Along with Eric Curran, Nasr and Derani came out on top in a thrilling finish to the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as Nasr held off Jordan Taylor’s #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac during the final restart.
It marked the closest-ever finish in Sebring 12 Hours history – with just 1.030 seconds splitting the two leading cars at the flag – as well as Derani’s third win at the Florida venue in four years.
Derani told Motorsport.com: “I’m out of words. Three [different] manufacturers, three wins in four years. What can I say?
“I’m super-happy, I would like to thank the team for a perfect execution today. We managed to be on the lead on hour four, hour eight and obviously at the end.
“I’m speechless at how this race was executed. Everything was perfect from the beginning to the end.
“We didn’t put a foot wrong today, drivers, mechanics, engineers, strategy. It was just perfect. It was one of those days you have to thank God for but it’s not always [this happens].”
The #31 Cadillac led 249 of 348 laps en route to its win, which followed a near-miss in the IMSA season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“After Daytona, that was a bit of a bitter result, we had that race under control for so long and we came so close,” Nasr told Motorsport.com.
“In Sebring the aim was to get the win no matter what, and what was super-impressive was the first time we hit the track this weekend the car felt really good.
“Pipo drove an amazing beginning of the race in the rain, it was outstanding. He was able to put the car in front… I didn’t see anyone with his pace in the rain.
“Every time I got in [the car], I was like ‘wow’ – all we had to do was hit the marks, get the strategy right. I would call today the perfect day in racing, which is hard to have these days.”
Asked about the final restart, during which Taylor closed to within a second of the #31 Cadillac, Nasr expressed frustration with the lapped CORE autosport Nissan of Colin Braun.
“I want to say that Colin Braun didn’t respect the race leaders at all,” said the Brazilian. “At that point I had a four-second lead when I ran into him and he didn’t open up.
“I was disappointed with him for doing that, and it made Taylor come back in the race.
“The final restart was on a knife-edge. I gave everything I had in the car.”
Race winners #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi: Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Pipo Derani
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz