Cadillac V-Performance racing team Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen today. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R came back to finish sixth and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R finished seventh. The win makes it six in a row for Cadillac in IMSA DPi prototype competition.
At the drop of the green flag, the battle in the prototype category was fast and furious. Ricky Taylor in the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, undefeated in five races coming into The Glen, got pushed wide in Turn 1 and had contact coming up through the fast esses. The resulting contact caused steering damage to the Cadillac. Taylor had to short the track, not taking The Boot section of the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit to get the car to pit lane for repairs. The resulting repairs sent the team down six laps.
As the race progressed, Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R moved into second place at the one-hour mark. He was followed closely by this teammate Eric Curran in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R in third. At just under two-hours, the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R assumed the lead of the race when the leading ESM prototype hit the wall bringing out the races first full course caution. As the prototype teams made their pit stops, Dane Cameron’s Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R beat Filipe Albuquerque, in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, out of the pits and took the lead.
Following a pit stop, during the races second full course caution period, the Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R exited the pits and the right rear tire came loose stranding the red Cadillac on the track putting the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R firmly in the lead.
With 35-minutes remaining, another full course caution flew. Barbosa was at the wheel of the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R and he was passed on the restart by the No. 85 Oreca for the lead with a half hour left. Negotiating the traffic the Brazilian was able to pass the 85 car into Turn 1 with nine minutes to go for the win.
“It was really tough,” Barbosa said. “Simpson in the 52 did a great job. They were stronger on the bottom end, exiting the corners. Once my tires came in on that last stint, I was on the pace. I was waiting for the traffic. Once we hit traffic, I knew we had a shot. I had a good run on him going into Turn 1. We touched side-to-side, but that is racing. He raced me clean. I have a lot of respect for him. I hope to have a few more races like this to the end of the year. This is one of my favorite race tracks in the world. The grip was really good. The team worked really hard since the last race on the car. We are feeling more connected with the Cadillac and it is great to win here today.”
“I can’t explain how happy I am,” Fittipaldi said. “We ran well here today and, more than that, we won here three years in five. We by no means were the fastest car this weekend. It was like last year, race craft, race craft. The team had great strategy and we put together strong pit stops and we didn’t take any risks. When we needed to perform, we did during the race. Joao pulled the move of the race at the end to get the win. In five years, we have won here three times. Our team has a great record at Watkins Glen. Today was awesome.”
“This was a weird race for me,” Albuquerque said. “During my stint, I went to the race lead in the No. 31 Mustang Sampling Cadillac then Joao had a good gap and I saw Simpson in the 85 car behind him. Then, I had to jump in and drive the team’s Whelen Engineering Cadillac to do some laps. I had to do the job for the 31 and I told the engineer to keep me posted on the No. 5 car. He was telling me he was P1 and then P2 and then P1 again. I am very happy. We have had two second positions at Daytona and Sebring. Getting the win is great. I think we turned the page for the team and we will go on and fight for the endurance championship.”
The contact on lap one had the Konica Minolta Cadillac team fighting back all day. The team that has won the first five race of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship season will try to start another streak next week in Canada.
“It was really frustrating,” Ricky Taylor said. “I was just trying to get around the 5 – he had a bit of a bad start – and made my way up along the side of the 52 just to make sure I could get a good run out of Turn 1. I was alongside (the 52) and had the car to where we were going to touch. It was only going to be a rub. But it looked like he kind of shot up into me, maybe he had a moment there just past the apex, and kind of shot up into me and just got me in the (right-front) wheel. Normally, I don’t think that would’ve broken anything, but it broke the right-front toe link and I really couldn’t turn left. I feel bad if I got in anybody’s way after that. I was going as fast as I could and I didn’t know I wasn’t going to be able to turn left until I turned in. I was already committed and almost gave the 90 car another bad weekend. But, the Konica Minolta boys got it all back together, took their time to make sure everything was right. We were a little too far down to make the laps back. We salvaged some points. I am excited to get to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in five days and put this behind us.”
“Obviously, it was a disappointing day,” Jordan Taylor said. “But I think from the lap-one incident – it wasn’t Ricky’s fault going to the outside, he always makes moves at the start to make up positions. The 52 car had a moment and touched us, which caused the damage. From there, it was damage control. The guys made the fix as fast as possible. We fixed both front and rear and went six laps down. From then on it was running our own race and trying to make up laps when yellows came out. With strategy, we were able to get three of those back. With a few more yellows, we maybe could’ve made all of them back, which was a testament to the guys on the strategy side with saving fuel and timing our pit stops. So, from going from last to sixth due to other guys having reliability issues and making mistakes isn’t the worst day. I think we salvaged good points considering how we started and I think we can look to Canadian Tire Motorsport Car still with a healthy lead with 20 points and basically continue running our championship there and continue running for more race wins.”
Curran and Cameron were on the pace and led laps today in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac, but the loose wheel thwarted their run at the top.
“It is has been a year of should’ve, could’ve, would have’s, but those don’t equal points and race wins,” Cameron said “We had a pretty quick car. We worked on it all week. In the race, we had a good car like at Detroit. The 5 won today so that shows team progress. It is disappointing to have one slip away when we were close. We have been competitive the last couple of races and I think we can continue that trend for the last four races, which is encouraging.”
“It is too bad we just can’t catch a break so far this season,” Curran said. “We were there as fast as anyone else today in our Whelen Engineering Cadillac. The car is a lot better in the race than we had it in qualifying, so it’s a shame to not be able to turn that into big result. Just wasn’t our day today, but hopefully we can turn it around at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next weekend.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing