Story By: MUSTANG SAMPLING RACING – SEBRING, FL – With a reputation of roughness that is well-established from 66 years of racing history, Sebring International Raceway’s 12 Hour contest is accepted as one of the biggest challenges in racing.
To make it to the Sebring finish line, let alone emerge with a trophy, teams and drivers have to contend with a dense mix of traffic, frequently changing track conditions, the challenge of racing from the morning into the night, as well as the 50-plus competitors who are all chasing that same top step of the podium.
For the last four editions of the 12 Hour, Mustang Sampling Racing has been up to that challenge—completing every one of the 1,217 laps of the 3.7-mile circuit and earning three podiums including a 2015 victory. Unfortunately, that incredible streak came to an early end on Saturday after the team was knocked out of contention by a competitor.
Mustang Sampling Racing drivers Filipe Albuquerque (PRT), Christian Fittipaldi (BRA) João Barbosa (PRT), who opened the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with a run to victory at Daytona International Speedway, were classified with a 10th place class finish after rallying back from a significant collision past the midway point of the race.
Barbosa was behind the wheel as he exited the tricky turn 17 corner when another Prototype machine turned and slowed abruptly in front of him and the two made contact at high speed. The incident caused significant damage to the Mustang Sampling machine as it was forced behind the wall for repairs.
But the team delivered a smart response to the setback with a massively quick turn-around of the Cadillac Prototype, returning to the track to race to the finish as the drivers looked to emerge with as many championship points as possible.
The team will look forward to a return to sprint competition in April as the IMSA championship heads West to Long Beach, California on April 13-14.