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.”
#4 Corvette wins in GTLM
Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy won their second straight race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday – a GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Milner passed No. 3 Corvette Racing teammate Jordan Taylor near the 50-minute mark, and Tandy drove a traffic-filled final stint as the Corvette Racing program won for the eighth time at the southern California street event. It’s the second street circuit win of the year for the Milner/Tandy duo, which also won a non-points race in June at Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit.
Milner won for the fourth time his career at Long Beach while Tandy took his second victory there.
Tandy took a 0.75-second victory over Antonio Garcia, Taylor’s teammate in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R. The runner-up result did move Garcia and Taylor closer to their second straight GTLM Drivers Championship and a repeat Manufacturers crowd for Chevrolet.
As is typically the case at Long Beach, traffic played a huge role throughout the 100-minute sprint. Taylor began on pole position with Milner never more than two seconds behind. The ebb and flow of being passed by faster prototypes but passing slower GT Daytona (GTD) cars caused the gap between the two C8.Rs to fluctuate throughout.
The winning move came at the race’s halfway point as Taylor was balked by a GTD car, which allowed Milner to find some extra momentum and get alongside his teammate just before the short backstretch. The two Corvettes ran in that order before Taylor made the No. 3 Corvette’s only stop of the race with 41 minutes to go. Milner came in a lap later for the switch-over to Tandy, who rejoined the race in the lead and clear of Garcia by about two seconds.
As was the case in the first part of the race, traffic made Tandy’s lead grow and shrink over the course of a lap. But neither Corvette driver put a foot wrong for the final stint.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM WINNER:
WE DIDN’T GET A GOOD LOOK AT THE PASS. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED. “The pass was done in Turn Six. I did a 360 and then a kick-flip afterward… Nah, lap traffic is always such a huge part of this race. When you have two cars that are so close and so competitive here together, trying to find an opportunity to pass on the racetrack is difficult. My plan was to stick with Jordan as best I could and take any opportunity that arose in traffic. That’s what happened at Turn Six. Because the GTD cars have ABS, they can brake later than we can. Jordan went for a move on the inside of that corner and it didn’t quite stick. His exit was compromised and I was able to get outside of him on the entry and that’s the preferred line there. At times it’s frustrating being stuck behind somebody. I’ve raced here for a long time and it’s happened to me. Just using that experience worked out for us. The pit stop was massively important here. It’s always limited by the driver change and four tires. That was the case again here, and everything lined up right. Nick did a great job. You have to make good decisions in traffic always. One bad decision can mean seconds of lap time and it can mean losing a position. He did an awesome job of managing traffic well and bringing our Corvette home.”
RACING HARD AGAINST TEAMMATES: “It’s the age-old rule in racing: you can’t hit your teammate. That’s kind of the rule we live by at Corvette Racing, but we are allowed to race. We can try to pass each other on the racetrack – even without traffic – if the opportunity arises. Because the cars are so close and it’s the same equipment, we know exactly where they are strong and where we are strong. We can look at the same video and data. To find a big difference on the track in pure pace is pretty hard to do. In those situations, the traffic usually affords you the opportunity to make a pass that can be clean. I really only had the one opportunity and thankfully I was close enough to take advantage of that.”
WINNING AT LONG BEACH: “The atmosphere here at Long Beach is fantastic with the crowd and energy that they bring. Not that we haven’t had fans for a year-and-a-half now, but this was the first time I really felt the energy of the fans. You miss it in some ways. Before the start of the race, there was so many fans in the stands. It’s one of the things that you get accustomed to after a long time. Now that we haven’t had it for a long time, to feel it again here at Long Beach is fantastic. I’m not sure that has any impact when you’re in the car, but it makes for a fun event for them and us as drivers and as a team.”
RACING AGAINST GTD CARS: “That class has gotten super competitive the last couple of years. They’re doing the same job we are. For us at Corvette Racing, we don’t look at that class as something easy in any way. If anything it’s more difficult. For those guys to get wins in that class is very difficult. Whoever races in that class next year is going to have a hard time.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I’m really happy to win again at Long Beach and with Tommy. My job was pretty simple in the end. The stint Tommy did running up to the pitstop was crucial. Getting past the 3 car enabled us to deny them track position before the stop was a good call. Once we came back out in front, we knew the car coming out in front after the stop cycle would be difficult to beat. It worked out perfectly. The team did a flawless stop, and that’s one of the key things at Long Beach. It’s often that we are fuel-defined by the pitstop time. Here we don’t need to take a full tank, so often it’s down to the driver change time and tire change. Pretty much everything synced together. I got my belts tight and off we went.”
WINNING AT LONG BEACH: “I’d reiterate what Tommy said. It’s awesome to be back at this event. I think I’ve seen more people here this weekend than ever. Anytime you get to come race at Long Beach, it’s a classic event. It’s always a favorite to come to. The races are frenetic. Getting a trophy from the Long Beach Grand Prix is always a big one.”
LONG BEACH NEXT YEAR: “If Corvette Racing goes into GTD next year, we’ve been in the paddock with these teams and drivers. You can see the level that the category is top professional racing. We always look to have great racing. We always know that the best wins are when you face the toughest competition. This is what Corvette Racing wants to do. We want to race the best competition possible no matter where that may be. It’s great that we have all these different types of cars and classes within sports car racing that these teams and manufacturers can go racing in.”