Two Kiwis are entered in this weekend’s Sebring 12 Hour, and each have their own ambitions to achieve.
Recently crowned six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon finds himself in the rare position to clinch the Michelin Endurance Cup with a clean sweep.
Dixon reunites with Renger van der Zande, and Australian racer Ryan Briscoe and holds a steady points lead in the four-round endurance championship. The trio have been victorious at the Daytona 24 Hour and Petit Le Mans, while van der Zande and Briscoe were on their lonesome for the Grand Prix at Road Atlanta.
A podium finish at Sebring has so far eluded Dixon who has started the hallowed race on six occasions. The Kiwi’s best result is fourth, which he has achieved in three of those times.
However, despite their previous performances, the Konica Minolta Cadillac will likely still be the underdogs to the Penske powerhouse team.
Penske has eased to victory lane in four of the last five IMSA races. The only anomaly being a second-place finish at Road Atlanta.
The other Kiwi in the field is Earl Bamber who this weekends bids farewell to the Porsche GT Le Mans programme.
The German manufacturer has quelled its two-car GTLM effort for next season with the economic aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic the primary motive. Porsche’s exit will leave a heavily diluted four-car GTLM field for the 2021 season.
Bamber has already seen the defence of his 2019 title slip out of reach with Porsche comfortably defeated by Corvette this year.
Winless for the first eight rounds, Bamber finally managed to crack the winner’s circle in the last race in California. The New Zealander now has hopes to execute a repeat performance this weekend in Porsche’s swansong race.
“We had such high hopes going into the season, especially with the new car, which we feel is better than the old one in every way,” Bamber told RACER ahead of the race.
“I have to thank the team, and the Porsche program, for continuing to dig hard. Obviously, the No. 911 car won last time out at Petit Le Mans, and that was big for us as a team, and to now get a win for the 912 is like a huge release for us, too.
“Daytona started strong, then our drama started at Sebring and continued, and by Petit, we were at the point where we didn’t care which Porsche won the race; we just wanted to win a race for the program.
“Then to be able to follow it up at Laguna and have a super-strong weekend with our car, at a track where we’re typically not the best; it’s our first ever time that we’ve won there.
“So it was nice, too, to say that we won at every single track on the calendar.”
The Sebring 12 Hour is scheduled to begin on Sunday, November 15 at 4.10 am NZT