Cadillac V-Performance Racing teams Mustang Sampling Cadillac, Whelen Engineering Cadillac and Konica Minolta Cadillac are headed to Detroit for the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, June 1-2.
– Mustang Sampling Cadillac leads the prototype points
– Konica Minolta Cadillac are the defending Detroit race winners
– Spirit of Daytona Cadillac is back
Coming into the Motor City, Cadillac teams hold down the top three positions in the IMSA Prototype Championship standings with Mustang Sampling Cadillac leading with 119 points, followed by Whelen Engineering Cadillac with 109 and Konica Minolta Cadillac, third with 104.
The Konica Minolta Cadillac team won at the 2.35-mile, 14 turn concrete lined temporary street course that tours Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River and is within rev distance of GM World Headquarters in mid-town. The race on the island circuit will, like Long Beach, be reduced to 100-minutes. The teams will have to focus on track position as well as having a strong qualifying effort.
Drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande will be looking for another team win in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. The team has won four of the last five races in Detroit.
“I’m excited to get back on track in Detroit,” Taylor said. “We have an incredible record there as a team, so I like our chances heading back. The guys really have a good handle on these 100-minute sprint races. It really puts the pressure on everyone on the team to execute, there’s no room for any mistakes, and our guys have done hay every year in Detroit. There are some similarities with Detroit and say Long Beach but overall, it’s a much different animal. Detroit is unique for a street course because it has some properly quick corners. There are lots of different surfaces and bump patterns, so it makes it a tough place to both put a lap together and setup a car.”
“I’ve won at Detroit in 2016 and I always felt the Detroit track developed a lot during the weekend,” Van Der Zande said. “It’s about keeping patience as a driver and, set-up wise, gambling a little towards the end of the race, to have a good car for the finish. The big difference among other street races is the fact that the Detroit track is a little bumpy. Also, the grip level is a little different, and, of course, we are in GM’s home city!”
In the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac drivers Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque are poised for another strong run at a closed street course, having won on the streets of Long Beach in April. For Albuquerque it will be his first laps around the island circuit this weekend.
“Detroit is a fun place to race,” Barbosa said. “The Mustang Sampling Cadillac group has done a tremendous job so far. We had a great car and great result in Long Beach which is very similar to this track, so we are looking forward to racing in Detroit. Street courses are always really demanding. The best way to protect our lead in the championship is to come here and win the race. With all the support of Cadillac and Mustang Sampling, that’s what we are going to try and do.”
“I have some experience in street circuits and I really enjoy them,” Albuquerque said. “I like the feeling that you can’t ever relax. Definitely, our Long Beach win gives us optimism for Detroit. I raced in Monaco several years ago and I really enjoyed Long Beach. I know I have a good teammate, a good team and a car to win. The competition is hard, but if everything goes according to our plan we know we can be competitive.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team has winning history on the island, taking a win there in 2015. The duo of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr hope to get to victory lane again, this time in their red Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. For Nasr Belle Isle will be another new circuit to learn.
“Detroit in 2015 was kind of our breakthrough weekend, and it was so big to go get that first Prototype win for Whelen, so we’d love to go back and have that kind of day on Saturday,” Curran said. “There is such great support there with so many key people from GM-it is a good place to do well! And the track is one that I enjoy-its challenging with the different surfaces, and of course lined with walls just like Long Beach. But it is a rewarding place to do well and we’ve been quick there with both team cars through the years. Hopefully we can have a big weekend and go out and score a win with Felipe.”
“I really enjoy the street circuits-they are an important part of the mix for any major championship,” Nasr said. “Doing well on tracks like this is a good test to be a complete driver. I haven’t been to Detroit, but from what I’ve been studying it looks like it has similar characteristics to Long Beach. I know that the team has a great record there, so hopefully that’s something Eric and I can continue this weekend. We’ve been close a couple of times to getting a win but have just missed out-hopefully this will be our weekend.”
The Spirit of Daytona team with their No. 90 Cadillac DPi-V.R and drivers Matt McMurry and Tristan Vautier are returning to action since their last outing at Sebring in March.
“I raced there in Indy Lights in 2012, and in IndyCar in 2013 and 2015, finished fourth that year,” Vautier said. “The wait has been feeling like forever! Really looking forward to being back, and very focused to bring the team a strong result, especially for GM’s home race! We will have to have perfect execution to be successful this weekend. The race is so short, there is zero room for mistakes, because you have no time to recover.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will travel to Detroit, for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, June 1-2.
Source. Kyle Chura