The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is heading to Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park, June 11-12.
The Belle Isle street circuit is located in the middle of the Detroit River and within view of General Motors headquarters. The 100-minute sprint race will test drivers, teams, and strategists this weekend.
Cadillac won the first two IMSA DPi races at Detroit (2017, 2018) with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R taking the win in 2018. Felipe Nasr was in the car for that race, together with teammate Pipo Derani they are poised to carry a second-place finish in last month’s Mid-Ohio race one step further this weekend on the island circuit in the Motor City.
“Detroit has a special place in my heart,” Nasr said. “It’s where I got my very first IMSA series win with Whelen Engineering. I remember how special it was. The way we pulled out the win at the home of Cadillac and GM. It was so special, and I can’t wait to do it again. It’s a place I love coming back to. It’s one of the best street races out there, possibly one of my favorites on the calendar. That track is awesome. What makes it so special is that it requires a lot of commitment. It takes so much to extract a good lap because it’s bumpy. It’s like a wild ride. It’s so intense on the wheel but you have to master it. I think we learned that in 2018.
“I really missed going there last year. So, I’m so happy we are going back. I’m also glad to hear that the fans will be back with us in the paddock, which makes it an even more exciting event. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get our first win of the season there. It’s our home race and there’s no better place to do it.”
JDC-Miller Motorsports drivers, Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval are looking to capitalize on their Sebring win in March with another strong run on the island circuit in the Motor City. Once again, Duval will be learning a new circuit. The team from Minnesota has the only Cadillac win so far on the season.
“Looking forward to Detroit,” Vautier said. “It is one of the most challenging tracks of the year. It is bumpy. As a driver I really enjoy racing there because you have to be very precise with your line as well as getting around traffic. The 100-minute format makes it tricky. There is zero opportunity to make up for mistakes on the track or in the pits. You really have to go for it, maybe take some chances. When you have a passing opportunity, you have to take it as it maybe your only one. It is a home race for Cadillac so that is added motivation as well. We have good momentum after Sebring. The JDC-Miller gets stronger every weekend. It is always tight at the front of the DPi field and we will be looking to make everyone proud at their home race.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac team will be running their No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R for the first time on the circuit located in the middle of the Detroit River. Renger van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen are still in search of their first IMSA DPi podium.
“I think Detroit is an amazing event as it is the home asphalt for GM,” van der Zande said. “The Cadillac’s have always done well there in the past. It is one of those intense street tracks where you don’t have any time to rest. There is a bit of back straight but it never stops. I am happy it is a short race there this weekend. You really have to expect everything. It is going to be tight on the track, tight in qualifying and tight in the race. If there is a red flag in qualifying, you’ll want to have a lap in the bank. If not you’re in trouble, you will be starting from the back. Anything is possible in Detroit.”
Cadillac IMSA Detroit Driver Line-up and IMSA DPi Points Standings:
3. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval
4. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
6. No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Kevin Magnussen
Source. Kyle Chura/Photo. Cadillac/Richard Prince