Into the final hour and Derani was pulling out a gap over the battling Nasr and Tincknell, van der Zande still very much in the mix with di Resta less than 4 seconds back from the #10, the top five separated by less than 10 seconds.
Tandy and Sims were still tenths apart in GTLM with Pier Guidi and Vanthoor also close together for third In GTD Sellers and Stolz were nose to tail, #48 Lamborghini leading #33 Riley AMG, Jaminet now up to 3rd in the Wright Porsche and ahead of Mies’ Land Audi.
53 minutes left and the GTD leader pitted, Stolz to the front (17th overall) in the #33 Mercedes but with Jaminet closing in, under 3 seconds back.
Into the window for final GT class stops and Stolz was replaced by Jeroen Bleekemolen for the run to the flag in the #33, Jeannette back to the class lead for now.
Trouble for the delayed #24 BMW, suspension failure, the car pitting and going behind the wall and into retirement.
The second placed sister car though was in for a final stop, Team RLL taking new rubber for a charge to the flag.
Sellers meanwhile was ahead of Bleekemolen and back to the GTD lead after a brilliant move around the outside of T1, Mies running third with Farnbacher and Parente in line astern.
Nasr meanwhile lost out finally to Tincknell, the Mazda man up to second with 44 minutes remaining, Nasr also losing out to van der Zande, up to third for the #10.
Romain Dumas was leading P2 runner for Core in the #54 Oreca, he though would need to pit soon, di Resta should be good to the finish in the United Ligier.
41 minutes and the four leading Prototypes were on pit lane together. A quick stop from Mazda team Joest but the #55 won’t fire up.
Its an agonising delay and the car loses a lap to the leaders.
Out on track meanwhile there’s trouble for Robert Alon in the #85 JDC Miller ORECA, the car losing rear bodywork after contact out in the darkness.
After the stops Derani holds a 9 second lead over van der Zande with Nasr fending off di Resta, though the Ligier is going to be very marginal indeed on fuel at the end. In GTLM Vanthoor is back to third with 35 mins remaining.
Bryan Sellers meanwhile has hared away from all challengers in GTD, 4 seconds clear of Bleekemolen who is under attack by Christopher Mies. The following pack, Alessandro Balzan, Mario Farnbacher and Alvaro Parente are 5 seconds back and running nose to tail, Blzan though breaks the chain and gaps the pair behind in pursuit of Mies.
The GTLM lead had gone out to almost five seconds but into the final half hour Sims was charging again, the gap 3 seconds with 25 mins remaining.
Bleekemolen, Mies and Balzan were locked together in a battle for second in GTD, AMG from Audi from Ferrari with 23 minutes left.
20 minutes left and Tandy was responding to the threat from Sims, the gap edging back out from a low of 2.4 seconds back to three.
Di Resta looked to have abandoned a fuel saving strategy and was hammering along, a splash and dash though looked set to cost the United Autosports team a potential podium, Romain Dumas was close enough to pounce. Balzan meanwhile finally found the opportunity he was looking for, getting a tow down the Ullmann straight and slingshotting up the inside of Mies to grab third in GTD through T17.
12 minutes remaining, di Resta pits for a splash of fuel and new rear rubber, a chance of a podium finish disappears, he rejoins 21 seconds behind Dumas in the Core Oreca.
10 minutes left, Derani 10 seconds to the good over van der Zande with Nasr now in a comfortable third as the threat from di Resta disappears. In GTLM Tandy still holds a 3 second advantage over Sims, Vanthoor seemingly in a comfortable third slot in the #912.
Bryan Sellers was still holding a comfortable 6 second advantage over Jeroen Bleekemolen, but Alessandro Balzan was still pushing, very hard indeed, half a second back from the #33 in a battle to the flag for second in class.
Under seven minutes left and the Ferrari was through, a fine charge in the closing minutes from the Italian. Sims meanwhile was dropping back from the lead GTLM battle, not enough to encourage Vanthoor towards a Porsche 1,2 though!
Derani’s final stints were stunningly effective, the Brazilian able to gap the other DPI contenders after the final green flag flew, bringing Tequila Patron ESM a second overall Sebring win in three years, a second win too for the Brazilian and for Johannes van Overbeek. Both shared the ESM win in 2016 Nico Lapierre has had a little longer to wait for his second win, he was part of the ORECA Peugeot victory in 2011.
This was the first Nissan powered win at the 12 Hours since the Cunningham Racing 300 ZX Turbo in 1994 and the fifth ever Nissan powered win at this great race.
The winning crew made the best of a 12 Hour race that ran for 9 hours and 37 minutes under green flag conditions, 2 hours 23 minutes under caution.
Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac squad couldn’t repeat their 2017 success but came home a fighting second after a less than perfect run for Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay with the #31 Whelen/Action Express Cadillac of Felipe nasr, Eric Curran and Mike Conway completing the podium.
The #911 Porsche would take the GTLM win, Nick Tandy finishing the run with Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki completing the winning squad, comfortably ahead in the end of a fine first ever podium for the Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, Alexander Sims bringing home the car he shared with Connor de Phillippi and Bill Auberlen, the BMW ambassador in his 25th start here. The second Porsche 911 RSR, Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Gimmi Bruni’s #912 car completed the podium.
Perhaps notably this was only the second win for the new for 2017 Porsche 911 RSR after a win at Lime Rock in IMSA last season, this win a decade after the overall win here of the Penske RS Spyder.
In GTD Bryan Seller’s stellar final stint secured the class win for the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan squad, Madison Snow and Cory Lewis his team-mates.
Alessandro Balzan’s late race heroics pulled the #63 Scuderia Corsa squad (including Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette) up to second with the #33 Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Luca Stolz completing the class podium after a jammed pedal box left Bleekemolen in real difficulties in his final stint.
Pic of ESM Nissan courtesy of team Twitter feed
Pic of #911 courtesy of Porsche Motorsport Twitter Feed
Pic of Paul Miller Lamborghini Courtesy of team Twitter feed