Mazda wins 12 Hours of Sebring, Chevrolet takes GT Le Mans Manufacturers Championship
Despite both of Corvette Racing’s cars being knocked out of the race early with engine trouble, just starting out of the grid meant the mid-engined Corvette C8.R wrapped up its first year in racing by capturing the GT Le Mans Manufacturers Championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, and the No. 3 Corvette Racing team won the GTLM Drivers and Team championships two weeks ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; this is Chevrolet’s 13th Manufacturers title in IMSA GT competition since 2001.
Mazda Motorsports was the winner of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday, while Acura Team Penske scored a podium finish and a DPi championship in its final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race Saturday. This is the first major endurance win for Mazda in its final year as a two-car DPi program.
Harry Tincknell, co-driving the No. 55 with Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay, took the checkered flag in the season’s final race; the No. 77 car of Oliver Jarvis (co-driving with Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla) suffered a punctured left-rear tire while leading with less than 30 minutes left to go in the race.
“The first season for the Corvette C8.R has shattered all of our expectations,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “The success of the Corvette Racing team wouldn’t be possible without the close link between the crew and the Corvette engineering team. It has been great to watch these two teams work closely together to learn from each other. I can’t wait to see what next season brings.”
It’s the third time in five years that Chevrolet has swept the three full-season GTLM titles. This is just the second time that a Corvette race car has won an IMSA championship in its first season. In 2005, Corvette C6.R won the American Le Mans Series championship during in its debut season.
Next year’s competition landscape is going to be very different: Team Penske is leaving the Daytona Prototype International class, while Porsche departs from GT Le Mans. Mazda and BMW’s factory participation are both expected to be diminished, too. We’ll have a better idea when the season begins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 26th, 2021.