Toyota’s number seven crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez have started the 2023 World Endurance Championship season with victory in the Sebring 1000 Miles.
The eight-hour race ran 29 laps short of its scheduled distance, and Toyota were on top for almost the entirety of it.
Ferrari were faster in qualifying with their debuting 499P, but chose to pit both of their hypercars during an early Safety Car period caused by a crash for one of their GTEAm class machines, surrendering track position. Any hope of reclaiming the lead was lost after their number 50 car got a penalty for overtaking under Safety Car conditions and their 51 had a crash which led to lengthy repairs and also a penalty.
The Toyotas were split by less than a second through the first quarter of the race, with the number eight crew of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa leading. But by the halfway point the positions had changed thanks to an on-track pass by Kobayashi, and that car tended to have a pace advantage over the remaining stints.
Following the final pit stops, the gap between them grew from 11 seconds to 23 due to a slow stop and even slower out-lap for Hartley, who had taken over from Buemi. But by the finish, perhaps under instruction from the team, there was just 2.168s between the two Toyotas.
The Team Penske-run Porsches showed flashes of pace, but neither of their cars were ever serious contenders for the podium. Glickenhaus were compromised by an engine start-up problem.
Peugeot’s day was over almost before it began due to a gearbox problem on lap one for their number 94 9×8 car which led to it spending several hours in the support paddock and outside of the race track. The sister number 93 car lasted a little longer before unreliability struck, and they were classified 31st and 32nd behind the sole Vanwall which remained with the Hypercar pack at first but then had a suspension issue that led to a spin and then a race-ending trip to the pits.
The Cadillac driven by Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook rivalling the Toyotas briefly emerged as a threat to Ferrari’s hopes of scoring a podium finish. However the number 50 Ferrari 499P of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen had enough in hand to claim the final place on the rostrum 10 seconds ahead of their pursuers. Bamber had a two-lap gap to the Porsches in fifth and sixth.
Jota Sport won the LMP2 class in seventh overall with a car driven by David Beckmann, Will Stevens and Yifei Ye, triumphing by just 2.863s over the number 22 United Autosports entry. Five other cars finished on the same lap as the class winner, but dropped out of victory contention with their final pit stops.
Corvette’s number 33 Corvette led the GTEAm class for the vast majority of the race, and ended up winning by two laps in 17th overall.
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2023 Sebring 1000 Miles results
|1||7||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Toyota||Toyota GR010 Hybrid||Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez||239|
|2||8||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Toyota||Toyota GR010 Hybrid||Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa||239|
|3||50||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Ferrari AF Corse||Ferrari 499P||Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen||237|
|4||2||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Cadillac||Cadillac V-Series.R||Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook||237|
|5||5||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Porsche Penske||Porsche 963||Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki||235|
|6||6||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Porsche Penske||Porsche 963||Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor||235|
|7||48||LMP2||Jota||Oreca 07 – Gibson||David Beckmann/Yifei Ye/Will Stevens||230|
|8||22||LMP2||United Autosports||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Frederick Lubin/Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque||230|
|9||63||LMP2||Prema||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Doriane Pin/Mirko Bortolotti/Daniil Kvyat||230|
|10||34||LMP2||Inter Europol||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Jakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Albert Costa||230|
|11||41||LMP2||Team WRT||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Rui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Deletraz||230|
|12||28||LMP2||Jota||Oreca 07 – Gibson||David Heinemeier Hansson/Pietro Fittipaldi/Oliver Rasmussen||230|
|13||31||LMP2||Team WRT||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Sean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns||230|
|14||9||LMP2||Prema||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Filip Ugran/Bent Viscaal/Andrea Caldarelli||229|
|15||51||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Ferrari AF Corse||Ferrari 499P||Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi||228|
|16||36||LMP2||Alpine||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Matthieu Vaxiviere/Julien Canal/Charles Milesi||228|
|17||33||LMGTE Am||Corvette||Chevrolet Corvette C8.R||Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone/Nicky Catsburg||221|
|18||77||LMGTE Am||Dempsey-Proton||Porsche 911 RSR 19||Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer||219|
|19||57||LMGTE Am||Kessel||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||Takeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Daniel Serra||219|
|20||21||LMGTE Am||AF Corse||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||Stefano Costantini/Simon Mann/Ulysse de Pauw||219|
|21||54||LMGTE Am||AF Corse||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon||219|
|22||60||LMGTE Am||Iron Lynx||Porsche 911 RSR 19||Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello||219|
|23||86||LMGTE Am||GR||Porsche 911 RSR 19||Michael Wainwright/Riccardo Pera/Benjamin Barker||218|
|24||85||LMGTE Am||Iron Dames||Porsche 911 RSR 19||Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey||218|
|25||10||LMP2||Vector Sport||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Ryan Cullen/Matthias Kaiser/Gabriel Aubry||218|
|26||25||LMGTE Am||ORT by TF||Aston Martin Vantage AMR||Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood||217|
|27||777||LMGTE Am||D’Station||Aston Martin Vantage AMR||Satoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii||217|
|28||98||LMGTE Am||Northwest AMR||Aston Martin Vantage AMR||Paul Dalla Lana/Nicki Thiim/Axcil Jeffries||216|
|29||56||LMGTE Am||Project 1 AO||Porsche 911 RSR 19||PJ Hyett/Gunnar Jeannette/Matteo Cairoli||215|
|30||4||Hypercar||Floyd Vanwall||Vanwall Vandervell 680||Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Jacques Villeneuve||215|
|31||93||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Peugeot||Peugeot 9X8||Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne||213|
|32||94||Hypercar (Hybrid)||Peugeot||Peugeot 9X8||Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Mueller||141|
|33||35||LMP2||Alpine||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Andre Negrão/Memo Rojas/Oliver Caldwell||139|
|34||23||LMP2||United Autosports||Oreca 07 – Gibson||Joshua Pierson/Tom Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis||91|
|35||708||Hypercar||Glickenhaus||Glickenhaus 007||Romain Dumas/Ryan Briscoe/Olivier Pla||62|
|36||83||LMGTE Am||AF Corse||Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||Luis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera||4|
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