The Sebring 12 Hours always seems to end with drama, and the 2012 running of the race was no different! It’s been the GT class that has provided the most excitement – and the closest finishes – in recent years, and this time it was the battle between the #56 Team RLL BMW M3, the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 and all of the #71 Ferrari’s friends that had everyone on the edge of their seats for the last laps of the race.
Team RLL BMW driver Joey Hand (who is soon off to Europe to compete in the German DTM series) and Corvette-refugee Olivier Beretta in the AF Corse Ferrari swapped position lap after lap as the chequered flag approached, each pulling off a succession of stunning – and stunningly risky – moves in their efforts to take the win.
Beretta seemed to be out of it after overshooting his braking at the hairpin with six laps to go, but he quickly towed back up to the BMW, helped by a pair of rather too-helpful, lapped Ferraris… On the last lap, Hand was taken out at turn three by one of these lapped 458s – which just ‘happened’ to be the team-mate of Beretta! Confusion reigned (on the commentary they call the lapped car as Beretta), but somehow Hand rallycrossed the M3 back onto the track still in front of #71. He then even put in an epic move on the last corner of the last lap to retake the car that took him out!
It wasn’t just these two battling either: six GT cars had been on the same lap for the last six hours of the race, and five of them were still there come the 307th and last lap. Jan Magnussen’s Corvette took the struggling #71 before the line, and they were closely followed by Tommy Milner’s sister Corvette and the second M3. It must be the hot Florida sun, or maybe the fact that it’s the first race of the season and the drivers get a little over-excited! Epic stuff. There’s also the rolling start from 12 hours earlier to check out: 64 cars and tens of thousands of horsepower coming straight at you. I can’t wait for the next ALMS and WEC rounds! Stay tuned for Tommy’s story from the race, coming up soon here on Speedhunters.