The Belle Isle street circuit is located in the middle of the Detroit River and within view of General Motors headquarters. A GM powered race car has won every IMSA race since the series returned to the Motor City in 2007. Last year, Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr took the win in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R and were the first to celebrate by taking a dip in Scott Fountain. Nasr and new teammate Pipo Derani have a win a Sebring to their credit this year and currently lead the IMSA WeatherTech DPi points.
“The street tracks are so intense, but I love that challenge and I think is what makes IMSA such a great championship with all the different kinds of tracks we race on,” Nasr said. “Hopefully, we can go for another swim in Scott Fountain again this weekend!”
Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa won the street race in their No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R in Long Beach and also like their chances this weekend in Detroit.
“I’m looking forward to a good weekend,” Barbosa said. “We are going to be halfway through the championship after this weekend, so it is a good place for us to be going. I like the race and Filipe (Albuquerque) is strong there, too. Mid-Ohio wasn’t the best for us, but there are a lot of races remaining. We know that if we can be consistent from here, we have a chance.”
Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande come into the Motor City round third in the IMSA WeatherTech DPi point standings in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Taylor holds the distinction of being the title of the second winningest driver for the GM brand with five. Cadillac brand ambassador Johnny O’Connell is first with six wins under the GM banner in Detroit.
“I always look forward to going to back to Detroit,” Taylor said. “I think no matter the event, if you’ve had success there in the past, it feels good to go back. Our team has a great history there and also at Long Beach, which is also a 100-minute street course race. It’s the type of event that caters to our team. You have to come in with good preparation, as there is not much practice time, and then you have to execute on all levels to have a good result. Since it is such a compact weekend, any little mistake or weakness shows up.”
Tristan Vautier and Misha Goikhberg in the No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R JDC-Miler entry are looking for a good weekend on the island.
“I have a lot of laps on the Belle Isle circuit,” Vautier said. “Indy Lights 2012, IndyCar 2013, IndyCar 2015 (fourth-place finish), IMSA 2017 GTD and last year with in the Spirit of Daytona Cadillac. Detroit is extremely bumpy and has a very unique track surface. The main challenges will be good damping to be strong over the bumps, and being able to get the tires to work well on that particular track surface. The Cadillac performs well in medium and high-speed corners as it usually does. Detroit is pretty twisty with only one long straight, and has a lot of those, so let’s hope it plays in our favor!”
In the JDC-Miler Motorsports No. 84 Cadillac DPi-V.R Stephen Simpson and Simon Trummer are ready to run on the closed confines of the Motor City circuit.
“This will be my fifth start at Belle Isle and I’ve had a best finish of second,” Simpson said. “I really enjoy the weekend and the track, it’s a street track which does provide some overtaking opportunities, but is very narrow and challenging in areas as well. We will need to unload with a good car. There isn’t enough practice time to really find a good set-up. Traffic management will be key to a good race as well. I think our Cadillac DPi will really excel in the right twist corners which is really the second half of the lap and also over the bumps as our Cadillac is great over the bumps!”
Will Owen welcomes a new teammate to the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R seat in Victor Fanzoni. Franzoni is currently running in Indy Lights with Juncos making Detroit his first start in the top rung of the IMSA WeatherTech series this weekend.
“I’m super excited to be back with Juncos Racing and be a part of their Cadillac DPi-V.R program,” Franzoni said. “I’ve been racing with the team for a few years now, we have built a great chemistry and produced great results. I am looking forward to working with Will Owen since he has a lot of experience with this type of car, and this will be my first time in this type of car. We will work hard and look for a great result in Detroit.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Cadillac/Richard Prince