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Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Takes IMSA Win At Lime Rock Park

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Ford

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.”

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Ryan Briscoe (left) congratulates Richard Westbrook after the co-drivers win the IMSA race at Lime Rock Park.

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.

Sports Cars

Chip Ganassi Racing Returning To IMSA Competition In 2021 With Cadillac

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Chip Ganassi Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Seven-time Champions Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) are returning to IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car competition following a year hiatus from the sport.

CGR is partnering with Cadillac to field a Daytona Prototype international (DPi) entry beginning in 2021.

“We are very excited to welcome Chip Ganassi Racing to the Cadillac competition family,” said Rory Harvey, Cadillac Vice President. “Their success across many forms of racing, including sports cars, will be a great addition to our IMSA WeatherTech line-up.”

“Partnering with Cadillac is a tremendous opportunity for our team and we want to start delivering for them in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said team owner Chip Ganassi.

CGR has the greatest stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history highlighted by eight wins and three second-place finishes from 2006-2018.  Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win three-straight Rolex 24 At Daytonas (2006-2008).

“We can’t wait to get back to IMSA and fight for the overall win after several years competing in the GTLM class,” said Ganassi, who last partnered with Ford Motor Company to field Ford GT’s in IMSA and the World Endurance Championship (WEC).  That partnership resulted in several GTLM class wins including the prestigious 24-Hours of Le Mans.

In 2020, Cadillac scored its fourth consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona win, and followed with wins at Sebring and Petit Le Mans en route to a second-place finish in the Championship.

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In 2019, they scored wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Long Beach and Petit Le Mans.

The 2018 season saw the program win the Rolex 24 At Daytona en route to the Prototype Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championships.

The program began in 2017 when Cadillac teams won every title in the inaugural season of the IMSA DPi formula including a one-two-three sweep of the Driver Championship, along with the Team and Manufacturers titles.

CGR has seven Championships (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and 64 race wins to their credit since their introduction to sports car racing in 2004.

“Chip’s pedigree at winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona eight times as well as their championships in this form of racing gives Cadillac another stalwart team to compete for the 2021 IMSA DPi championship,” said Harvey.

Ganassi is already a member of the General Motors family as the NASCAR operation fields Chevrolet’s.

“Our relationship with General Motors has expanded from the NASCAR Cup Series and we couldn’t be happier,” said Ganassi.

Driver lineups and partnership details will be announced at a later date.

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Mazda Wins 12-Hours of Sebring; Acura Team Penske Wins DPi Championship

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IMSA

SEBRING, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mazda Motorsports captured the 12-Hours of Sebring endurance race with the No. 55 Mazda DPi, driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Ryan Hunter-Reay, beating the No. 6 Team Penske Acura by 10.154-seconds at Sebring International Raceway.

The No. 77 Mazda DPi appeared to be headed for the victory but cut a left rear tire with 27-minutes remaining to bring out a full-course caution. That gave the lead to Tincknell in their sister car who brought the car home with the win with the No. 77 rallying to finish third.

“I said to myself, ‘This is what you dream of,’” Tincknell said. “Twenty minutes to go, leading one of the biggest races in the world. You just have to go for it, give it everything you have. No regrets. I just pushed like crazy.”

The DPi victory went to Mazda but the DPi Championship went to the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi co-driven by Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi.

Forty minutes into the race, the left intercooler malfunctioned on the Team Penske machine, which took 25-minutes to repair.  The Acura returned to the race far behind the field with their championship hopes looking dim.

Team Penske’s hopes brightened when a collision between Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda and Scott Dixon in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac forced Dixon to limp to the pits with a flat right rear and led to an extensive repair.

“I think there was no way he was going to make the corner,” Dixon said. “I kind of saw him coming and tried to give him enough without wrecking myself. I got off track a little bit in the hairpin and got dirty tires.”

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The No. 10 Cadillac returned to the race but was laps down and the WTR Caddy only finished one spot ahead of the No. 7, which was not good enough in the final standings.

The No. 7 Acura finished one point ahead in the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings in the driver, team and manufacturer categories.

“In racing, anything is possible,” said Castroneves, who picked up the first season Championship in his 23-year career. “We started the season with no points on the board and all of a sudden we’re battling for the championship. Unfortunately, in this situation, it was completely outside of our hands. We literally were waiting for things to happen, and they did.  It was destiny. I always say if it’s meant to be it will be, and I’m so glad it was our turn. You never give up. … We never gave up.”

“To me, Helio is Team Penske, and it was the privilege of a lifetime to get to drive for Acura Team Penske,” Taylor said. “To win it with him was one of the highlights of my life.”

The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07, co-driven by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, took home the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class.  The No. 52 claimed the team and driver championships Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R took home the victory in the GT Daytona class.  The GTD Championship went to the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX of defending series champion Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi thanks to a third-place class finish at Sebring.  MSR takes home the class Championship by eight points over over nine other competing performance car OEM’s, include Porsche, Lexus, BMW, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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Acura Partners With Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing For 2021 DPi Effort

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Acura Motorsports

TORRANCE, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Acura Motorsports is partnering with Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing to field a pair of Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, beginning in 2021.

Meyer Shank Racing is the defending IMSA GTD class Champion and are the current leaders in all three major GTD title championships plus the Ohio-based team played a key role in the development of the successful Acura NSX GT3 Evo, parking it in victory lane in four consecutive seasons.

Wayne Taylor Racing has raced to two IMSA driver Championships and one IMSA team Championship in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class. WTR has also captured eight IMSA manufacturer championships and has scored multiple victories in endurance racing’s most iconic events: The Rolex 24 At Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, and Six Hours at Watkins Glen.

The Acura ARX-05 to be fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021 IMSA Competition.

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“It is a pleasure to announce that Wayne Taylor Racing will be joining the Acura ARX-05 IMSA program in 2021, along with Meyer Shank Racing, which will build on our very successful partnership by moving up to the prototype ranks,” said Jon Ikeda, Acura Brand Officer. “We’re confident that both teams will help us build on the successes we’ve achieved to date in IMSA competition, as we continue to apply Precision Crafted Performance to all of our activities – on the race circuits of North America, in our production vehicles and in the marketplace.”

“When Acura and HPD chose Meyer Shank Racing to debut the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, it was a big moment in our history. I’m really proud of building a championship-winning program and everything that we’ve been able to accomplish together with the NSX,” said Michael Shank, co-owner of Meyer Shank Racing. “As a team, we’ve been working toward the opportunity to go and fight for overall wins for a long time, and I am eager to get going with this program. But we have some work to do first, and we are 100 percent focused on bringing another IMSA championship home with the Acura NSX in 2020.”

“I am extremely excited to have this opportunity given to me by HPD and Acura Motorsports,” said Wayne Taylor, owner of Wayne Taylor Racing. “Since getting to know everyone at HPD and Acura Motorsports, I feel that they have a lot of respect for the Wayne Taylor Racing family. What I really like is that they have the same passion and vision as I do. I am looking forward to running the DPi for the next few years. I am equally excited to be able to bring my long-term partnership with Konica Minolta, Rick Taylor and Michael Mathe to the program. We all can’t wait to get started.”

The Acura NSX program will continue in IMSA 2021.

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