RACER’s Petit Le Mans Resource Guide
Wednesday, 04 October 2017
By Marshall Pruett / Images by Galstad & Levitt/LAT
The final race of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season starts Thursday at Road Atlanta as 39 cars will start preparing to earn overall and class honors at the 20th annual Petit Le Mans. RACER will be on the ground starting Thursday morning, and be sure to follow @RACERmag and @MarshallPruett for regular updates on Twitter, and RACER.com for photos, videos, session reports and feature stories.
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WEATHERTECH CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT SCHEDULE:
- IMSA championships take backseat to race at Petit
- Castroneves moves to Penske's IMSA program; will race Indy 500
- New golden era for Prototypes?
- Pagenaud's Petit P2 time warp
- Penske confirms Petit entry
- Rebellion returns with revised lineup
- Stars out in full force for Petit
- Bomarito joins Visit Florida team for Petit Le Mans
- WeatherTech Racing adds Long for Petit Le Mans
Thursday, Oct. 5 (all times Eastern)
11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m., Free Practice 1
3:15 pm – 4:15 p.m., Free Practice 2
7:30 pm – 9:00 p.m., Free Practice 3
Friday, October 6
11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m., Free Practice 4
4:20 – 5:50 p.m., Qualifying
Saturday, October 7
11:05 a.m. – 9:05 p.m., 20th Petit Le Mans, 10 hours
Posted 05 October 2017 - 14:53
Posted 06 October 2017 - 20:12
Button considering IMSA for 2018
Jenson Button is contemplating a full-time return to racing in 2018 after feeling he stayed a year too long in Formula 1, and has named the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a possible destination.
The 2009 Formula 1 world champion retired from F1 at the end of last season and this year only made a one-off appearance for McLaren at the Monaco Grand Prix to replace Fernando Alonso. However, a recent drive in the Suzuka 1000km (below) has led Button to focus on securing a full-time racing program next year, and he sees the U.S. as a potential destination.
"Do I miss F1? No. I don't, I miss racing," Button said. "I had fallen out of love a little bit with motorsport – I think I left it maybe a year too long racing in Formula 1. I spoke to Honda at the end of last year and I said would you mind if I had a bit of fun in your SuperGT car, and I did at the Honda Thanks Day at the end of last year. I loved it, and that was just me on my own.
"So after that I asked them if I could do the Suzuka 1000km, and they said they thought that they could work something out. So I came here completely green in the formula – it is completely different to anything I have ever done, racing around with another category. We didn't get a very good result – I think we had every issue you could possibly have – but I came away and felt that I had the love back for racing. I absolutely loved it – as soon as we were finished I wanted to get back in the car and do it all again. It has been a while since I had that feeling, I've been itching to drive anything, to be fair.
"Next year I will be racing something; I don't know what yet, whether it will be in America, Europe or Japan. There are few options and I want to take it properly seriously."
Asked by RACER what the categories in the U.S. and Europe are that he is interested in, Button replied: "I think IMSA – where the DPi cars race.
"I love the fact that they all get the same... well, there's a selection of tubs that they can race with and they can make it their own with their aerodynamic package and power unit, and there's a few manufacturers racing there and that's great and it's definitely a growing motorsport in America.
"The GT category is great but I'm not sure I could be in a car being overtaken by the DPi cars. That's something I can't get my head around.
"I'd love to do Le Mans at some point but I'm not sure it's the right time to jump in and do it. Again, I think the LMP2 category is awesome, I think it's great there's so many teams, there's a lot of talented drivers – but you have P1. So I don't know, I just can't get my head around racing a car that is 20 seconds slower than something else."
Ultimativni "mokri san"- Baton, Montoja i Alonso u Tojoti LMP1
Posted 06 October 2017 - 21:40
Penski ima jedno mesto upraznjeno za sledecu sezonu u IMSA prototipovima...
Posted 07 October 2017 - 23:56
Pomalo pratim, pa se prebacim na nesto drugo (kuvam), ali uzbudljivo jeste!
Posted 08 October 2017 - 14:04
TEQUILA PATRÓN ESM SCORES ANOTHER CROWN JEWEL WITH MOTUL PETIT LE MANS VICTORY BY NO. 22 NISSAN DPI TEAM
Throughout most of Saturday’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the pair of Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi cars were the class of the field.
The team’s No. 22 machine shared by Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Bruno Senna, and the No. 2 Nissan DPi of Ryan Dalziel, Scott Sharp and Brendon Hartley were fixtures inside the top five for most of the race and ran either first or second for several hours. There were other challengers, to be sure, but it was readily apparent throughout the race that the Patrón cars would figure in the outcome of the race.
In the end, it all came down to the race’s final restart with 28 minutes remaining. Derani held the lead, with Filipe Albuquerque second in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Hartley third in the No. 22 and Dane Cameron fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi.
By the end of the first lap following the restart, Derani was leading Albuquerque, while Cameron relegated Hartley to fourth in the running order. But incidents and costly penalties wreaked havoc on the top three.
Teammates Albuquerque and Cameron tangled, resulting in an unjustifiable risk penalty for Albuquerque. Derani had a dustup with the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe, bringing the No. 22 Nissan onto pit road to serve a penalty for incident responsibility.
In the end, Hartley had the cleanest closing stint. He and co-drivers Sharp and Dalziel were rewarded with a victory in one of the crown jewels of sports car racing, by 7.633 seconds over Cameron. It was Hartley’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory and second IMSA win, taking a GRAND-AM Rolex Series victory at Road America in 2013.
“We had a really strong middle of the race,” Hartley said. “We had a comfortable lead, actually. We had a little problem halfway through, which put us P4 or P5, so we had to fight back. I got past Filipe Albuquerque just before the last safety car. He got me back in the pits.
“Then, with the last restart, that was nuts. I mean, the three or four race contenders were at the back of the GTs and it was mayhem. In the end, I kept it clean, and the other two didn’t and that’s how I ended up in the lead. I was looking forward to a good scrap at the end with Filipe. It was a shame he got a penalty. It would have been a nice finish of the race, but I’m so proud of everyone involved, Ryan, Scott, the whole team. Not a scratch on the car after 10 hours of hard racing, and around here that says a lot. Awesome race.”
For Sharp, Dalziel and the Patrón ESM team, it was the third major North American endurance race victory in the past two years, after taking both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida last year. It was the Patrón ESM team’s second win this season, as Derani and van Overbeek won in the No. 22 Nissan DPi at Road America in August. It was Sharp’s 15th IMSA win and Dalziel’s 10th IMSA.
“We came back fighting, a great effort from Patrón ESM, both cars,” said Dalziel. “I think either car could have won it. Its a shame we had the penalty. Super, super stoked for Scott and for the 2-car guys, they did an amazing job as always.”
Despite the late-race incident, 2016 WeatherTech Championship Prototype champions Cameron and Curran – who were joined for this race by Conway – came home second in Cameron’s final race with the team before going to the new Team Penske Acura DPi program next year. That was one spot better than his future teammates, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, who finished third in the No. 6 Team Penske ORECA LM P2 car.
Taylor Brothers Wrap Up WeatherTech Championship Prototype Title
Brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor brought home the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title for their father’s Wayne Taylor Racing team, ending a dominant campaign in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The brothers swept the first five races of the season, opening with their first Rolex 24 At Daytona victory in January alongside co-drivers Max Angelelli, in his final start as a driver, and four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. In the next race, they teamed with British racer Alex Lynn to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, accomplishing the 36 Hours of Florida sweep 21 years after their father accomplished the same feat.
Then it was the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, which they won for the third consecutive year, followed by a dominating performance in the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas. Their fifth and final victory in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park was somewhat surprising, as Ricky Taylor crashed in qualifying and started at the rear of the field.
The five victories proved to be insurmountable for the rest of the competition, and two more podium results over the final five races was more than enough to bring home the title. For Ricky Taylor, the championship was his first.
“Jordan and I did the best we could, but I think it really comes down to the team,” Ricky Taylor said. “Cadillac and Dallara worked together to get the car ready on track in September last year and then (we were) the first team with the car testing, learning.
“All of our guys were really open to learning how this new style of the cars work and what makes them fast. Then down to the mechanics, they’re like specialists in each of their areas and they’ve really shown this year how good people can all step up and do their job and really create a separation from the rest of the field.”
Jordan Taylor already knew what it felt like to win a title for his father’s team, having done so in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class with Angelelli in 2013. But this one was different.
“I think the first one was obviously special because it was my first one,” said Jordan Taylor. “But I think being with Ricky the past four years now, we’ve been close a lot of times and it means a lot more to do it with family. Max is like family but I think it means a lot more having Ricky in the car.”
The Taylors will celebrate their accomplishments Monday night in the WeatherTech Night of Champions at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Georgia.
No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Team of Grist, Drissi, Falb Wins Motul Petit Le Mans
The final race in the history of the Prototype Challenge (PC) class featured a trio of first-time winners in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.
John Falb, Garett Grist and Tomy Drissi co-drove the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 to victory in the 20th Anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday at Road Atlanta, as a seven-race PC win streak by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 team.
The complexion of the PC race changed just past the halfway point in the 10-hour race. Leader Kyle Masson in the No. 38 machine was involved in an incident with the No. 13 Rebellion Racing ORECA LM P2 car of Nick Heidfeld, removing both cars from contention. Two laps later, Drissi took the lead from his BAR1 teammate, Buddy Rice in the No. 20 entry.
The teammates traded the class lead a couple of times in the sixth hour, but the No. 26 pulled away over the last three-and-a-half hours to win by eight laps. While it was the first WeatherTech Championship win for all three drivers, it was Drissi’s fourth career IMSA win, with three previous victories in the American Le Mans Series. Falb and Grist had not won previously at the top levels of IMSA.
“The PC class, you know, it really did its job since 2010,” Drissi said. “They were great battles, I know they weren’t the P1 or P2 cars, or the big factory teams, but some of the greatest racing in those cars will be talked about by drivers and teams and fans. I’m just so happy to be here. It was so hard to fight today. Everybody was on it ten tenths. I think before my next race I need to do some pushups.”
Performance Tech Motorsports Goes Seven-For-Eight In The 2017 WeatherTech Championship
One race after clinching the WeatherTech Championship Prototype Challenge (PC) class title, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 team of James French, Patricio O’Ward and Kyle Masson came within five hours of completing a historic sweep of all eight PC races in the class’ final season due to an incident.
The trio still came away with a third-place trophy, and will add more hardware to their trophy case in Monday night’s WeatherTech Night of Champions when they pick up the WeatherTech Championship PC season championship, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
It was an outstanding season for the No. 38 team, which hadn’t won a WeatherTech Championship race prior to 2017. But they changed that in a big way right from the get-go this year with dominating victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida setting the tone for their championship run.
“We’re definitely super, super happy,” O’Ward said. “I mean, it was a bummer that we couldn’t get the last one. We were one race off of a perfect season, but it was great. The bad luck had to come sometime and a bunch of bad things happened this race. We’ve just got to own it. It’s part of racing and you have to learn how to win or lose. We’d won every single race, we got every fastest lap, almost every pole.
“I’m actually happy with how it went. I’m looking forward to next season. I’m want to be in a P car, so hopefully that becomes true.”
It wasn’t just race victories for the team, either. French built up quite a collection of TOTAL Pole Award hats, taking seven of eight this season, with only the Sebring pole going to another competitor, Gustavo Yacaman.
“In general, it’s a good way to go out,” French said. “We couldn’t ask for more than a championship. We really were hoping for the perfect season, though. We were so close. We just got caught up in that little incident. Through all the races, they were just a blast. We had great camaraderie between the three of us, Kyle and Pato, and with everybody on the team. We had really good results and a great time doing it.”
Posted 15 October 2017 - 11:50
Šteta što nisam ovo gledao, Tojote uzele 1-2 u Fudžiju
Toyota scores bizarre Fuji 1-2 victory
Toyota have scored one of the most bizarre 1-2 victories at the 6 Hours of Fuji despite challenging Porsche on merit amidst a backdrop of race stops and restarts due to poor race visibility. The win closing the championship to 39 points.
With light rain falling, the 6 Hours of Fuji started with numerous laps under the safety car – much like it did two years ago – but with many drivers complaining of zero visibility down the straight. At 60km/h this might be a challenge, but at 250km/h you’d want some pretty decent insurance.
When the safety car did eventually come in, as low zone was enforced from turn 15 to turn 1 to start the race in a controlled manner. When the field was allowed to get on with business, Buemi dove inside Lotterer for 2nd, removing the Porsches dive-plane and exposing Lotter to Kobayashi in the process.
The battle behind allowed Bamber to pull out a three-second lead in the number 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, but would settle down to half that once everyone had made their own arrangements. In LMP2, Bruno Senna had bolted in the number 31 Vaillante Rebellion to lead the two Jackie Chan DC Racing entries of Alex Brundle and Oliver Jarvis.
A spin from Nelson Piquet in the second Rebellion caused a mix-up in the GTE Pro field, allowing Keita Sawa to pull an extraordinary seven second lead in the GTE Am field while the factory Porsche’s of Richard Leitz and Michael Christensen were in the top three positions, split by the number 67 Ford GT of Harry Tincknell.
Sebastien Buemi was complaining of traction issues, with the Toyota crew asking what they could do to assist in the Swiss driver’s pursuit of Bamber. The predominant issue however was traffic, with visibility lower than John Carpenter’s cinematographer. Kobayashi wasn’t fairing any better in third, now fourteen second behind the leader.
Back in LMP2, Nicolas Lapierre won an intense arm wrestle with Alex Brundle to seize 2nd in class, however with visibility getting worse, Race Director Eduardo Freitas enforced a yellow flag zone on the main straight. This was communicated to drivers on the radio as seeing the flags was an issue in itself!
Lotterer was now enjoying more grip than Kobayashi, who was struggling to apply power in the TS050 Hybrid. Despite dome robust defence from the Japanese driver, Lotterer was able to slot the number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid into third place.
With precipitation reaching overload and low cloud encroaching fast at the 1 hour mark, the safety car was brought out to bring a little sanity to proceedings. As such most took the opportunity to gain a free pit, stop for fresh wets while the LMP2 field would require extra fuel regardless. Lotterer would take the opportunity to change a front nose due to the damage sustained during his first-lap battle with Buemi.
Twenty minutes later and the race was red-flagged and the field would reassemble on the main straight to await further instruction – or the good grace of Mount Fuji-San.
The pit-stops allowed Matthia Lauda, who had not yet pitted, to gain an unexpected GTE Am lead in the number 98 Aston Martin and should the race not restart, a potential victory. After thirty minutes, the field was given the all clear to restart – primarily due to the better drainage from 2013 where only fifteen laps were completed.
As the safety car peeled off, leader Earl Bamber took the opportunity to pit whilst the slow zone was still enacted on the main straight, this left Stefan Mucke’ number 66 LM GTE Pro Ford effectively leading the queue. Mucke and the number 51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi would resume their battle for the lead in that class, with Guidi briefly scything down the inside of the Ford but having to hand back the place after going off track.
Up front, Nakajima and Lopez were doing the business for Toyota after the race stoppage with Porsche having been penalised heavily in the process. Neel Jani was now 40 seconds off the leader with the sister Porsche of Timo Bernhard struggling with rear grip and some three seconds off the ultimate pace. Within a few laps, Nakajima had lapped Bernhard to inflict some more psychological damage on the current World Championship leader.
The number 25 Manor of Simon Trummer was the first real victim of the race, spinning into the tyre wall at Turn 15 and sustaining frontal damage, however the team would get the car repaired and turned around in record time. At the same time the number 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry of Alex Brundle was in the garage for repairs for a potential battery issue.
Visibility would once again force a safety car and give Toyota a chance to change the steering wheel on the number 7, TS050, the wheel seemingly not to Jose Maria Lopez’s approval. At the restart, Nakajima wasted no time in getting the hammer down to maintain his nineteen second lead over Nick Tandy in the number 2 Porsche.
Poor visibility and a few on track incidents would plague the remainder of the race; the first being a huge off for Matthias Beche in the number 13 Rebellion entry which saw the Oreca clip the barriers end-to-end and bring out another safety car incident. Not long after, the number 76 Ford and number 92 Porsche would shake up the LM GTE Pro order after having a coming together.
The final nail would however come in the form of another red flag period due to poor visibility - Kazuki Nakajima one who doubted the race should be restarted. The race leader may have had a vested interest, but to be fair, conditions were the worst they’d been all day when drivers such as Sam Bird were already questioning continuing.
Most expected to be called at 75% distance with full race points awarded. However, with ten minutes left on the clock, race control called for a restart – startling those who’d already made their way to the car park for the trip back to Gotemba.
They needn’t have bothered, with fog once again rolling in and cancelling the restart. All being equal, the race was won by the number 7 TS050 Hybrid of Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and the returning Anthony Davidson. It would be a 1-2 for Toyota, being backed up by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez. Third was the number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy.
LMP2 was won by the number 31 Vaillante Rebellion of Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna, followed by the number 36 Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre and Andrea Nagrao. Third was Mighty 38 Jackie Chan DC entry of Ho Pin Tung and Oliver Jarvis.
In LM GTE Pro, AF Corse struck back to seal victory in the hands of James Calado Alessandro Pier Guidi ahead of the number 91 and 92 Porsches of Fred Mackoweicki/Richard Leitz and Kevin Estre/Michael Christensen.
Miguel Molina, Thomas Flohr and Franceco Castellacci took LM TE Am honours in the Spirit of Race Ferrari ahead of Matt Griffin/Keita Sawa/Weng Sun Mok and the Dempsey Proton entry of Marvin Dienst and Christian Ried.