Cadillac Racing's Pipo Derani Crashes While Leading 12 Hours of Sebring

nbc sports pipo derani crash
Pipo Derani Crash Ends 12 Hours of Sebring BidNBC Sports

In an instant, the race was over for Pipo Derani. The Brazilian GTP driver was leading the class by 12 seconds when contact with GT competitor Miguel Molina sent him upside down into the tire barrier.

In the seventh hour of the 12 Hours of Sebring, Derani was piloting the Cadillac Racing No. 31 machine and made a move on the outside of Molina’s Ferrari through turns 9 and 10 when the two made contact and Derani went corkscrewing into the tires.

Derani was stuck in his cockpit for several minutes as safety crews worked to stabilize the car to get the driver out of it. Once freed he walked away from the incident by his own power and waved to the crowd. He has since been released from the infield care center.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Derani told NBC Sports Kevin Lee, “I was 12 seconds ahead and everything was running smooth. We overtake thousands of thousands of cars through a race like this. It’s one of those moments. Maybe he didn’t see, let go a little bit and there I was. Maybe I was expecting him to just hold his line to the right, knowing that I was going to go on the left. It’s just one of those situations where it happens without you having any chance of thinking or reaction whether you should have done something different or not. It’s part of multi-class racing. Our championship took a little hit with this one, but we have a strong car. We have more races to go."

The No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 also was forced to retire due to the damage sustained in the collision.

Derani was chasing his fifth victory at the circuit. This crash crushed the team's hope to repeat their 2023 victory; Derani and his teammate Jack Aitken were part of last year's winning trio. Tom Blomqvist joined the team for this year, replacing Alexander Sims.

The No. 06 Penske Porsche inherited the lead when the race returned green.

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