General: Sebring podium for Mike Conway

20th March 2018

19th March 2018

Mike Conway picked up his second podium finish of the 2018 season as he and the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R showcased their strength in Saturday’s Twelve Hours of Sebring as the team brought home another IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium result to record Mike’s second consecutive podium result at Sebring International Raceway.

The 2018 Twelve Hours of Sebring marked the 66th running of the fabled event this past Saturday as the IMSA staged round two of the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The race is well accepted as one of the biggest challenges in the sport thanks to the tough traffic flow among the three classes in action, big variations in track conditions owing to the wide range of temperatures on offer each day, as well as the rough and tumble surface that includes bumps, high-speed corners, and a number of slow speed sections that attract widespread passing moves.

After taking the runner-up spot at Daytona, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R of Mike, Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran targeted the top step on Saturday night after four successful practice sessions. Nasr took the controls of the Cadillac DPi-V.R for qualifying, locking in fifth on the grid with his quickest lap time of 1:47.853-seconds.

Starting the Twelve Hours of Sebring from fifth place, the No.31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac witnessed a dramatic start as the two front-row starters collided at turn one, allowing the team to move up to 3rd place. The team continued to make solid progress and by the end of the second hour, they had managed to move themselves into the lead of the race.

The race ran at a wide-open pace with extensive green flag running for the opening four hours, but the nature of the race changed as a series of full-course cautions kept the strategies evolving with every lap. Mike and his teammates kept their focus on the front, with all three racers posting strong performances. The team held up its end of the bargain with swift pit stops and a well-executed pit strategy.

Nearly two hours of green flag running made for a sprint to the finish line as darkness covered the track. Nasr was on board for the final segments, and had to strike the best balance between outright pace and making sure the Whelen Engineering entry had the fuel to make the finish.

That balance kept the first-year IMSA pilot from making forward progress late in the race, but he held on to score third at the finish as the team continues to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Mike was pleased to reach the podium for the second year in a row after the team had fought hard for the duration of the 12-hour race.

“It was the same as last year, we were third last year too,” Conway said. “It’s a shame. We were really fighting it out toward the end of the race. We could just keep ahead of the Nissan in clean air. In traffic, they seemed to have an easier time with their straight-line speed. We fought as hard as we could and gave it everything, we just came up a little shy at the end. It is a good result for the 31 Whelen Cadillac and good points for the championship. I wish the team luck the rest of the season and I hope they can win the championship.”

Mike’s IMSA exploits now draws to its conclusion as Mike reunites with Toyota for the prologue at Paul Ricard on April 6th - 7th to mark the first track action of the 2018 World Endurance Championship.

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