The No.1 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac led 120 laps of the 12 Hours of Sebring before being forced to retire. The team suffered a fuel distribution issue on the 241st lap, which resulted in Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais, and Renger van de Zande retiring from the race.
At the halfway mark of the race, the team was running in P2 position. They dealt with difficulties and dropped to the rear of the GTP field later in the stint, but they were able to pit under a full-course yellow and tack on four fresh tires with four hours and 54 minutes to go. The team also executed a driver change and Bourdais then ventured out on a mission to work his way through the field.
Bourdais improved to P4 off the restart with four hours and 40 minutes to go, but another incident in the rear of the field forced a full-course yellow again just a minute later. He then swiftly advanced to P3 on the restart.
Under another yellow flag with just under four hours remaining, the No. 01 jumped past the No. 7 Porsche 963 in the pits into P2. The green flag waved again a few minutes later as Bourdais executed an impressive maneuver to seize the lead.
With three hours to go, smoke began to emerge from the No. 01 as it entered pit lane. The team brought the car back to the garage and ultimately decided to retire from the race.
Cadillac Racing released a statement following the race saying:
The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R experienced a fuel distribution system issue. It is the first time we have seen it in testing — including a successful 24-hour test at Sebring International Raceway in November and two days of testing at the track in February — and race conditions. Cadillac Racing will figure out the root cause and prepare for the next race.
Director of Operations with Chip Ganassi Racing Andy O’Gara commented on the race saying:
“The team has worked hard to prepare for this race. We proved we have a fast race car and great pit stops. Some things happen that are out of your control, but that’s racing. I’m proud of the effort from the entire team, and I know we’ll keep at it and continue chasing this championship.
Sebastien Bourdais commented following the race, saying:
“It’s obviously pretty disappointing for everybody. The car was quick. Cadillac seems to have something that works pretty well at Sebring, so that’s really encouraging. I think we made some great progress from Daytona in performance, so that’s also encouraging for the rest of the season after finishing on the podium. It’s great to see the program heading in the right direction and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac are working very hard to make progress.”
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon commented following the race:
“It was quite the race. The car was really fast and I felt like everybody on the team did a tremendous job. We had some ups and downs, but ultimately, we were top-three most of the race and led a good majority of it. Just bummed that it ended the way it did, and we didn’t win the race. It’s one that’s eluded me, and it would have been great to take this one. But, we had great speed, great teamwork and everybody did a hell of a job.”
Renger van de Zande commented following the event, saying:
“Sebring is a special one, and it’s a shame that it didn’t fall in our direction. We had a strong Cadillac car here and while we’ve been testing all over, we’re still trying to improve things across the board. We’re still learning. We go deep to try to optimize performance. It’s just an unfortunate end to the race after showing so much speed.”
The No.1 Cadillac will be back in action on April 15 for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES event. For further information or to buy tickets, click here.