When a late-race wreck took out the top three competitors in the dark hours of the 2023 12 Hours of Sebring, the No. 31 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R race car jumped at the opportunity to claim the lead and never looked back.
The No. 31 V-Series.R was piloted by a joint effort between Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken at Sebring. Derani had control as the Action Express Racing (AXR) Caddy crossed the finish line in first. The No. 31 V-Series.R been running fourth behind the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque, the No. 6 Porsche 963 of Mathieu Jaminet and the No. 7 Porsche of Felipe Nasr when the race-deciding wreck unfolded. Albuquerque and Jaminet became mired in lapped traffic, ultimately making contact and crashing, while Nasr was swept up into the incident.
After the race, Derani, who now has four Sebring victories under his belt, said, “I’m sorry for the guys who crashed, they did an amazing race, but, you know, you’ve got to be lucky a little bit in motorsports.”
He then explained that he was impressed that his Cadillac Racing team bounced back after early race contact that damaged the nose of the No. 31 V-Series.R. “We had a flawless race after the incident in the beginning, we recovered well, so just fantastic to be here for number four,” he said.
The win at Sebring is certainly a welcome result for Cadillac, as the luxury marque recently announced a year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of its V-Series sub-brand, which was introduced at the same racetrack in 2004.
The other Cadillac Racing entry didn’t have quite the same luck as the No. 31 V-Series.R. At the nine-hour mark, Sebastian Bourdais was forced to pit the No. 01 V-Series.R from the lead, thanks to a mechanical fire. He and his codrivers – Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon – finished almost 80 laps off the pace as a result of the damage.