Cadillac V-Performance Racing team Whelen Engineering Cadillac finished third in today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America. The Konica Minolta Cadillac was fourth with the Mustang Sampling Cadillac coming to the checker in seventh.
The move of the race came early by the No. 31 Whelen Engineering DPi-V.R team just before the second caution of the race flew. They were able to get into pit lane transition from Eric Curran, who started, to Felipe Nasr and go from sixth place to the lead before the pits closed. Then, 20-minutes later, Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R passed for second to trail his teammate making it a Cadillac one-two. The last 90 minutes of the race had the team strategist wearing out their laptops. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac led laps in the last hour hoping for a late race caution that didn’t come. The Cadillac teams were forced to pit late for a splash of fuel giving up track position. When the checker flew the top running Cadillac was the red Whelen Engineering car finishing in third.
“It was a lot of hard work done by all of the Whelen Engineering boys,” said Nasr. “Eric (Curran) had a fantastic start and made up positions quickly. Unfortunately, he got hit in the back which caused us to lose a piece of the car. The damage was pretty big so we lost the rear tires very quickly and it was all about changing the driving style, and it worked! We knew the problem and had to face it so we could make the best out of it. At some point we were looking good to win the race but it was a good points day and another podium which makes two in a row. I am super proud of all my Whelen guys and Eric. It was a good day!”
“We will take it,” Curran said. “It looked like there could be a victory there today, but we will take a third-place finish in the Whelen Cadillac. It was a crazy race with a crazy start. We got tangled up and lost a part of the rear wing which caused us to lose downforce in the back which we fought all race long. My teammate (Felipe Nasr) did a killer job again today and ended up third. It was great points day and this Whelen Cadillac keeps winning podiums. The crew guys also nail the pit stops so it was good team work all day. It would have been nice to win but we will take third.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team took a gamble to get Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande track position that just didn’t work out in the end for a podium spot.
“It was an up-and-down day,” Taylor said. “Renger had a strong start and we were running third. And then a couple yellows threw the race into a twist, strategy-wise and some guys were able to take advantage of that and get ahead of us. We were sixth for the whole middle section and once we got to the last hour, hour and a half, it was all about strategy since we were kind of mid-pack. So, it was either risking to go for the win, or risking to stay where we were. We went aggressive to go for the win, beat a yellow, and then basically called as good a strategy as we could’ve from that point of view. We ended up fourth and a couple of cars that finished ahead of us ran out of fuel right after they took the checker, so it could’ve been as high as maybe second. Another top-five is OK, but a win would’ve been nice.”
Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque brought the Mustang Sampling Cadillac home in seventh.
“It felt really good to be back,” Barbosa said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the comeback we were hoping for. The potential was absolutely there. We had such a strong race car but it just didn’t play out. It was a great effort by everyone. Some of the luck was on our side and some of it wasn’t but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s frustrating after having the pace we had during the race and being strong. We were really good for such a long time and then one of the yellows came at the wrong time which helped others while hurting us. The end result is disappointing and causes us to fall back a bit in championship points but we still have two races to go. Like today, IMSA has some very exciting racing where anything can happen, so it’s a long way to go.”
The penultimate round for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype cars will be the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix of Featuring America’s Tire 250 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing