|No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R gives brand third pole in a row|
|SEBRING, Fla. (March 17, 2023) — Cadillac Racing will have an initial advantage as it seeks to successfully defend its Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victory, sweeping the front row for the 71st edition of the classic U.S. endurance race.|
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Pipo Derani claimed the pole – Cadillac’s third in a row at Sebring International Raceway – with a best lap of 1 minute, 45.836 seconds on the 3.741-mile, 17-turn course.
|The sister No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Sebastien Bourdais recorded a best lap of 1:45.923 in the scheduled 20-minute session cut short because of a red flag with 5 minutes left. Bourdais started from the pole in the 2022 race with a qualifying lap-record time of 1:45.166 in the No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R.|
Cadillac has won the past two 12-hour races at Sebring and four of the six in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi era, including 2022 and ’21 from pole. Last year, Cadillac swept the podium.Derani, who will share the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R with Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken, is among five drivers (and youngest) with three wins in the Twelve Hours of Sebring (2016, 2018, 2019), joining the likes of Phil Hill and Mario Andretti.
Cadillac Racing Twelve Hours of Sebring pit notes“I think we’ve been having a fantastic weekend since the beginning. It seems we rolled out onto the track with a very competitive car, so the changes have been very small from practice to practice and therefore we keep improving with better lap times,” said Derani, who posted his eighth IMSA pole and second at Sebring (2021).
“I wanted to say thank you to the whole Action Express Whelen Engineering team and Cadillac for its continued support, the relentless work and hours behind closed doors to try to make this program the best it can be.”
Both entries in the Grand Touring Prototype class tested on the bumpy circuit last month following the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, and completed a successful 24-hour test at the track in November in the continuing development of the hybrid racecar.
A day earlier, the No 2 Cadillac V-Series.R qualified fifth in the Hypercar class for its FIA World Endurance Championship debut in the 1000 Miles of Sebring.
|A Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing will be the pace car/safety car for the race. The race weekend marks the kickoff of the 20th anniversary of the Cadillac V-Series performance vehicle lineup. The CT5-V Blackwing is a Car and Driver 10Best again for 2023: “…the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the greatest sports sedan on sale today, if not of all time.”|
Peacock will stream flag-to-flag coverage of the race starting at 10:05 a.m. ET Saturday. USA will telecast the track action from 4:30-10:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio will air all on-track sessions at IMSA.com along with Sirius 216, XM 207 and SiriusXM Online 992 and 100.9 FM at the circuit.
Cadillac Racing IMSA GTP high-resolution photos from Sebring International Raceway
No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.RSebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande, Scott DixonBourdais drove in the 20-minute qualifying session (1 minute, 45.923 seconds): “Obviously, a great day for Cadillac. I had just a tiny bit of understeer, but I think it was pretty close with lap times and everything. I guess last year’s pole didn’t really serve us so well. Maybe it’s a good omen. I think we have a solid racecar and looking forward to the grueling 12 hours ahead. It’s going to be a lot of keeping your nose clean and make sure that you execute and don’t run into any trouble.”
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.RPipo Derani, Alexader Sims, Jack AitkenDerani drove in the 20-minute qualifying session (1 minute, 45.836 seconds): What made the difference for your team this morning?“I think we’ve been having a fantastic weekend since the beginning. It seems we rolled out onto the track with a very competitive car, so the changes have been very small from practice to practice and therefore we keep improving with better lap times. It was a very competitive qualifying session. I think we came in from Daytona a little behind some of our competitors, but it shows we’ve been able to work well together between Action Express and Ganassi to continue to develop the Cadillac. And I think it’s a strong track normally for the Cadillac but with the new regulations you never know how that’s going to translate. It’s still a strong track for our car. We’ve evolved and worked really hard, and it shows we are a little bit more competitive than we were at Daytona. And to be able to extract that in qualifying and have a Cadillac on pole it shows were able to achieve what we’ve been looking for. In general, it’s always good to be back at Sebring. It’s a place that I really enjoy. Being on pole here doesn’t mean much for the race, but for us as a team coming from a difficult ’22 it means a lot to be able to get back on track and show the potential we have as a team. I wanted to say thank you to the whole Action Express Whelen Engineering team and Cadillac for its continued support, the relentless work and hours behind closed doors to try to make this program the best it can be. On a personal note, it’s always nice to have the first Cadillac LMDh pole at a place that I really like to drive. A fantastic beginning to our weekend. Hoping we can have a clean race. I think we’re in a strong position this weekend.”
What do you expect this race to look like, how do you think it will shape up?“Sebring being Sebring, it’s a really difficult track on man and machine. Despite having done a 24-hour race at Daytona, I think this is really demanding on the car to the point we might experience new things throughout the race just because of the nature of the track. We’re expecting that we’ll continue to learn about our cars; they are so very new and there are things we are constantly developing. It’s going to be one of those races where you find yourself in the middle thinking, ‘Oh, I didn’t think about this. We could have used this tool or that tool.’ The cars are technologically advanced to the point where sometimes you have five tools to fix the same problem. Those are the learning curves we’re having and this is the second race for these cars. On the competitive side, it’s such a difficult race. When it hits man in terms of fatigue, you can see things starting to go on. We’ll try to stay cool and this race is still like a long practice sessions for us for future races.”
Are you more focused on getting your car figured out as opposed to the competition?“Those two things mix with each other. You always want to win the race, and you want to check the boxes you have to make and then you start thinking about the race. We are learning, improving the team and improving the car. Up until about hour 10 of the race, you’re trying to get those learning curves out of the way and then you start thinking about winning the race. For sure, the competition so far has bene really close. It’s fantastic for the new regulations and the future of the sport.”
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