LAKEVILLE, CT (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook passed Earl Bamber with a tick over 6-and-a-half minutes remaining to win IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park.
The victory was the first IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory of the season for Westbrook, co-driver Ryan Briscoe and the No. 67 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.
“I had to pick my moment,” Westbrook said. “I just had to be patient with the 912 and when the opportunity came, it was a matter of taking it. There was a lot of marbles off-line. I got it just right.”
The Ganassi team utilized a three-stop strategy whereas Bamber and his Porsche GT team opted for a two-stop strategy and for a large portion of the race it looked like it would pay off. The Porsche GT teams combined to lead 140 of the race’s 182 laps around the 1.474-mile circuit.
“We didn’t think we’d have the pace, so we went into the race with the goal of doing a three-stop strategy,” said Briscoe. “We knew the tire life on two stops was going to be really difficult for everyone, so we just committed to it and knew we had to put the lap time in on fresh tires when everyone else was falling off and it worked out.”
Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor wound up second for their fifth podium result in seven races on the season.
The No. 66 Ford GT made it a double-podium for the Ganassi team as co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, the defending race winners, finished third.
“It was just an amazing race to be part of, fighting with two Porsches and my teammate, it was really close out there,” said Westbrook.
Bamber and Vanthoor’s second place finish extended their Championship lead in the GTLM standings to 8-points, 218-210, over their No. 911 Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who finished fourth.
The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday, August 4th.
Whelen Engineering Cadillac Wins At Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, NY (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A fuel-only pit stop late in the race saved the Whelen Engineering team valuable time on pit road and enabled them to take the lead and win the IMSA WeatherTech 240 at The Glen.
We are so limited on the capacity that we don’t have the luxury to go flat out all the time, but that second yellow helped us out big time,” said Felipe Nasr, who along with co-driver Pipo Derani picked up their first win of the season.
The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen finished second, 1.473-seconds behind the No. 31 Caddy.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura DPi ARX-05 driven by Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor finished third, increasing its lead in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class to 81 points over the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi and drivers Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis.
Chip Ganassi’s Sports Car team back in victory lane after win in Detroit
DETROIT, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kevin Magnussen and Renger Van der Zande put CGR SportsCar back in victory lane Saturday by winning the IMSA race.
The victory was the first in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Magnussen, who joined the series in the offseason after seven seasons in F1. It also let Magnussen join his dad, veteran racer Jan Magnussen, as an IMSA race winner.
“It feels great,” said Magnussen, who also won his first Motul Pole Award on Friday. “This weekend has been extremely good on the team side. We’ve just been fast. I’d say the whole season we’ve been fast. We just haven’t been able to get to the end in the lead. We’ve led a lot of laps this year. Finally, we led the right lap.”
Van der Zande was leading a fierce duel with Felipe Nasr as the yellow flag waved when the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW stopped on track. When the 100-minute race resumed with 2 minutes 50 seconds left, Van der Zande accelerated away from Nasr, getting enough of a gap to win the race by 0.573 seconds.
“The track got really slippery in those last two, three laps,” said Van der Zande. “I had some really big moments, and I think the guy behind me, Nasr, also had some big moments.”
Saturday’s victory was Ganassi’s 60th in IMSA competition and second of the day as Marcus Ericsson picked up his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race earlier in the day at Belle Isle.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that this (IMSA) team was put together at the last minute in the fall of last year,” Ganassi said. “I think we bring a little to the party as a team, and they bring some things as a driver. I think it’s that combination. There are a lot of guys who are fast, and they don’t get opportunities sometimes. You’ve got to find guys at the right time in their career that need an opportunity to excel and bloom, if you will, and to expose their talents.”
The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Nasr and Pipo Derani finished second followed by the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 shared by Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who lead the WeatherTech Championship DPi standings by 71-points over the No. 55 Mazda of Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis, who finished fourth.
The WeatherTech Championship resumes June 24-27 with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac Wins 12-Hours of Sebring
SEBRING, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sebastien Bourdais, driving without the top element of the rear wing of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, took home the overall win in IMSA’s 12-Hours of Sebring for JDC-Miller Motorsports and co-drivers Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval.
Bourdais crossed the finish line 1.45-seconds ahead of Harry Tincknell and the No. 55 Mazda. Bourdais said he lost the element with just under 19-minutes left in the event and was fortunate he didn’t lose control of the car.
“I’m just really lucky that I didn’t stuff it in Turn 17 before I made the adjustments,” Bourdais said. “That was a very, very close call there. At the same time, thankfully I had enough of a gap to (Tincknell) that he didn’t pass us by the time I collected myself. I didn’t know it was the rear wing until I got out of the car (in victory lane), but I knew something had happened aerodynamically.”
The No. 48 Cadillac co-driven by Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Simon Pagenaud finished third followed by the Acura Dpi’s of Meyer Shank Racing (Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, Juan Pablo Montoya) and Wayne Taylor Racing (Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi).
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac finished 2-laps down in sixth. The CGR Caddy was one of the dominant cars in the event but got clipped by the BMW of Connor De Phillippi with 71-minutes left in the race.
“It was very frustrating,” said Scott Dixon, who was behind the wheel of the Ganassi machine at the time. “It was a very late call from the pits, so I was scrambling to get everything undone. On my way into pit road there was another car there and I had nowhere to go. I feel bad for the team, because everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing did a fantastic job.”
The Ganassi team’s misfortune opened the door for Bourdais, who just put his head down and somehow kept Ticknell behind him.
“Every corner that was coming, I was like, ‘Man, how am I going to do this one?’” Bourdais said. “The flip side of (the broken wing) is that the car was extremely fast down the straightaway, too. I was very hard to pass there.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season resumes May 14-16 with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.