IMSA: Tight Class Battles Headline Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup at Halfway Point

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Road Racing, Southeast, WeatherTech 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official series release — Richard Dole/LAT photo courtesy of IMSA —

Tequila Patrón ESM won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with its Honda Ligier JS P2 Prototype, while Action Express Racing took maximum points in both mid-race segments in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which also served as the second round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

As a result, the two teams are tied for the lead in the Prototype class in the Patrón Endurance Cup, the unique competition among the four longest races in the WeatherTech Championship which opened with January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. Competition continues with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on July 3 at Watkins Glen International, and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda on Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta.

While Tequila Patrón ESM won at both Daytona and Sebring with Pipo Derani, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Scott Sharp in the No. 2 Honda Ligier JS P2, Action Express Racing has captured three in-race segments to share the lead with its No. 5 Corvette DP and drivers Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, with 26 points each.

“Wow – the 36 Hours of Florida,” said van Overbeek. “Tequila Patrón ESM has successfully won overall at both Daytona and Sebring. It was certainly our objective coming here, but so many things can happen. We had the red flag, crazy weather, but everything ran flawlessly. Thanks to Patrón for allowing us to be here, and hats off to Pipo for driving one heck of a last stint.”

Derani became the first driver to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in his first attempt. The Tequila Patrón ESM Honda Ligier JS P2 became the fifth car to win both Florida enduros in the same year, joining the JLP Racing Porsche 935 (1982); T-Bird Swap Shop Porsche 962 (1985); Doyle Racing Oldsmobile Riley & Scott Mk III (1996); and Doran/Moretti Racing’s MOMO Ferrari 333SP (1998). Sharp was part of the Daytona-winning lineup in 1996 with Wayne Taylor and Jim Pace, but missed that year’s Sebring event due to a schedule conflict.

The No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP is third in the team standings with 23 points. Scott Pruett – who has driven both Action Express cars – is third in the driver standings with 25 points, while teammates Eric Curran and Dane Cameron each have 23.

The Patrón Endurance Cup also is tied in GT Daytona (GTD), with close battles in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and Prototype Challenge (PC).

Alex Job Racing’s No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche GT3 R, with drivers Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas has won two in-race segments to tie Rolex 24 GTD class winner Magnus Racing and drivers John Potter, Andy Lally and Marco Seefried with 21 points. Christina Nielsen and No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 co-drivers Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Segal share third with Paul Miller Racing’s No. 48 Audi R8 LMS GT3 drivers Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Bryce Miller, with 19 points each.

Corvette Racing has won both of the Florida endurance classics with Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, but the team has only a one-point lead over the two Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR entries and drivers Earl Bamber, Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Frederic Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, 23-22.

In PC, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and drivers Tom Kimber-Smith, Robert Alon and Jose Gutierrez hold a three-point lead, 28-25, over Rolex 24 winners JDC-Miller Motorsports and drivers Kenton Koch, Misha Goikhberg, Chris Miller and Stephen Simpson. Sebring class winners CORE autosports and BAR 1 Motorsports are tied for third with 20 points.

CREDIT: IMSA Communications

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