Continental Tire Petit Le Mans Post-Race Notebook
Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA
***Wayne Taylor Racing kept its 15-year streak of at least one win per season alive with a last-gasp victory by Renger van der Zande, Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay after the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque ran out of fuel on the final lap.
***The win was van der Zande’s first with the team, in what turned into a fuel mileage run for the majority of the Prototype field. “At the end, it was a very calculation kind of game on track because you want to get position but you want to save fuel, as well. That’s the game that we played and we played it very nice,” he said.
***Albuquerque said post-race it was “very hard” not to even get a podium finish, having been passed not only by Taylor but also the pair of Mazda RT24-Ps in the final corner as his Cadillac DPi stuttered on fuel. “We thought we had it, but apparently, we couldn’t catch it. One corner, that’s all it was,” he said.
***It marked the first double podium for Mazda Team Joest and the best-ever finish for the Mazda RT24-P in WeatherTech Championship competition.
***The No. 55 Mazda DPi overcame multiple setbacks, including a left-rear wheel that came off while under the race’s second full-course caution, a rear deck change in the fourth hour and a nose change with less than three hours remaining, to finish third.
***The Prototype championship-winning No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPi escaped a penalty in the second hour after contact between Eric Curran and the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 send Dillon Machavern’s No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 hard into the barriers on the front straight, in an four-wide pass attempt.
***Tequila Patron ESM was denied a likely podium result in Patron’s swansong when Pipo Derani developed a puncture on the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi and was forced to make his final full-service stop early. It resulted in a required splash of fuel with three laps to go, dropping the car to a sixth place result.
***Ryan Dalziel raised $3,825 over the weekend in the raffle for his tribute helmet to Tequila Patron, with all proceeds going to Ed Brown and his wife Ashley’s Selfless Love Foundation. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here.
***Sportscar365 understands that at least two teams have expressed interest in running the Nissan Onroak DPis next year, although deals have not yet been reached. Extreme Speed Motorsports is believed to be working on options to remain in the series as well.
***Saturday’s race saw a new event distance record of 443 laps/1,125.22 miles achieved. The 2016 race, won by the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda, held the previous record at 412 laps/1,046.48 miles. The event switched to a ten-hour format only in 2014 after previously running to 1,000 miles or ten hours.
***CORE team manager Brian Colangelo wore a dinosaur suit during Saturday’s race, which included sign board duties, as a gift from crew members due his nickname, ‘T-Rex’.
***Cadillac scored its second consecutive Prototype manufacturers’ championship, while Ford claimed its first in the GT Le Mans class, and first with the Ford GT globally, with Lamborghini picking up its maiden title in GTD, largely due to the success of Paul Miller Racing.
***Porsche claimed its 20th class victory at Petit Le Mans with its win in GTLM, extending its record among active manufacturers.
***A penalty to the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber, who was leading in class at the time, for incident responsibility following contact with the No. 71 P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, deprived Porsche of the possibility to deliver a 1-2 finish in class.
***Just making the start of the race was an achievement for the No. 912 Porsche, which crashed in warmup and only made it out on to the grid mere moments before it was closed.
***Montaplast by Land Motorsport dropped out of contention of GT Daytona class honors due to multiple punctures in the middle portions of the race, including two within a 26-minute window. It put the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS several laps behind the class leaders en route to a sixth place class finish.
***The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG-GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Luca Stolz led for significant portions but was hit with an improper waive-by penalty during the fifth caution of the race and never could recover, ultimately finishing eighth in class.
***GTD championship winners Paul Miller Racing had a good luck charm on their side from their race win at Sebring onward according to Madison Snow. “Since [Sebring] we had a little bobblehead shamrock guy that we bought at there and we’ve brought that out for every race and set it on the counter,” he told Sportscar365. “We had it out on pit lane with us today, so I guess that’s our lucky charm. We’re going to keep him around!”
***Despite initially starting the season as a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup-only entrant, the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 completed every lap of the GTD season, totaling 2,374 laps, and leading 202 of them, en route to a second place finish in the drivers’ championship for Katherine Legge.
***Wright Motorsports overcame multiple lost laps early in the race due to punctures to charge to the race lead, only to be penalized for incident responsibility in the closing stages. The penalty dropped the Robert Renauer, Patrick Long, and Christina Nielsen-driven Porsche 911 GT3 R out of contention. An impressive rally by Renauer in his final stint saw the trio salvage a fourth place class finish.
***Turner Motorsports team owner Will Turner told IMSA Radio the damage sustained by the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 in an Hour 2 crash was significant enough to cast doubt on the viability of repairing the chassis. In the interview, Turner stressed that the team would be back with a GTD entry next year.
***IMSA recognized Continental Tire for its nine-year partnership with special trophies, made out of Continental tire rubber, to Continental Tire the Americas CEO Jochen Etzel, Hoosier Racing President John DeSalle and Continental Tire director of marketing Travis Roffler, during Sunday’s WeatherTech Night of Champions at Chateau Elan.
***JDC-Miller Motorsports has confirmed a two-car entry for next month’s Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring, with Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne set to share driving duties of a Ligier JS P3 and its season-long TCR pairing of Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson in its Audi RS 3 LMS TCR car, according to team principal John Church.
***Montaplast by Land Motorsport is also expected to take part with its Audi R8 LMS in the Nov. 11 race, which is open to eligible LMP3, GT3, GT4 and TCR machinery. Sportscar365 understands the entry list is currently in the low-to-mid 20s.
***A moment of silence was observed during last week’s FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris in memory of Dr. Don Panoz, showing the level of respect Panoz had on the international motorsports community.
***Selected IMSA teams have remained at Road Atlanta for Michelin’s ‘On Track Opportunity’ on Monday, for teams and drivers to sample the manufacturer’s line of 2019 tires that will be used in the WeatherTech Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge next year.
***Audi, meanwhile, has a test at Road Atlanta on Tuesday for prospective customers of its R8 LMS GT4 car. Up to 20 drivers are expected to sample the mid-engined sports car, which claimed multiple North American championships this year in Pirelli World Challenge.
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report
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