Sebring crash forces Spirit of Daytona to miss Long Beach
Tristan Vautier’s shunt in the Sebring 12 Hours has obliged Spirit of Daytona to skip the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, held on Toyota GP of Long Beach weekend.
Under the guise of Visit Florida Racing, Spirit of Daytona switched from a Gibson-powered Riley and then Ligier in 2017, to run a Cadillac DPi-V.R for 2018.
Vautier qualified fifth for the Rolex 24 at Daytona but the car retired, while at Sebring the Frenchman put the car on pole and he, Matt McMurry and Eddie Cheever III seemed destined for at least a podium finish.
However, an error on cold tires with fewer than two hours remaining saw Vautier suffer a major shunt on the exit of the final turn.
An official statement said that “the team has made the difficult decision to forgo the Long Beach Grand Prix event on April 13-14 to regroup and prepare for its return to IMSA competition.”
Spirit of Daytona team owner Troy Flis said: “We knew that we had the right combination for success, so taking the pole confirmed our confidence in this package.
"From the great support at Cadillac, Dallara and ECR to our talented drivers, engineers and our hard-working crew members we feel that we are a threat to win at every event…
“Unfortunately, racing provides the highest of highs and lowest of lows and at Sebring we experienced both. We are most thankful that Tristan was not injured in the crash. Our Cadillac did its job of protecting the driver but the amount of damage to the car is extensive.
“Unfortunately, due to several circumstances we will not be able to attend the Long Beach event in April but we will regroup, rebuild and come back stronger than ever.”
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