTP. Taylor jumped forward to ninth as the green flag waved, and progressed as high as fifth at the conclusion of his double-stint. Brendon Hartley then took the reins of the No. 10 near the 10-hour to go mark, and put in a impressive stint which saw him run as high third before handing over the car to Filipe Albuquerque at the eight-hour mark in fifth. A strong run saw Albuquerque charge to the lead, making a pass around the No. 25 BMW for the lead on the restart after four hours in. The blue and black No. 10 Konica Minolta machine would stay in contention for the lead for much of the next few hours, cycling near the front of the grid during pit stops, with Ricky Taylor taking back over the wheel of the No. 10 for a triple stint. The No. 10 began to see smoke from the rear of the car  and the crew would evaluate a possible mechanical issue, ultimately placing the car one-lap behind the leaders. From there, it was a battle of perseverance, and with 1:10 remaining and a little luck, Albuquerque would regain the lost lap after a string of cautions. Albuquerque battled with every minute remaining to earn a hard fought fifth place.

“What a fantastic event today in Sebring,” said Wayne Taylor, Team Principal. “The last time we won it was back in 2017 and for the last couple of years, we have always been in there in the hunt. We just somehow come up short. It has been frustrating, but thankfully, we were able to get a two-car program with Acura, Oreca, and HRC, the support from DEX Imaging, Konica Minolta, and Gainbridge, and having what I think is the best driver line up out there. But the most amazing part was that it was such a team effort. You could see it at the beginning of the race, the middle of the race and then, at the end of the race, especially, you saw the blue car, the red car and everyone hugging each other. It was really one unit. That is what we are really trying to build here and to try and do this as a family. To feel part of the winning and also the losing. I am just really proud of everyone.”

Next on the IMSA WeatherTech Championship calendar for the WTRAndretti GTP teams is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the first sprint race of the 2024 season, on April 18-19, 2024.

No. 40 DEX Imaging Acura ATX-06 Team

Louis Delétraz: “Really big thank you to the team, WTRAndretti, Acura and HRC, and the two guys right here. Because obviously without them it’s not possible. The car was really strong in the end, and I knew we were in a position to win, which to be fair was a lot of pressure. I’ve never really done that, Daytona was my first time, that’s my second time finishing a race. I just obviously wanted to win and also bring points for the championship, but I saw I had the opportunity. Sebastien was tough but fair, so thanks to him. And in the end, I saw the gap, and I went for it, and I had more pace and I won, and I think I’ll remember this one for a long time.”  

Jordan Taylor: “Good win from the team. I think it’s their first win in the GTP class for Acura, so it’s a big win for the team. First time as a two-car team as well. Yeah, I think our car, we stayed out of trouble all day, didn’t have any big issues. The No. 10 car was extremely quick, drove in the lead at one point, but had their little issue that they recovered from, and recovered to a top 5.  I think overall Louis’ closing stint was what made a difference today. The team did a good job to keep us in the fight, but he really fought for that win and got it for us.”

Colton Herta: “It’s awesome! I feel very fortunate to come to these races and do these endurance events that are obviously very different from what I’m normally used to and take a lot of different attributes that maybe I didn’t have when I first started. It feels incredible to finally win this one. I got close in 2020 with BMW and ended up getting taken out with about 5 minutes to go. So ever since then I really wanted to come back and try to win this. Luckily, we were able to do that, and I can’t state enough about what Louis did in that last stint to bring it home, what type of pressure he was under and able to perform through it and put on a pretty spicy move on Sebastien. I think everybody did an amazing job on the team, drivers, and every aspect of it was pretty perfect for us.”

No. 10 Konica MInolta Acura ARX-06 Team

Ricky Taylor: ““Great day for the team. Really happy for WTRAndretti, Acura and HRC for the 40 Car win. Louis, Jordan, and Colton did an amazing job. We had a great car as well. I think we would have definitely been fighting for the win It just wasn’t our day with that oil leak. Had we had the oil leak earlier in the race, we would have been able to recover. But that late in the race, with all the pro drivers in the car, there wasn’t a chance to get a yellow to bounce back. Everyone worked their hearts out and we recovered to the fifth-place finish, which is not so bad. We will go to Long Beach.”

Filipe Albuquerque: “Very frustrating race for us. The pace was amazing and during the first stint I led the whole way. It was very enjoyable. Ricky and Brendon were doing a great job and saving ourselves for the end. And then we had the leak which made us lose a lap. We managed to come back because of yellows which was good in one way. But to attack for the win was impossible. We were at the end of the tail, P9 or something was able to get to P5. That is all we had. Our teammate won which makes it rewarding for the team. Success for all their hard work. In this kind of racing, you have to be fast, you have to be good, and you have to have some luck. We have had bad luck at Daytona, here is qualifying and now in the race. This is just a trend that is going on, but it will go away and we will be ready.”

Brendon Hartley: “Really happy for the entire team, taking the victory. We also were having a very good day on our car. We were leading and then we had to come in to fix a small issue which put us out of sequence. Filipe did a great job at the end getting us back up to fifth place but that was ultimately all we could do coming back from a lap down. The car was great. I have really enjoyed driving it. I have really enjoyed working with the team and happy for the team and their victory but a little bit sad for the No. 10 and that we could not be there to fight for the win in the end.