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Cadillac V-Performance Racing team Mustang Sampling Cadillac with drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi won the 56th running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona today. The win is the second in as many years for the Cadillac brand. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac team finished second.

Second Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona Cadillac overall win, first 2017
The Mustang Sampling Cadillac team set a new race distance record by completing 808 laps, old record 762 (1992)
Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R finished second, both cars are fielded by Action Express Racing

In the fastest Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona race ever run, thanks to just four full course caution periods, the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R covered 2,876 miles on its way to victory lane at the World Center of Racing. The twice around the clock race was no drive on the beach. The team and drivers had to manage the car the entire race distance with changing conditions around the 3.56-mile modified oval at Daytona International Speedway. To win, they had to overcome flat tires, a spell of rain and some increased temperature in the Cadillac V-8 engine to claim the coveted winners Rolex watches.

The drivers of the Whelen Engineering DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Mike Conway, and Stuart Middleton also had to deal with a rash of tire issues that affected several prototype competitors. They were engaged in quite a battle over the last two hours with the No. 54 Core prototype that had them swapping the lead on pit stops. At the checker, Middleton drove the Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R across the finish line to claim the second step on the podium.

The Konica Minolta Cadillac and Spirit of Daytona Cadillac teams had a tough start to the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season.

The Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R suffered several tire issues which, just before midnight, caused the team to pull it into the garage to replace the radiator. The team continued, but following another issue, team owner Wayne Taylor decided to withdrawal the car for safety reasons at 8 a.m. The pole-sitting car was credited with 555 laps for drivers Jordan Taylor, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The Spirit of Daytona Cadillac team were running solidly in the top 10 all race. Tristan Nunez brought the Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R to the garage at 11:35 p.m. last night with an engine misfire that couldn’t be repaired at the track and retired from the race. Nunez, Matt McMurry and Eddie Cheever III completed 530 laps.

Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac President:
“After a triumphant return last year to endurance racing, Cadillac came into the 2018 season looking to build upon our 2017 Manufacturer’s Championship. We expected formidable opposition from the world-class competitive field, and this was precisely what the season opener at Daytona has delivered. Victory at this renowned race requires speed, reliability and hard work, and the professionalism of all our teams who competed in this year’s Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona was on display this weekend. ”

Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain:
“After a memorable 2017 season, it is great to have the Cadillac DPI-V.R. win the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the second consecutive year. Congratulations to Joao, Filipe and Christian on their outstanding drive.

“Action Express demonstrated strong race strategy and great team work. It was good to see the team deliver a one two finish at one of the most challenging races of the year.

“I am really proud of the team work between the Cadillac Racing engineers, ECR and the Action Express staff. What an exciting way to start the 2018 IMSA Prototype season.”

Filipe Albuquerque, No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“I was looking all the time to the water temperature and oil temperature and it is flashing on and off at the same time. I am seeing the 31 and the 54 gaining laps and laps and I had to overtake the GT cars at the same time. It was really hard to manage. When you have to back-off, it takes heat out of the brakes and you get pick-up on the tires. I started hearing every little thing with the car. In the end, the Cadillac engine behaved very well and was able to handle the high temperatures for the win.”

Joao Barbosa, No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“It was not just the last hour, but the last six hours that we had to manage a lot of things inside the car. The team did a tremendous job to manage things outside of the car. It is easier to really push than to drive slow and manage your pace. The Cadillac ran well and we made it to the finish. The team did a flawless job. With last year’s disappointment, we finally got one!”

Christian Fittipaldi, No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“At this stage of my racing career this win is very sweet. I am not sure how many more of these Daytona races I have left, not like Filipe who probably has 15 more years and tries. It is unbelievably sweet after what happened last year. We have been racing together for the last three seasons. I want to thank Action Express, Cadillac and Mustang Sampling. The team prepared a great a car and we delivered on the track.”

Felipe Nasr, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“The start was pretty good for us. The opening lap I went from seventh to third, which showed the pace of our Cadillac. The Whelen Cadillac was strong from the beginning. We had the pace to be upfront most of the race. We led a lot during the 24 hours. We had to deal with some overheating. Every time just trying to minimize the affects and keep it out of the garage. There were not many yellow flags to recover laps, which made our life very difficult. A one-two finish is a great result. I am pleased with my first race with the team.”

Eric Curran, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“Overall the Whelen Cadillac was strong all race long. The team performed great in the pits. We were there, at the top. Everyone of us had a chance to lead. We just had some small issues. I was leading and we lost a brake light. We had to come in and fix it. Then, we had some overheating issues, had to come in again. For the team, a great one-two finish. It would have been nice to leave with a watch, but it is a great start to the season.”

Mike Conway, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“The team gave us a car that had the chance to win, which is all you can ask for as a driver. Compared to last year the competition was big. It was non-stop action. Even a car 10 laps down is tough to get by as they are close in lap times. With Felipe, Eric and Stuart they all did a great job. A great day to be a part of a one-two finish with the season.”

Stuart Middleton, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“My first time in a prototype race was fantastic. I did long stints, I was still learning the Cadillac over my time in the car. I am very happy with the result. My first time driving a prototype in a 24-hour race to come second is great. I am very thankful to the team and Sunoco for making possible.”

Jordan Taylor, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“It was out of our control. All of our guys did what they needed to. We did everything well within the parameters of what was recommended by everyone. We had a good car, there wasn’t anything different from last year, so there was no logical explanation for everything that happened. Drivers weren’t doing anything unusual, we weren’t hitting curbs in the Bus Stop. To leave here with this much damage, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, which we obviously didn’t plan for and was happening out of our control. I think we can be angry and disappointed for good reason, but we’re also working with all the parties involved to find some good answers.”

Renger Van Der Zande, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“It turned out to be a rough ride. I think I had four or five issues with the right rear tire, so something was happening where we were touching the curb or there was something on the road happening with the right rear that wasn’t right. I guess we’ll be looking into that because that’s not good. It put us out of contention for the win early in the race and then it eventually forced us out of the race. It leaves us with a tough mountain to climb in the points, but if ever there was a team capable of climbing that mountain, it’s this one. On to Sebring we go.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“Unfortunate circumstance to retire from the race with such a strong car. We obviously had the pace to be right there to be challenging the lead cars, but we had some unfortunate situations where we lost tires and we’ll look into it and get to the bottom of it to make sure we don’t have a recurrence of it in the future. But it was just an outstanding effort by this entire team to make sure all variables are within our control. Certainly, it would’ve been a very positive race result for this team, but such is life and that is racing and we’ll move onto the Twelve Hours of Sebring. I’m really looking forward to continuing with this team. I had a great time with this whole squad, especially Jordan and Renger.”

Troy Flis, Team Owner, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“You just hate to not make it to the finish of this race, and we’ve been so fortunate the last five years to have top fives and podiums, so this was a tough one. But, I’m really, really proud of the effort that this team put in for us to be ready to go. We had great pace, our drivers did an outstanding job, and we just got caught out by this mechanical snag that ended things early. So, it is disappointing but we’ve got a lot to be really excited about with our program and hopefully we can bounce back at Sebring.”

Tristan Vautier, team owner, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“It is a shame when it is over with 15 hours left. There are a lot of positives. We drove hard and showed some good speed all week in the Spirit of Daytona Cadillac. It was good to make a challenge this week. Everyone did a good job, just bad luck. Nothing we really could control. I had a lot of fun, I really enjoyed driving the Cadillac. There are so many strong teams, it is good proper racing and it showed this (IMSA) is the place to be.”

Matt McMurry, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“The team did everything they could. The Cadillac was set-up great. I could just push and I had a good fight with (Ryan) Hunter-Reay and some other strong guys. So that was encouraging but of course to stop early is very disappointing. We will get everything sorted and plan to have a good Sebring.”

Eddie Cheever III, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R:
“The whole weekend, except for the end, was really high potential. The team did so well, given that they only got the car a month ago. I give them a lot of credit. My teammates did a great job as well, so it was very promising at the outset. My stint was good until it started raining – I had no radio so that was a little bit of a panic, so I just focused on staying out of trouble. This was my first time racing here and it would have been very easy to make a mistake. The car is very reliable, so it’s really a shame that this happened, we could have been right up there. I only had the one stint, and I’m still learning, so I can’t wait to get back in the car!”

Up next for the Cadillac DPi-V.R foursome is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to run March 17 at Sebring International Raceway.

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Cadillac/Richard Prince.


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