Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-Series R claimed its first victory in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class for IMSA in the new Cadillac V-Series.R.
After a late-race pileup that took out the three leading GTP cars in dramatic fashion, Action Express Racing's Jack Aitken held off Nick Yelloly to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
In a five-minute run to the checkered flag, Aitken's No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R beat Yelloly's No. 25 Team RLL-run BMW M Hybrid V8 by 2.940 seconds.
It happened after a multi-car crash in Turn 3 caused by contact between Mathieu Jaminet's No. 6 Penske Porsche 963 and Filipe Albuquerque's No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06, which sent Albuquerque's Acura through the grass and into leader Jaminet.
Felipe Nasr, driving the third-placed GTP car, was also involved in the pileup, with the No. 7 car driving over the sister No. 6 Porsche. All three drivers climbed out of their vehicles on their own.
The accident, which occurred with 20 minutes remaining, ended what had been an enthralling battle for the win in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season between all four LMDh manufacturers.
Jaminet took the lead around Albuquerque with 55 minutes remaining, but dropped to second after the Portuguese driver went wide in Turn 14.
With 53 minutes to go, Aitken pitted for energy replenishment, just as a yellow flag appeared for Loris Spinelli's stopped Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, forcing all of the leaders except the British-Korean driver to pit for full service.
Following a daring three-wide battle for second front straight between Aitken, Albuquerque, and Nasr, the No. 6 Porsche regained the lead with 30 minutes to go, prior to the race-ending drama for the WTR Andretti and both Penske Porsches.
Aitken finished first with Alexander Sims and polesitter Pipo Derani, giving Cadillac its first win in the new IMSA GTP era.
Meanwhile, BMW took its first podium in the top-tier WeatherTech Championship with Yelloly, Connor De Phillippi, and Sheldon van der Linde.
Scott McLaughlin of the NTT IndyCar Series won his first WeatherTech Championship race in LMP2, driving Tower Motorsport's Oreca 07 Gibson to victory.
The Kiwi held off Mikkel Jensen's No. 11 TDS Racing Oreca for the class win, finishing third overall due to the late-race GTP drama.
McLaughlin and co-drivers John Farano and Kyffin Simpson recovered from an Hour 7 accident that left Silver-rated Simpson in the barriers with nose damage, putting Ricky Capone's team in second place.
Despite the race-ending accident, Jaminet and co-drivers Nick Tandy and Dane Cameron were classified third in GTP and ninth overall, ahead of the No. 10 and No. 7 GTP entries, which also failed to take the checkered flag.
The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura finished sixth in class after dropping out of contention when its left-rear wheel came loose with 1 hour and 45 minutes to go, with Tom Blomqvist at the wheel.
Chip Ganassi Racing's charge ended with three hours to go due to a fuel leak that resulted in a fire for Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac, who was leading at the time.
Meanwhile, the No. 24 BMW retired after a cooling system issue forced Augusto Farfus to pit in the seventh hour.
Felipe Fraga, Gar Robinson, and Josh Burdon won the LMP3 class in the No. 74 Riley Ligier JS P320 Nissan.
Fraga, who took over the class lead after the second-to-last round of pit stops, had clear sailing to the finish thanks to Garett Grist's No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier slamming into Pietro Fittipaldi's errant wheel, which damaged the once-leading LMP3 contender.
The incident occurred with less than 90 minutes remaining.
Fraga finished one lap ahead of the second-placed No. 13 AWA Duqueine D08 Nissan of Matt Bell, Orey Fidani, and Lars Kern.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes April 14-15 at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.