The No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM team felt untouchable in the last moments of today’s 12 Hours of Sebring with known madman and 2016 Sebring winner Pipo Derani driving their car to a win. Yet it was last year’s winners Wayne Taylor Racing who stole the show at the end. Team owner Wayne Taylor was so excited that they nursed a water-belching car home to second place that he dropped the good ol’ f-bomb on Fox Sports’ live broadcast.
The final stretch of the race began with Sebring pole winner Tristan Vautier eating a wall in spectacular airborne fashion in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPI-V.R at the start of the eleventh hour. The onboard view from Vautier’s car showed a headlight going out on the car just before Vautier’s car didn’t turn enough to make Turn 17 and plowed into a tire wall instead.
The No. 55 Mazda DPi, which had been leading the Prototype class, got a nose-ful of the debris from Vautier’s crash and was forced to pit for a new front clip. The Jalopnik Bump-wearing No. 69 Acura NSX GT3 of HART also got collected in the mess, and had to spend a long time behind the wall for repairs before ultimately finishing sixteenth in the GTD class at the end. (But they finished!)
Mazda’s cars were worse for wear in the final hours, though, with the No. 55 having problems restarting after pit stops and the No. 77 losing time to come in for a battery swap. The No. 55 and No. 77 ultimately finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
This win was a bit of a redemption for the Tequila Patrón ESM team, as their sister No. 2 car started second on the grid but was forced to retire after their car was damaged in the very first turn or the race.
But perhaps the most impressive was the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, which had been spewing coolant out of its top like Moby Dick for almost the whole length of the race. The miniature geyser that would pop up on the track-facing side of their shark fin during pit stops was due to high water pressure, according to a Cadillac team spokesperson.
The team had to do what all coolant-peeing race cars do: refill it often throughout the race. With IMSA’s approval, the No. 10 team used a pressurized refill device with a quick-release-style coupling that refilled the pressurized system on the fly. This nursed the car along to a second place finish overall.
Team owner Wayne Taylor was so ecstatic that he dropped a surprise f-bomb on Fox Sports 2 about their improbable second place finish. Fox Sports’ Justin Bell asked him for “one word” about the race, and Taylor gave them four: “That was fucking ace!”
We’ve got to agree—today’s race was a lot of fun. The other classes were fun to watch, too, with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR just edging out a newly competitive No. 25 BMW M8 GTE for the GTLM class win, and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini winning in GTD.
Like the overall Prototype class winners, though, the real story in GTD was with Alessandro Balzan in the second-place GTD car, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE. Balzan had an incredible charge up to the front in the race’s last moments, passing for third with 18 minutes left and getting into second place in the last six minutes of the race. Mr. Balzans of Steel might have even won GTD in the No. 63 had he not had to charge back to the front of the field after contact with Robert Alon’s No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports LMP2 in the last hour.
Either way, the three insane races within one race that is Sebring is now done. We here at Jalopnik hope that Wayne Taylor’s likely fine for cussing out of joy or a hard-fought second place finish is as small as the number of people who actually get FS2.