Cadillac’s four DPi-V.R prototype race cars kicked-off the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season by running laps at the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
The four Cadillac DPi-V.R cars and 15 drivers turned maximum laps during the three days of running. The three teams and drivers also had to navigate some warm and cooler conditions with temperatures in the 80s and down to the low 40s.
Felipe Nasr, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, posted the fastest lap among the Cadillac foursome with a time of 1:33.652 around the 3.56-mile speedway road course at the World Center of Racing in “garage qualifying” today. The time was good for fourth place in the DPi class which gives the team fourth choice for pit lane positions for the 24 at the end of the month.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team returns Nasr and Pipo Derani, 2019 IMSA DPi Endurance Champions, for the 2020 season. They are joined by Mike Conway and Filipe Albuquerque for the Rolex 24.
“The weekend is going great with the 31 Whelen Cadillac team,” Derani said. “It is always good to see everyone and the fans. We have been going through our program this weekend. We wanted to give our best to get a good pit garage for the race and I think we did that today. We are the fastest Cadillac, so that is a positive for the team. The Whelen guys have worked well together for a few years now and I am ready to start the new season.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, now being run by JDC-Miller Motorsports, has Joao Barbosa and IndyCar Champion Sebastian Bourdais competing for the full season. They are joined by Loic Duval for the 24 to run January 25-26.
“It is discovery time for me,” Bourdais said. “It is a new car, a new team and a new situation. I am reuniting with Joao and I have worked with some of the team before. I have always come here as the third member of the team, third wheel. Now with running the season I need to be more of a leader. We have a little late start, but obviously we are in the thick of it now. The Cadillac is quite exciting to drive here, it really moves. A big change from driving in the GT class. It is a good atmosphere with the team. We are getting to know each other and making the most of it.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R returns Renger Van Der Zande, but this year he will be joined by Ryan Briscoe for the season. Team owner Wayne Taylor has sent son Jordan Taylor onto to the Corvette C8.R program. Returning for the 24 is Kamui Kobayashi and a new addition is IndyCar driver Scott Dixon to round out the team for the 24.
“We’ve had a fantastic test weekend here at the Roar Before the 24 and I’m feeling really comfortable in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac,” Briscoe said. “I got a lot of track time which has been really good for me to get up to speed. The car feels awesome and I felt like the lap times were very competitive. We did a lot of set-up work and were also able to get used to the new 2020 Michelin tire. The most important aspect has been getting the miles in this weekend with the new driver line-up. All in all, it’s been a very good test weekend and I’m really excited for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a few weeks.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R will be driven by Juan Piedrahita, Matheus Leist, Chris Miller, and Tristan Vautier this month. Piedrahita will be in the car for most of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship season with co-drivers to be announced.
“I think it went better than we expected here this weekend,” Piedrahita said. “The Cadillac DPi-V.R is freaking amazing! It is unbelievable. The team has made a big jump since last year. Tristan was fast in this morning’s practice, so we have a good baseline. I like driving with Matheus and Chris and Tristan, so hopefully we will be able to keep it up for the race at the end of the month.”
Congratulations to former Cadillac driver and Mustang Sampling team ambassador Christian Fittipaldi who will be the Grand Marshall for the 58th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona.
2020 Cadillac Racing IMSA WeatherTech teams and drivers:
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R
Felipe Nasr (BRA)
Pipo Derani (BRA)
Filipe Albuquerque (PRT), Daytona
Mike Conway (GBR), Daytona
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R
Ryan Briscoe (AUS)
Renger Van Der Zande (NLD)
Scott Dixon (NZL), Daytona
Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Daytona
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R
Joao Barbosa (PRT)
Sebastian Bourdais (FRA)
Loic Duval (FRA), Daytona
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R
Juan Piedrahita (COL)
Matheus Leist (BRA), Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta
Chris Miller (USA), Daytona
Tristan Vautier (FRA), Daytona
The teams will return to Daytona in three weeks for the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona to run January 24-26.
Source. Kyle Chura/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac