Quick but unhappy this season, Chip Ganassi Racing scored a breakthrough at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Saturday at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, with Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande leading all but two of the 66 laps to the Cadillac No. VR won its first triumph at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic ended in a sprint race over two laps. Bill Auberlen, second in the GTD, suddenly lost power in the number 96 BMW from Turner Motorsport just 10 minutes before the end and provided the event with the second warning.
That was given by Felipe Nasr in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac with the number 31, started by Pipo Derani, who was barely second during his entire stint, another chance for van der Zande. The first two pulled away when the green flag waved. Nasr went slightly sideways at one point, which allowed the Ganassi Cadillac to get some breath and win in 0.573 seconds.
“We were the pace at Daytona and Sebring, and now we’ve finished with a one-two “Said van der Zande, referring to Marcus Ericsson’s win in the NTT IndyCar Series before the IMSA event. “Kevin [Magnussen] is a damn good teammate, I’ll tell you.”
The IndyCar race was slowed down by two red flags that delayed the start of the IMSA event by an hour.
“Me I longed for his victory, “said Magnussen. “We have led a number of laps this year, but no wins. It was overdue and the whole team had a great day. It was hot today and I forgot to turn on my helmet fan. ”
Rounding out the podium was the Konica Minolta Acura No. 10 by Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, despite struggling with an unknown mechanical problem. Albuquerque was 4,028 seconds back at the checkered flag, but managed to keep Oliver Jarvis’ Mazda No. 55 in third place.
The race turned yellow after just eight minutes because of an incident between three GTD cars, what resulted in an 11-minute slowdown that changed the complexion of the race. Suddenly the fuel strategy dominated the conversation in the pit lane – did the DPi teams only make it at one stop?
Magnussen drove to the pits 47 minutes before the end, while van der Zande pitted at Ricky Taylor’s pit stop the top drove. At that point Nasr began to flash his headlights on Ganassi’s gray Cadillac. Van der Zande handled traffic like a maestro, frustrating Nasr while he was a thin head start. At that time, fuel consumption was still relatively unknown, which drew some attention to the battle for third place between Albuquerque, Jarvis and Loic Duval in the number 5 Mustang Sampling / JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac.
However, the incident in Auberlen came down forgot the fuel strategy as the event turned into a sprint.
GT Daytona also had a dominant winner as Richard Heistand and Jeff Westphal with the Audi R8 LMS from Peregrine Racing all but two laps on CarBahn No. 39 cited. The team developed by Steve Dinan was only competing for the second time and saw Westphal, who beat Ross Gunn by 5.713 seconds to the checkered flag.
After the race, IMSA moved the Audi with the No. 39 to the end of the field before, after a post-race audit showed that the participant had a faster refueling time than the minimum full refueling time in the class-specific BoP table.
This gave Gunn and co-driver Roman De Angelis the GTD victory in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 No. 23 Heart of Racing. The triumph also extended the lead in the IMSA Sprint Cup, with team no. 39 losing second place in the overall standings due to the penalty. The late warning provided for a split GTD field behind the pace car, and as time was running out, Gunn could not approach the Audi in front of the green flag.
“A win is a win,” said De Angelis , the 20-year-old who grew up in the suburbs of Windsor just across the Canadian border from Detroit and was on his home track for the first time. “Whether after the race or during the race, it is always said that we won the Detroit Grand Prix in 2021. I’ve always dreamed of winning an IMSA race, let alone participating in one.
“To say that we won the Detroit Grand Prix and that the Heart of Racing is finally getting its first race with the Aston Martin won is just amazing, ”added De Angelis, who was competing in his 13th series race. “I can’t be more proud or happier of the whole team. It’s so amazing to do it in front of pretty much my home crowd. ”
“ We didn’t expect Detroit to be our best track, but we made up ground and the team did a great job adjusting the car done, ”said Gunn. “Of course, it’s not the circumstances in which you want your first IMSA win, but a win is a win. We are very happy and would like to take this momentum with us to Watkins Glen. The Sprint Cup championship is just as important as any championship, ”said Gunn. “Every strong position that we can achieve, the better. So far we’ve had a good season, we haven’t made a lot of mistakes. Very, very proud of this team. I came here with really high expectations of what I saw last year and they exceeded it in many ways. ”
On penalties, Marco Mapelli and Misha Goikhberg moved up in the GRT Grasser 19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 GT3 Racing teams one lap behind in second place, followed by Marc Miller and Timm Bechtolsheimer from Michigan in the number 66 Acura NSX GT3.
Since GTD was racing for Sprint Cup points, GTLM was an exhibition class for both of them Corvette Racing participant. Tommy Milner came home as the winner in the No. 4 C8.R started by Nick Tandy, beating Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 by 0.226 seconds.
The first full course warning came less than six Minutes after the start of the competition, when Rob Ferriol in the Porsche 911 GT3R from Team Hardpoint EBM with starting number 88 / Richard Mille had contact with Michael de Queseda in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 28. The only Porsche in the field suffered a serious front damage on the right and was eliminated from the event.
Shortly after the race was restarted, Frankie Montecalvo spun in the Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 No. 12 in Turn 3 after a slight contact with Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Montecalvo had to visit a run-off zone to be turned back and then re-entered the event, which stayed under green. Snow then served a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.
Jack Hawksworth cut a tire while finishing fourth in the # 14 Lexus with 48 minutes remaining, shedding any hope of a front-to-back drive. He returned to the race in seventh and eventually finished fourth.
UP NEXT: In two weeks, the WeatherTech Championship will play in consecutive weekends at Watkins Glen International. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – Round 3 of the Michelin Endurance Cup – are scheduled for Sunday June 27th. The following Friday (July 2nd) IMSA will return to Sprint Cup mode with the WeatherTech 240 at the WGI at 6 p.m.
J. J. O’Malley became Chris Economaki’s news editor in 1977, starting a career spanning all facets of motorsport in many functions. He worked for Watkins Glen International for 14 years; followed by four seasons at Homestead-Miami Speedway; News Editor at ISC Publications (now Edgeset Marketing); and communications manager for Grand-Am and IMSA. He is currently writing his 13th book on racing – a history of the Daytona prototype – and reporting on events for RACER.com, Edgeset Marketing and Sunday Group Management. O’Malley is an honorary member of the renowned Road Racing Drivers Club.
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