DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to IMSA sports car racing was going along as planned in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race.
The No. 01 Cadillac Daytona Prototype International (DPi), driven by Renger Van der Zande, Kevin Magnussen and Scott Dixon, started seventh but quickly made their presence known leading 225 of the races 807-laps.
A battle to the end was shaping up between CGR and Wayne Taylor Racing in the race’s final half hour. CGR brought Van der Zande in for his final pit stop and WTR brought their new Acura ARX-05 to pit road and changed just left side tires and was able to get out ahead of the No. 01 by about 5-seconds.
Van der Zande, who used to drive for WTR, put the hammer down and chased down Filipe Albuquerque in an epic duel between the two drivers.
— IMSA (@IMSA) January 31, 2021
Disaster struck a few minutes later for the Ganassi team when Van der Zande had to come to pit road because of a cut right rear tire.
It is OVER for Renger Van Der Zande and Chip Ganassi Racing.
— Motorsports on NBC (@MotorsportsNBC) January 31, 2021
The Ganassi team quickly changed the tire but the battle was over at that point as WTR raced to the victory and CGR settled for a fifth place finish.
Team owner Chip Ganassi was proud of his team, especially since the program came together late in 2020.
Im so proud of our team performance this past weekend. Saturday was the 7th day we ran our new @cadillac DPi car. Not even a Covid scare could stop @CGRTeams. Fighting for the lead with 7minutes to go after 23h53m. I'm really proud of all of our men and women on this team.
— Chip Ganassi (@GanassiChip) February 1, 2021
Magnussen knew the team had a car capable of winning, which is something the second generation driver didn’t have a chance to do the past few years in Formula One.
If we hadn’t had a puncture with 5 laps to go, I think we would have had a really good chance of winning the race. Motorsport is tough sometimes. Thanks @CGRTeams for an awesome race car. Great job by my teammates @Rengervdz & @scottdixon9. 12h of Sebring next! pic.twitter.com/wHFDY2cOJG
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) February 1, 2021
The Ganassi team did serve notice that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
Acura’s Top Speed Charts In Roar Practice At Daytona
DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Acura’s topped the speed charts in two practice sessions Friday at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Tom Blomqvist turned the fastest lap of the day, 1 minute, 34.351 seconds (135.833 mph), over Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course in the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 DPi.
“We didn’t have a great morning, but we chipped away at it all day long and the car was just getting better and better with every lap,” said Blomqvist. “Obviously, that’s a positive to take into the next couple of days.”
Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura posted the second-fastest lap of the day, 1:34.687 (135.351 mph) with Filipe Albuquerque behind the wheel. WTR has 4-wins in the last 5-Rolex 24’s, including three consecutive victories.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillac’s were third and fourth on the speed charts, less than 4-tenths of a second off the top spot. 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou, who is making his sports car debut, turned the fastest lap in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi V.R., at 1:34.712 (135.315 mph).
Palou will share the driving duties this weekend with full-time IMSA driver’s Renger van der Zande and Sebastian Bourdais and will be joined in the endurance events by 6-time INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon.
CGR’s No. 02 Caddy was right behind the teammates as Earl Bamber turned the fourth fastest lap of the day, 1:34.746 (135.267 mph). Bamber will be joined for the ’22 season by Alex Lynn with CGR INDYCAR driver Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen sharing the driving duties this weekend.
A third practice is set for 10 a.m. ET Saturday, ahead of qualifying at 3:25 p.m. to determine the starting grid for Sunday’s 100-minute race that sets the field for the Rolex 24. A final night practice runs from 7-9 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday’s qualifying race airs live at 2 p.m. on Peacock and IMSA Radio.
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.