When the 14 sim-racers of the Grand Prix Legends series lined up at Sebring International Raceway for a 12 lap sprint the expectations for a fiercely competitive race were running high given that the top four qualifiers all posted times in the 1:59s. Victor Perelman took top honors ahead of Daniel Kane, Daniel Garrison Jr., and Uwe Jacobsen with Darwin Meints and John Neely rounding-out the list of qualifiers ahead of Bruce Snelson who led the pack of non-qualifiers.
The grid did not disappoint as the action actually started before the lights even went green. Kane in second place was starting from the right side of the track and his car launched a good bit before the rest of the field, incurring a drive-through penalty straight away.
At the polar opposite end of launch quality, Jacobsen nailed his revs and, with lightning fast reflexes, catapulted into a net first position; however, when he went deep into Turn One Jacobsen dropped back down to fourth where he came under attack from Snelson.
Jacobsen’s woes continued the next lap when oversteer mid-corner through Le Mans sent him wide. He managed to keep the right side of his Lotus 49 on the curb but lost valuable exit speed onto the long straight towards Sunset Bend. As a result Jacobsen lost two positions to Michael Morrison and Snelson, putting him in sixth less than two laps after taking the lead.
By Lap Five Morrison was breathing Meints’ fumes and challenging for a podium position. The duo went side-by-side for a whopping seven corners in rapid succession with Morrison finally coming out on top at Le Mans corner.
Meints kept his cool, grabbed the slipstream and slotted into the inside line for Sunset Bend; when Morrison went into the corner too hot, Meints regained his third place position. Snelson was not far behind and capitalized on the mistake, relegating Morrison to fifth. The demotion was only temporary as Morrison came back at Snelson just three corners later.
For the next handful of laps Morrison reeled-in Meints and on Lap Ten was ready to strike once more. In a carbon copy of the Lap Five battle, Morrison took third at the Le Mans corner. Unlike Lap Five, Snelson was close enough to the battling duo that he was able to challenge Meints into Sunset Bend and, with the inside line, took fourth.
Almost simultaneously while the battle for third was heating up, so too was the one for the lead of the race. Garrison had been leading from Perelman by a few seconds for most of the race but a huge oversteer moment on Lap Ten seemed to throw the leader out of sync.
When Garrison clipped the cone at the inside of Le Mans corner it became lodged underneath his rear axle, costing him speed and he immediately came under attack from Perelman. Into Sunset Bend with only two laps remaining, Perelman took the inside line and the lead of the race.
Meints had already lost two positions on Lap Ten and was having a rough enough second half of the race. Jacobsen was about to make things even worse as, once again, he grabbed the inside line for Sunset Bend on Lap 11, forcing Meints to take the long way around – so long, in fact, that Meints took out some cones while dropping to sixth behind Jacobsen.
Meints didn’t make it easy on Jacobsen and retook fifth on the final lap, but when Meints went wide at (you guessed it) Sunset Bend yet again he lost the drag race to the finish and ended up in sixth, 0.054s behind Jacobsen.
At the front Perelman hung on to finish eight tenths ahead of Garrison, earning them 143 and 132 points respectively, while Morrison’s podium trip to the podium was enough for 121 points. Snelson took home 110 points for fourth place and the top four finishers of the race were the top four scorers for the week.