The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is heading west to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship to run October 30 – November 1.
Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Van Der Zande and Briscoe lead points
Whelen Engineering Cadillac driver Derani third in points
Mustang Sampling Cadillac driver Bourdais has a chance in fourth
Cadillac leads manufacturer championship
Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe lead the DPi points championship (215 points) with Whelen Engineering Cadillac’s Pipo Derani third (203). Cadillac leads the manufacturer championship with two races left on the IMSA WeatherTech schedule.
Coming off of a win at Petit Le Mans nine days ago, the Konica Minolta Cadillac team is poised to have a strong run at the 2.2-mile, 11-turn WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca known for its downhill Corkscrew turn. In the three previous years of the IMSA DPi era at the west coast track, the Cadillac DPi-V.R has yet to win at the circuit located just over the hill from Monterey Bay.
“We are going into the last two races with a big point lead, which we want to keep,” Van Der Zande said. “Laguna Seca and Sebring have always been big races for Wayne Taylor Racing, so hopefully will be again this year. I believe we have a good shot at doing well this weekend all that matters is scoring podiums or wins. I will give it 110 percent to win those races and the championship.”
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani have special motivation for this weekend. The team was in the lead with just less than an hour to go at Petit when Derani was hit by the Acura and ruined what looked like a win. The team is focused to get Derani back into in the points lead. He is currently third with 203 points.
“We are going into the next two races with no pressure just focused on winning both races,” Derani said. “I would rather be leading the championship then chasing others who are. We have been aggressive in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. Because [per the BoP balance of performance] we have slower pit stops than the competition. We have to be a little more aggressive to make up that time. It has worked out for us so far. We are going to give 110 percent to win every race. We hope by the end of Sebring we can overcome the 12-point deficit.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team of Tristan Vautier and Sebastien Bourdais are hungry to get back on the podium. They narrowly missed it at Petit with a fourth-place run. The French duo still have a chance at the championship for Bourdais who is fourth in DPi points with 199.
“Really looking forward to this weekend,” Vautier said. “As a European driver, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is one of those tracks you look forward to driving. Every time I go back there it is special. We are still in the hunt for the championship, so we are motivated. It is a low grip track and in October the weather can be a challenge too with the fog. It will be short track time before qualifying and the race, so we will have to unload with a good set-up. The JDC-Miller Motorsports team will be ready.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R will have Stephen Simpson and and Matheus Leist in the car for this weekend.
“A good mechanical balance and speed over one lap will be very important this weekend,” Simpson said. “ WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is a difficult track due to its low grip nature and overtaking is tough, so qualifying well and good strategy will be extra important. With the low-grip nature of the track the cars will be sliding around a lot and wearing the tires quicker than normal, so figuring out how to look after our tires will be key.
“My first race at Laguna Seca was back in 2006 when I raced in the A1 Grand Prix Series. It rained all weekend and was freezing cold. There was actually snow in the paddock in areas that got no sun. It’s probably the only time it’s snowed at Laguna over a race weekend since!”
Cadillac WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Driver Line-up:
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Sebastien Bourdais and Tristan Vautier
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Stephen Simpson and Matheus Leist
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/. Photo. Richard Prince