VCO Sebring 12: URANO eSports wins overall, Verstappen falls victim to netcode early

Justin Melillo
The 2023 VCO Sebring 12 Hour took place over this past weekend (25th March), the second leg of the 2023 VCO Grand Slam.
Urano Esports 1 sebring
25.-26.03.2023,†iRacing 12h Sebring powered by VCO, VCO Grand Slam, #1, URANO eSports, BMW M Hybrid V8

The second leg of the VCO Grand Slam in 2023 was this past weekend’s Sebring 12 hour event on the iRacing platform.

Taking place during the top split of the third timeslot during the event weekend, presented by VCO, the main show featured many of the top sim racing teams and drivers across the service on 25th March, racing in one of three classes around the rough and bumpy Sebring International Raceway.

GTP: URANO ESPORTS WINS OVERALL

Urano Esports #1 Sebring passing GT3
iRacing 12h Sebring powered by VCO, VCO Grand Slam, #1, URANO eSports, BMW M Hybrid V8

Following 12 hours of respecting the bumps, URANO eSports took the top honors of the day, winning overall as well as the GTP class which utilizes the new BMW M Hybrid V8 racing machine.

The driving in the #1 was split between Dominik Hofmann (237 laps completed, 172 laps led) and Daniel Alves Lourenco (170 laps completed, 130 laps led).

URANO’s #1 team beat out the BMW M Team Redline #20 duo of Chris Lulham and Diogo C. Pinto by just over 40 seconds difference after the 12 hour endurance event. Another URANO eSports entry, the #192 URANO eSports HEINEKINGMEDIA team driven by Vlad Khimichev and Jonas Wallmeier, finished third in class and overall.

LMP2: APEX RACING TEAM GOES TWO-FOR-TWO

#199 Apex Racing Team LMP2 Sebring
iRacing 12h Sebring powered by VCO, VCO Grand Slam, #199, Apex Racing Team 199, Dallara P217

Michele Costantini and Elvis Rankin, driving the Apex Racing Team #199 Dallara P217 entry, were the winners of the LMP2 class, finishing 11th overall only 16 laps behind the GTP class winners. Also winners at Daytona, Apex Racing Team’s #199 is the only team to have wins in both VCO events so far in 2022.

They completed a whole extra lap over the other two podium finishers in LMP2, the #5 Coffin Dancers entry driven by Atte Kauppinen and Lassi Juurinen who finished in second and the Apex Racing Team #198 driven by Gordie Mutch and Stanley Deslandes, the third place finishers.

GT3: VERSTAPPEN NETCODED, TEAM REDLINE STILL WINS WITH OTHER CAR

The GT3 class saw the entry of one two-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen in the Team Redline #101 Ferrari, paired up with another champion from IndyCar, Alex Palou. The two were a formidable duo, leading early on in the show.

However, not even 90 minutes in, Verstappen suffered damages as a faster prototype passed by and provided a netcode contact. The contact was enough to force Verstappen to pit with a meatball flag and retire early.

That opened up the field to allow their Team Redline teammates in the #70 Ferrari, Gianni Vecchio and Ole Steinbraten, to win the GT3 class over the #4 Ferrari of Arnage Competition, driven by Nicolás Rubilar and David Toth, who finished second, as well as the third place finishing #42 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry of Altus Esports Green, a trio made up of Dino Lombardi, Matteo Ugolotti and Simone Maria Marcenò.

iRacing 12h Sebring powered by VCO, VCO Grand Slam, #70, Team Redline 70, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO

SEBRING STATS

The combined strength of field was over 8000 for all three classes. RaceSpotTV was on the call for the event. There were 29 lead changes over the course of the 12 hour, caution free event.

For iRacing’s official road racing events, caution flags are turned off. The #75 Team Redline entry of Tom Burns and Josh Thompson started on the pole position for the overall race but fell back to finish in seventh, two laps down to the winners.

The next race in the VCO Grand Slam will be the Watkins Glen 6hr on the weekend of the 16th to the 18th of June. It’s not the next iRacing Special Event – that will be the Road America 500 in the middle of April. In fact, there will be three more special events before the next VCO-presented event.

Image Credit: VCO Esports

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