Hypercar World Champions Toyota Gazoo Racing got their 2023 season off to the best start possible with a resounding one-two victory at the 1000 Miles of Sebring on Friday.
Former Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi steered the No.7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar he shared with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez to the checkered flag 2.168s ahead of the sister No. 8 car which was driven by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa. The No. 7’s victory in Sebring sees the Japanese manufacturer take its 40 th win in the WEC.
Taking a first ever podium position to add to yesterday’s maiden pole, the No. 50 Ferrari 499P Hypercar crewed by Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina claimed a strong debut for the Prancing Horse in its first Hypercar race.
The podium result was made even sweeter as this week Ferrari celebrated its return to the top class of endurance racing for the first time in 50 years.
AF Corse Ferrari had to work for its podium result, however, as the No.2 Cadillac Racing squad of Alex Lynn, Earl Bamber and Richard Westbrook challenged the Ferrari 499P Hypercar in the race’s closing stages.
Penske Porsche Motorsport claimed fifth and sixth with the new Porsche 963 Hypercar as the No. 5 car of Frederic Makowiecki, Michael Christensen and Dane Cameron finished 23.977s ahead of the sister No. 6 driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Andre Lotterer and Kevin Estre.
Villeneuve finished eighth in his debut for Vanwall
The No.51 Ferrari AF Corse 499P took seventh overall after the Hypercar had to come to the pits for lengthy repairs following contact with the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari LMGTE Am entry with just two hours of the race remaining.
Floyd Vanwall Racing Team secured eighth place finish as Jacques Villeneuve, Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri gathered extra data from the team’s first outing in the WEC’s Hypercar category.
Peugeot TotalEnergies finished ninth and 10th respectively as the No. 93 finished ahead of the sister No.94 Peugeot 9X8 after a challenging day for the French manufacturer.
Home heroes Glickenhaus Racing retired in the race’s third hour after Romain Dumas was forced to stop the Glickenhaus 007 out on track with a technical issue.
The next round of the FIA WEC takes place in the Algarve in Portugal for the 6 Hours of Portimao on 16 April.