Rahal “can’t blame anybody” for BMW Sebring 12H clash with Corvette

BMW IMSA boss Bobby Rahal has defended Connor De Phillippi's attempted pass on the leading #3 Corvette in the Sebring 12 Hours that resulted in contact between the two.

Rahal “can’t blame anybody” for BMW Sebring 12H clash with Corvette

Following a restart, De Phillippi’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run BMW M8 homed in on the tail of the #3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia.

On the run to Turn 7 with fewer than 10 minutes left on the clock, De Phillippi spied a gap down the inside, but appeared to arrive in it slightly too late.

Garcia turned in and the pair made heavy contact which spun the Corvette which sustained suspension damage and a flat tire. It limped to the pits and retired, classified fourth.

The BMW had been able to continue after the incident, albeit with heavy front-end damage, but not before Mathieu Jaminet in the WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 had driven around the outside.

De Phillippi was also given a drive-through penalty, but salvaged second, as the other M8 had already gone a lap down after a pitlane fire during its final stop.

“The guys did a great job," Rahal said. "It was unfortunate for the #24 and we still don’t know what exactly happened at the pit stop with the fire but thankfully nobody got hurt and we were able to get going again.

“The final minutes were unlucky. When you have the chance to win the 12 Hours of Sebring you’ve got to go for it. It didn’t quite work out but you can’t blame anybody; everybody was aggressive at the end.

“It was a shame but we gave our best shot and today it looked pretty good for a while.

"We got a good gap to the Corvette and the Porsche but then the yellows came out and that made it a whole new race again towards the end.

“We would have liked to win, especially this race, but with P2 and P3 we are now looking forward to the next one at Watkins Glen.”

 

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

“I think we can be really proud of our performance today," added De Phillippi. "We knew we had to maximise literally everything in this car and this is exactly what we did. We put ourselves in the position to fight at the end.

“I could taste the win, tried to battle with the leader. I saw an opportunity and went for it but it didn’t work.

“We still came home second and third for BMW. It’s great to be on the podium. It was nice to come back here and show that we have the speed.

"It’s a good result and good points for BMW and now we will try to get the win at the six-hour race.”

Garcia, who between he, full-time co-driver Jordan Taylor and third man Nicky Catsburg, had led 211 of the 334 laps achieved by the winning GTLM car, remained restrained in his public comments about being classified only fourth.

“I’m definitely disappointed in the whole situation,” said the reigning GTLM champion. “It was a very hard race for all of us. We managed to be up there, and with two stints to go we were both going flat-out.

“It definitely was between them [the #25 BMW of De Phillippi, Bruno Spengler and Philipp Eng] and us. Up to that point, it was fair. The whole thing was good. He was pushing hard, and I was pushing as hard as I could.

“I think we put on a good show but I’m disappointed with the way it ended. I’m sure we would have been super happy to bring home a real result.

“It’s a tough break, especially after such a long race. I’m disappointed for the guys, for Corvette, for Team Chevy and the fans. We all deserved a little bit better.”

shares
comments
The groundbreaking new boss leading GM's sportscar assault
Previous article

The groundbreaking new boss leading GM's sportscar assault

Next article

Watkins Glen gains extra IMSA race as Canadian round is cancelled

Watkins Glen gains extra IMSA race as Canadian round is cancelled
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's IMSA push Plus

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's IMSA push

Have you heard the one about two northerners driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Plus

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era Plus

Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the World Endurance Championship. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Plus

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Plus

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with team-mates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022
The British sportscar aces readying for a new golden era in IMSA Plus

The British sportscar aces readying for a new golden era in IMSA

With the arrival of LMDh looming in 2023, top sportscar drivers are flocking to IMSA for the last hurrah of the DPi cars, starting with this weekend’s Daytona 24 Hours. Seven of the championship's leading British aces explain its appeal and share their hopes of winning a sought-after new watch...

IMSA
Jan 28, 2022
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Plus

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021