Disappointment at 12 hours of Sebring

It was a race of disappointment for the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team for the second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After finishing so strongly at Daytona, taking a podium by scoring third place and being ‘best-of-the-rest’ over the 24 hour endurance race, an electrical issue forced the team to bring the car behind the wall during the 12-hour marathon. Perseverance and impressive driving saw Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande and Rene Rast pulled the VISIT FLODIRA Racing challenger to sixth for the chequered flag.

At the start of the Mobil1 Sebring 12 Hours, the VISIT FLORIDA Racing trio put the car fifth, looking strong to repeat their performance at Daytona and get the car onto the podium. Van der Zande started the race off, taking the green flag to get into the rhythm of the race instantly and began firing off competitive lap times.

A two-hour stint saw van der Zande bring the car it for its first pit stop. The Netherlands native managed to get up to third place before handing over to Goossens for the second stint.

It was just half an hour into his stint that Goossens discovered an issue with the Gibson Riley. He was stuck with an ailing throttle and forced to bring the car back in to go behind the wall for repairs. The team lost around an hour and a half in the garage, giving Goossens just over eight hours of the race left when he finally returned to the track.

Goossens left nothing out on track as he pushed the VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson Riley through its paces. It didn’t take long for him to get back up to pace with the focus now on damage limitation. He made up a few positions before handing the car over to third driver Rast.

Rast’s pace matched the example set by Goossens before him and the car was looking strong. Sadly the 90 minute delay behind the wall had dropped the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team down to seventh in class. However strong the pace was there was no way the team would be able to close the ground to get a second consecutive podium at this event.

The pure perseverance of the team brought the Gibson Riley up to take sixth as the chequered flag fell, showing a display of incredible team spirit. It was a disappointing end to what could have been a brilliant race, but reliability had thrown its hand in the mix and prevented VISIT FLORIDA Racing from getting anything more out of the weekend.

The team now looks forward to heading to the West Coast to take part in the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Island will take place over the 7th and 8th of April. Hopefully VISIT FLORIDA Racing’s luck will be back and they can remind the IMSA grid exactly what they are capable of.