The Whelen Engineering Cadillac team led the trio of Cadillac DPi-V.Rs to a one, two, three finish in today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Long Beach Grand Prix.
Felipe Nasr had the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R starting from his earned pole position from yesterday. The Brazilian took the green and was immediately challenged by second place qualifier Kevin Magnussen in the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R. The Dane was able to take the position and lead about seven laps. Being pressed by Nasr and coming up on lapped GTD traffic he got into the wall at the exit of Turn 1 damaging the car and giving the position back to Nasr. Ten minutes into the race the events only yellow flew. Nasr had to navigate a restart and then handed the car over to Pipo Derani in the lead. Derani drove a mistake free last stint to get the teams third win at Long Beach and third win on the season reducing the points delta to the leaders for the IMSA DPi Championship to just 19 heading into the season finale Petit Le Mans.
“It was a clean sweep,” Nasr said. “We dominated every session. We put the car on the pole, which was 50 percent of the job done. We maximized our point chances and got the win. It was an amazing race. We did everything we could to keep the car in front. Fuel savings dictated most of my stint, but I was able to hand it over to Pipo with a comfortable lead. I’m proud of the whole No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Action Express crew. They did an amazing job giving us a fast car and here we are [in victory lane]. We got every point we could and now we’re in the fight for the last race. I’m looking forward to that.”
“This [win] is fantastic for our team,” Derani said. “The Whelen Engineering Cadillac was on rails this weekend. I can’t thank this team enough for the third win of the season. We’ve been fighting so hard to come from a difficult beginning to the season and now we’ll go into the last race with a real chance to fight for the [Drivers’] Championship. A big thanks to the whole team. We led every session. Felipe did a fantastic job in qualifying. For me, it was to bring the car home from the lead. I’m pretty happy with the result. Thanks to Lucas Oil, Whelen Engineering and everyone who supported us this weekend.”
Magnussen started the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R. After leading and getting into the wall he carried on although the damage to the Cadillac was visible. The team decided not to make repairs, Magnussen completed his full stint handed the car over to Renger van der Zande who had to complete the race with a few parts missing bringing the car home in second place. The result is a testament to the strength of the Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“I got the V-Performance Academy Cadillac with a few pieces missing,” van der Zande said. “The car was really hard to drive especially on a street track. It is amazing how strong these Cadillac race cars are, because we could still manage quite a good pace. It is tough. In the end it was a fuel race. I couldn’t attack the 31 with the way the car was. Congratulations to the 31 and Cadillac for three cars on the podium. Let’s go to Petit and race for 10 hours!”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was started by Loic Duval. He was challenged at the drop of the green by the No. 10 Acura who got by into Turn 1. He was able to make a strong racing move into the tricky hairpin turn to retake the position a few laps later. He handed the car over to Tristan Vautier who drove through the GT traffic to complete the podium sweep for Cadillac in third.
“It was a really good weekend over all for the Mustang Sampling Cadillac team,” Vautier said. “We needed that result. We were solid. The team executed well. A good day for the 31 for the championship and a good day for Cadillac with three cars on the podium. I think if we had managed our fuel usage a little better, we may have gotten the 01. But a good day and happy to bring the one, two, three for Cadillac.”
Cadillac Long Beach Results:
1. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani
2. No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger van der Zande, Kevin Magnussen
3. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier, Loic Duval
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince