At Sebring, Nissan proves that winning a race takes more than speed

Extreme Speed Motorsports Nissan Onroak DPiSpeed is great, but it takes more than speed to win a legendary endurance race like the 12 Hours of Sebring, which has been a fixture on the United States racing calendar since 1950. A combination of durability and fuel-efficiency got a team of Nissan drivers to the top step of the podium this year.

When it comes to U.S. motorsports, the annual once-around-the-clock race in Sebring, Florida, is rivaled only by the likes of the Indianapolis 500 and Rolex 24 at Daytona in iconic status. This year, drivers Pipo Derani, Nicoals Lapierre, and Johannes van Overbeek took their number 22 Tequila Patron-sponsored Extreme Speed Motorsports Nissan Onroak DPi to victory. It wasn’t just sheer speed that got them there.

As the race wound down, the focus was on fuel-efficiency, Derani told Racer. He made what turned out to be the winning pass with one hour and 35 minutes to go, but he still had to get the car to the finish line. Derani had to maintain enough speed to stay ahead of rivals, while conserving enough fuel to actually make it to the finish. Like a miserly commuter trying to squeeze every last drop out of a tank of gas, he got a low-fuel warning on the last lap.

Things could have gone very differently. The other Extreme Speed Motorsports Nissan, car No. 2, was eliminated before completing a single lap. A collision with the number 90 Cadillac caused so much internal damage that the car was taken out of the race. That Cadillac started the race in pole position, but was involved in another crash with two hours to go. In a race this long, anything can happen.

At Sebring, drivers spend as much time fighting the track as each other. The 3.74-mile Florida venue includes repurposed runways from the old Hendricks Army Airfield, where U.S. Army Air Force B-17 crews trained during World War II. So while most racetracks are entirely smooth pavement, Sebring has patches of rough concrete that punish cars. This year, the winning Nissan completed 344 laps — totaling 1,286.56 miles.

While Cadillac has dominated the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, of which Sebring is a part, Nissan’s main rival turned out to be Mazda. Thanks to its RT24-Ps’ tiny 2.0-liter engines, Mazda had the fuel-efficiency game down. But its number 55 car was taken out of contention when its engine hesitated to restart after a pit stop, while brake problems dropped the number 77 car down in the order.

Nissan, Cadillac, and Mazda all competed for the overall win in purpose-built “prototype” race cars, but Sebring also includes two classes for cars based on production models. In GTLM, the number 911 Porsche 911 RSR defeated BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, and Ferrari for a win in its class. The number 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 took the win in the lower-level GTD class.


Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.