The Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani won today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sportscar weekend race at Road America.
Felipe Nasr started the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R from pole position for the two-hour-and-forty-minute race. He had to weather two restarts from yellows to maintain the lead throughout his stint. He turned the car over to Pipo Derani and he proceeded to keep the red Cadillac at the front of the field for most of his stint as well. The only scare for the Cadillac’s was the 60 Acura stretching fuel and hoping for a late race with yellow until it had to pit for fuel with less than four minutes remaining. The win is the second in a row for the team and their third on the season (Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road America).
“The race started pretty well,” Nasr said. “It was great to get the pole position yesterday. We know how important it is at this place to drive in clean air. It helps the whole setup of the car. You can look after your tires and [it helps] with fuel economy. At the start, I had a lot of pressure from the No. 10 car going into Turn One. After that, it was all about hitting the marks and that proves the car was good enough to stay in the lead. We knew it was going to be a fuel saving race to make it to the end.
“It [the win] was great. I just want to say a big thank you to the guys at Action Express Racing. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac was amazing to drive today. It’s hard to believe when you get a perfect weekend like this because they are so hard [to come by]. Winning here after winning at Watkins [Glen], back-to-back wins, it just shows how much work and effort we’re putting into the car and the team. The [Championship] fight is on. We’re going to bring the Championship to all of us here. We’re certainly going to give them [the competition] more battles until the end [of the season].”
“We had a fantastic weekend – perfect to be honest,” Derani said. “When I was in the car, the No. 60 car was out of my hands. So, I just hit my marks and focused on making sure we could make it to the end saving fuel. Not having a yellow [late in the race], helped us. The No. 60 eventually had to come into the pits with that off sequence strategy they had. That allowed us to just focus on bringing the car home. I’m really happy. We had a fantastic weekend. We didn’t put a foot wrong in any practice. We even skipped practice #1 because we felt it was too risky to go out with the amount of rain. Without testing in the rain, we went out there and put it on pole. That’s fantastic. That set the tone for us from the very beginning. I just want to say a big thank you to Whelen Engineering, Lucas Oil, Cadillac, and all of our sponsors for giving us an opportunity to go racing and to go win back-to-back races, which is awesome.”
Kevin Magnussen took the start in the No. 01 V Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R. He ran in the top four before turning the car over to Renger van der Zande who had the task of combining fuel economy with making up positions to get on the podium to finish in third on the day.
“I am not so sure how the others made it. I had to save a lot,” van der Zande said. “So, at the end maybe I could push a little bit. We lost a little speed in that last final fuel run, so we will have to look at what happened. Of course, we came to win, but we didn’t have the speed, so we’ll take a podium finish for the team and Cadillac today.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was started by Tristan Vautier. He was able to maintain contact with the front running DPi cars at the beginning of his stint but fell back with tire degradation. He handed the car off to teammate Loic Duval who brought it home in sixth.
“Rough day, we were lacking pace,” Vautier said. “I managed to hang on for a little while, we were already struggling to keep the tires underneath us. We were lacking a bit of overall grip. It is disappointing. We tried to play the fuel and saw it wasn’t going to work. We are happy for the No. 31 Cadillac bringing it home for an amazing race. So that is great for them. We need to do our homework to be quicker next month.”
Cadillac IMSA Road America Results:
1. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani
3. No. 01 V Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger van der Zande, Kevin Magnussen
6. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier, Loic Duval
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Cadillac Racing/Richard Prince