The 2013 Sebring 12 Hours was under its first full course caution at the end of the second hour of the race, with Allan McNish leading.
The caution was caused by the delayed by the delayed Deltawing with Andy Meyrick driving. The car had pitted just a few laps into the race with engine issues, but re-joined, only to suffer terminal engine problems not long later. The subsequent small fire and fluids dumped on the circuit meant race officials decided to call the first caution of the event.
The Audis had closed up over the hour, with Tom Kristensen turning the fastest lap of the race on new tyres shortly after a pit stop. He began to close up on team mate Benoit Treluyer, before the pair pitted on lap 42 and 43. A driver change was required for both cars, with Allan McNish taking over the driving duties from Kristensen, and Marcel Fassler taking over for Treluyer.
It was Fassler who continued to lead, but McNish took the initiative at turn seven several laps later after Fassler was briefly delayed by the JDX GTC class Porsche.
The two German cars continue to be the class of the field as expected, particularly after their closest rival, the Muscle Milk Racing HPD, experienced problems. Lucas Luhr lost a wheel immediately after a pit stop, which left him with three wheels on his wagon for an entire lap. Their loss is Rebellion Racing’s gain.
Another LMP1 car in problems was the Dyson Racing Lola, with Chris Dyson on-board. The car cut out several times which resulted in the car limping back to the pits with a reported misfire. It lost a lot of time whilst the team attempted to rectify the issue.
Another high profile moment came when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun the leading Level 5 LMP2 car shortly into the second hour whilst attempting to lap an LMPC car. Despite losing several seconds, the 2012 Indycar champion was able to recover the car and remain in the lead of the class with no visible damage to the machine.
It was not just LMP cars in the wars though – with a couple of high profile teams continuing to experience problems in the incredibly competitive GT class. The #97 Aston Martin was able to return to the action after suffering from overheating earlier in the race, but has lost numerous laps. Elsewhere, the #3 Corvette was also in difficulty. Antonio Garcia took the car behind the wall with gear shift issues. It returned to the track not long later, but it was evident that all was not well, with the car still off pace. It returned to the pits a lap later.
There was still good racing in the class though, which resulted in a brilliant duel for third place between the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Olivier Beretta and SRT Viper of Marc Goossens. Richard Westbrook currently leads the category, with Bruno Junqueira and Cooper Macneil heading the LMPC and GTC classes respectively.
2013 12 Hours of Sebring class standings after 2 hours
#2 Audi – di Grassi/Kristensen/McNish
#1 Audi – Fassler/Jarvis/Treluyer
#12 Lola – Heildfield/Jani/Prost
#41 Zytek – Kimber-Smith/Lux/Zugel
#01 HPD – Brabham/Cosmo/Sharp
#552 HPD – Hunter-Reay/Pagenaud/Tucker
#9 ORECA – Ende/Junqueira/Popow
#500 ORECA – Heinemeier-Hansson/Nunez/Shears
#2 ORECA – Cumming/Johansson.Marcelli
#4 Corvette – Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
#91 SRT – Dalziel/Farnbacher/Goossens
#56 BMW – Edwards/Hand/Muller
#22 Porsche – Bleekemolen/MacNiel/von Moltke
#11 Porsche – Hedlund/Heylen/Fogarty
#30 Porsche – Cisneros/Edwards/Seefried