The Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr finished second in today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sportscar Challenge Presented by the TLX Type S at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course.
The Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course is known for being tight and favoring light weight cars. Today’s race was a lesson in fuel saving strategy and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R team showed their engineering prowess by finishing second today.
The race witnessed only one full course caution period, which made for a torrid pace over the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute run time. Felipe Nasr was the closing driver in the red Whelen Engineering Cadillac and had to manage the fuel economy of the V8 powered car over the last stint. The Action Express Team was wearing out their calculators by constantly giving the Brazilian driver the necessary information to maintain a gap to third while still trying to go for the win. In the end, second was the result giving Nasr, Derani, and the team their best finish of the year.
“That was the name of the game – saving fuel,” Nasr said. “I have to credit Whelen Engineering Racing. They did an awesome job on strategy – especially on getting clear track and having enough fuel to go to the end. But, I have to say it was a little too extreme. That made me lose that position. We wanted to win that race. It was hard to do everything at the same time – save fuel, keep temperature in the tires. We knew the Acuras had a little more in their two tanks. So, they had a margin to play [with]. Whereas we were on the extreme limit. I think I saved the most fuel I ever have in a race. I’m happy and sad at the same time because once you feel you can grab the win and then let it go. It’s hard. But, that’s racing. We made the most of what we had. We came away with a lot of points, which are needed in the Championship. We haven’t been up on the podium yet this year. It’s a nice way to get things moving again.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval came to the checker in fourth. Like the 31, the JDC-Miller Motorsports managed team did not have to splash for fuel and made the most of the day with a fourth-place finish.
“Our pace was ok, but we were struggling a little bit on starts and restarts on cold tires,” Vautier said. “It was a very fun first stint for me battling with the Wayne Taylor car. In the end it was all about who could make it to the finish line. We managed to salvage a decent result with good fuel saving by the team and Loic. We wanted better, but fourth place is good points and we made the most of the race in the end.”
Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande drove to a fifth-place finish. The team had to overcome a start penalty when Magnussen pulled out of line before crossing the start stripe. As the race progressed the team was running strong in the top four. With just five-minutes remaining van der Zande was forced to pit for a splash of fuel sealing a top five finish.
“Basically, we went swimming across the river, made it halfway, and we had to go back [referring to the splash of fuel at the end],” van der Zande said. “The car was much better in the race than qualifying. The team did a great job getting the 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac good for the race. I made some cool moves getting by the Acura and the 5 Cadillac. We learned a lot about what the car needs on a low grip track and we will take the forward.”
Cadillac IMSA Mid-Ohio results:
2. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
4. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval
5. No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Kevin Magnussen
The teams will travel to the Motor City and the temporary road course on Belle Isle for the Detroit Grand Prix, June 11-12.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac Racing