Four Cadillac teams, six cars, will compete in the season-ending round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the running of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, October 10-12.
Whelen Engineering Cadillac have a chance at the DPi championship
Konica Minolta Cadillac and Whelen Engineering Cadillac in hunt for Endurance Cup
Pigot in for Juncos Cadillac
Cadillac DPi-V.R gets 15 kg. (33 lbs.) lighter for last race
Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr have a chance of winning the IMSA WeatherTech DPi Championship in their No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R this weekend. The No. 6 Acura would have to finish ninth or worse with Derani and Nasr winning for the duo to take top honours as they trail by 12 points heading to Georgia.
Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, lead the competition for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Championship on the strength of their season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona win. There are still three Michelin Endurance Cup scoring segments to go at Motul Petit Le Mans – after four and eight hours as well as the finish – with a maximum of 15 points and a minimum of six points available for all starters. As a result, there are still many racing scenarios to play out that would give either the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac or No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac teams the 2019 endurance title.
Derani and Nasr are rejoined at Petit by endurance teammate Eric Curran in the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R as they go for the championship this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to Michelin Raceway and getting back into our endurance race mode for the final race of the season,” Nasr said. “Michelin Raceway is a wild track and one of the classic endurance races on the calendar. I really enjoy driving through those eesses, it is just an iconic track. It will be great to have Eric (Curran) back with us, I think we are a very good combination with our experience and speed. The aim is to be able to fight for victory. All I want to do is get in the car and maximize the race and get that victory to close the year on a high. I’ve been to the shop (last week) and I can see everyone is pumped up and really prepared for this. There are two titles on the line, and the endurance championship is something that is pretty special for Action Express so we want to bring it home. Everyone is hungry for the victory that we’ve been fighting so hard for all year long since Sebring.”
Renger Van Der Zande and Jordan Taylor bring back Matthieu Vaxiviere in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R as they battle for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup at Michelin Raceway. The team leads the Endurance Cup standings, but a lot can change over 10 hours of racing on Saturday.
“I’m very excited to be back at Michelin Raceway this week for the Petit Le Mans,” Taylor said. “It’s one of my favorite races on the calendar. Renger will be with me, of course, as my teammate, and we’ll have our third driver back, Matthieu Vaxiviere from France. Obviously, we won the race last year with a very exciting finish. Hopefully we can compete for the win again and close out the Endurance Cup.
“Unfortunately, this year we aren’t racing for the overall championship, but we’ll be racing for the Michelin Endurance Cup. We’ve never won that championship. In 2017, we won both Daytona and Sebring, but we had bad rounds at Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. So, hopefully we can have a good weekend here and wrap up the Endurance Cup. We have a small B.o.P. break coming into the race this week – a little bit of weight off, about 15 kilos. So that should help around Road Atlanta. Every year we go there with the Cadillac, we’re competitive. The end of Petit Le Mans last year was crazy exciting. I remember sitting in the pit stand waiting for it to finish. It turned into a fuel-mileage race and we were just telling Renger to save fuel and the race would eventually come to us. It came later than we expected so we stressed a lot more but, thankfully when we got to turn 10A and 10B on the last lap, we were able to make the pass for the lead and win our second Petit Le Mans.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R with Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque bring back Mike Conway to try and add a second win on the season (first at Long Beach) in Saturday’s 10-hour race.
“I’ve led Petit Le Mans for the last two years with five minutes to go, but I’ve never won the race,” Albuquerque said. “I feel strong at Michelin Raceway, it’s one of the best races of the year for me. Going through traffic there is amazing. We have nothing to fight for in terms of championships, so we will take high risks. With Joao and having Mike back with us I think we have a good chance.”
The No. 84 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R Chris Miller comes back to help Simon Trummer and Stephen Simpson on the weekend.
“This will be my fifth Petit Le Mans,” Simpson said. “Four of my five starts have been with JDC-Miller and my first Petit was in an LMP1 car in 2008. I have had one podium finish. We will need to have a consistent set-up and not drop much lap time as the tires wear. Turns 1, 3, 5 are key corners on the track. With the tough competition this year, we will have to have a strong and importantly trouble-free race to be at the front by the end. We had a very good test for the team. We definitely feel we got a head start on the weekend. Temperatures seem like they will be down from the test, but that should be a good thing.”
Misha Goikhberg and Tristan Vautier have Juan Piedrahita coming to Michelin Raceway to be the third in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“I’ve raced at Michelin Raceway many times from my Star Mazda days in 2010, to a GTD Mercedes and last year when I drove the Mustang Sampling Cadillac, where we missed the win by one corner, running out of fuel in the last chicane,” Vautier said. “You need to be very good in the medium-high speed corners as there are lots of them, but at the same time the main passing zone is the back straight, so having good traction coming out of Turn 7, which leads onto it, is very important. As for many tracks, it’s a compromise to be good enough in every section and not have a weak spot. Being able to test was good to come up with what we believe is a good baseline set-up when we unload. We ran through different set-up combinations and kept learning about the car, as it remains our first year with it. Just like when we tested at Road America, I think we learned more and made some steps forward.”
The No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R will be driven by Will Owen, Rene Binder and IndyCar ace Spencer Pigot.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Juncos Racing again, this time for Petit Le Mans,” Pigot said. “We’ve had success together in different championships and I hope we can continue that in IMSA. It will be my first time driving a Cadillac DPi-V.R so there will be a lot to get used to in a short amount of time but I’m confident the team and my teammates will help that transition. Petit Le Mans is one of my favorite events of the year and a great way to finish off the season.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing