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Charles Bradley

Petit Le Mans IMSA: MSR wins, Cadillac scoops title after Acura clash

Meyer Shank Racing’s Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun and Helio Castroneves won the race at Road Atlanta, in the team’s final event with Acura, as Action Express Racing’s Cadillac V-Series.R of Derani and Alexander Sims scooped the GTP championship, aided by Jack Aitken.

Ten hours earlier, Acura’s Louis Deletraz led the 54-car field to the green around the undulating 2.54-mile road course in Georgia, but Sebastien Bourdais took little time in taking the lead, sweeping his Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac around the outside of the Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-06 at Turn 1.

After a series of yellow flags, the first coming in just the third minute, a hugely significant moment occurred in Hour 2, when a multi-car crash on the approach to the downhill Turn 10 chicane saw Porsche’s title contender Nick Tandy taken out following a clash between the #20 High Class Racing LMP2 car of Dennis Andersen and the #023 Triarsi Ferrari GTD of Charles Scardina, a shunt that also involved the #70 Inception McLaren GTD entry of Brendan Iribe.

The #6 car returned to the race many laps down, but Laurens Vanthoor suffered another crash at the Esses in hour seven, which damaged the car even more.

That narrowed the field of title contenders, and the pendulum swung towards Acura when Albuquerque passed Aitken with two hours remaining to snatch the points lead, only for Aitken to grab it back just 15 minutes later when Albuquerque tripped over an LMP2 car.

The truly controversial moment came with just over an hour to go, as Albuquerque got a run on Derani towards Turn 1 and made his move around the outside, but he found Derani in no mood to give him any space, and Albuquerque got shoved onto the exit kerb and plunged head-on at high speed into the tirewall.

Albuquerque was in audible pain via the onboard camera and he had to be helped to the AMR Safety Team’s vehicle to be taken to the medical center and then on to hospital. The crash caused the race’s 11th caution, and Race Control reviewed the collision but took no action despite Albuquerque clearly having his nose in front from Derani’s onboard.

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-LMDh Cadillac V- LMDh: Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims, Jack Aitken (Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images)

The other Acura, of Meyer Shank Racing, was delayed at the start of the third hour, when Blomqvist was right on Deletraz’s tail in the lead battle but was sent into the pits for suspension repairs after being hit by the #1 BMW GTD car at the exit of the chicane.

But Blomqvist’s team-mate Braun grabbed the lead from Renger van der Zande (who shared the CGR Caddy with Bourdais and Scott Dixon) straight after the penultimate restart.

Van der Zande had stayed out during the yellow for the Albuquerque crash with 40mins to go, and although he dropped back by 3s to save fuel, he closed right up before the final sequence of yellows that effectively ended the race prematurely.

The 10-hour race came down to a 5m30s restart, with Braun leading van der Zande, Harry Tincknell (Proton Porsche) and Matt Campbell in the works Penske-run 963, but Jan Heylen’s GTD class Porsche erupted in flames after a multi-car collision before the green flag to effectively end the race and season.

Derani finished sixth to claim the title but only after a light touch late on with the other title contender, the #25 BMW of Connor De Phillippi, Nick Yelloly and Sheldon van der Linde. They had previous clashed hours earlier when van der Linde hit Sims as they both ran a red light at the end of the pitlane.

Jenson Button finished fifth on his IMSA debut with JDC Miller MotorSport’s Porsche 963, along with Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm.

#04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR Oreca LMP2 07: George Kurtz, Ben Hanley, Nolan Siegel (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

In LMP2, TDS Racing’s Steven Thomas led Ben Keating initially but PR1/Mathiasen ace Keating got ahead and stayed there, despite a quick spin towards the end of the opening hour.

Alex Quinn took over the #52 PR1 car from Keating and the car held the lead for the majority of the race. But Quinn suffered a spin at Turn 10 after a clash over the lead with the #18 Era Motorsport machine of Christian Rasmussen inside the final two hours, and only just managed to extricate himself from the gravel.

Rasmussen and Ben Hanley (Crowdstrike by APR) fought out the class win between them, with Hanley crucially getting ahead after the penultimate yellow. Rasmussen crashed out in the Esses with just 13 minutes remaining, handing second to the TDS car of Giedo van der Garde, John Falb and Josh Pierson.

Hanley won by less than a second, partnered by George Kurtz and Nolan Siegel.

The #11 TDS car lost its title hopes when Mikkel Jensen shunted the car into the tires at the bottom of the Esses just before sunset.

In the minnow LMP3 prototype class, Glenn van Barlo led for Andretti Autosport from the start but Cameron Shields soon took up the running for Performance Tech Motorsports.

There was even action before the green flag in this class, when Indy NXT racer Rasmus Lindh crashed the frontrunning #85 Duqueine LMP3 car seconds after leaving the dummy grid, substantially damaging its rear end.

The #74 Riley crew of Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga were confirmed as champions in the closing stages, but Fraga had lost top spot to Garett Grist in the #30 Jr III car when he was assaulted by Matt Bell’s AWA car at Turn 10, sending him into the pits.

Grist, and team-mates Bijoy Garg and Dakota Dickerson, won the class by 1.4s from Bell.

#79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon, Maro Engel (Photo by: Art Fleischmann)

Ian James led the charge in GTD initially in his Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage but quickly came under attack from Jack Hawksworth in the Lexus, which was crowned as class champion as it took the start.

Just before half distance, however, the Lexus was taken out when Ben Barnicoat went off and smashed the nose of the car across the damp infield in the Esses. Bizarrely, both GTD champions wouldn’t see the finish, as the pro-am #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW also retired.

GTD Pro came down to a shootout between Dani Juncadella (WeatherTech Mercedes) and Kevin Estre (Pfaff Motorsports Porsche), with Juncadella hanging on through the disrupted finish.

Among the pro-am GTD runners, the #78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan of Misha Goikhberg, Loris Spinelli and Patrick Liddy took victory over the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW.

Driver Info
Cla Drivers # Chassis Laps Time Interval Pits Points Retirement
1 United Kingdom T. Blomqvist United States C. Braun Brazil H. Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian 60 Acura ARX-06 397 -   14    
2 France S. Bourdais Netherlands R. van der Zande New Zealand S. Dixon Cadillac Racing 01 Cadillac V-LMDh 397 +0.452 0.452 11    
3 United Kingdom H. Tincknell Italy G. Bruni Switzerland N. Jani Proton Competition 59 Porsche 963 397 +1.077 0.625 14    
4 Australia M. Campbell Brazil F. Nasr United States J. Newgarden Porsche Penske Motorsport 7 Porsche 963 397 +1.825 0.748 12    
5 Netherlands T. van der Helm Germany M. Rockenfeller United Kingdom J. Button JDC/Miller Motorsports 5 Porsche 963 397 +2.165 0.340 13    
6 Brazil P. Derani United Kingdom A. Sims United Kingdom J. Aitken Action Express Racing 31 Cadillac V-LMDh 397 +2.927 0.762 14    
7 United States C. de Phillippi United Kingdom N. Yelloly South Africa S. Van Der Linde BMW M Team RLL 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 397 +4.275 1.348 18    
8 Austria P. Eng Brazil A. Farfus Germany M. Wittmann BMW M Team RLL 24 BMW M Hybrid V8 397 +4.839 0.564 16    
9 United States G. Kurtz United Kingdom B. Hanley
N. Siegel Crowdstrike Racing by APR
04 ORECA 07 391 6 laps   16    
10 United States J. Falb Netherlands G. van der Garde United States J. Pierson TDS Racing 35 ORECA 07 391 6 laps   16    
11 United States B. Keating France P. Chatin
A. Quinn PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports
52 ORECA 07 391 6 laps   18    
12 France F. Perrodo France M. Vaxiviere France E. Collard Af Corse 88 ORECA 07 390 7 laps   23    
dnf United States D. Merriman United Kingdom R. Dalziel
C. Rasmussen Era Motorsport
18 ORECA 07 383 14 laps   15   Retirement
14 Denmark D. Andersen United Arab Emirates E. Jones Denmark A. Fjordbach High Class Racing 20 ORECA 07 381 16 laps   15    
N. Siegel
B. Garg
Canada G. Grist Jr III Racing
30 Ligier JS P320 379 18 laps   12    
16 Canada O. Fidani United Kingdom M. Bell Germany L. Kern AWA 13 Duqueine M30-D08 379 18 laps   15    
17 United States G. Robinson Brazil F. Fraga Australia J. Burdon Riley Motorsports 74 Ligier JS P320 379 18 laps   17    
18 Spain D. Juncadella France J. Gounon Germany M. Engel WeatherTech Racing 79 Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo 370 27 laps   13    
19 Austria K. Bachler France P. Pilet France K. Estre Pfaff Motorsports 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R 370 27 laps   15    
20 Canada M. Goikhberg Italy L. Spinelli
P. Liddy US RaceTronics
78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 370 27 laps   13    
21 United States P. Gallagher United States R. Foley United States M. Dinan Turner Motorsport 96 BMW M4 GT3 370 27 laps   12    
22 United States A. Brynjolfsson United States T. Hindman United States M. Root Wright Motorsports 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R 370 27 laps   13    
23 Italy A. Pier Guidi Brazil D. Serra Italy D. Rigon Risi Competizione 62 Ferrari 296 GT3 370 27 laps   10    
24 United States D. Brule United States A. Udell France J. Andlauer Kellymoss with Riley 92 Porsche 911 GT3 R 370 27 laps   16    
25 Canada R. De Angelis Denmark M. Sorensen United Kingdom I. James Heart Of Racing Team 27 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 370 27 laps   14    
26 United States M. Skeen Canada M. Grenier United States K. Koch Team Korthoff Motorsports 32 Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo 370 27 laps   10    
27 United States B. Auberlen United States C. Hull United States T. Merrill Turner Motorsport 97 BMW M4 GT3 370 27 laps   12    
28 United States P. Hyett
S. Priaulx
United States G. Jeannette AO Racing
80 Porsche 911 GT3 R 370 27 laps   12    
29 United Kingdom R. Gunn Spain A. Riberas United Kingdom D. Pittard Heart Of Racing Team 23 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 370 27 laps   10    
30 United States R. Ward Switzerland P. Ellis Netherlands I. Dontje Winward Racing 57 Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo 370 27 laps   13    
31 France S. Mann Spain M. Molina United Kingdom J. Calado Af Corse 61 Ferrari 296 GT3 370 27 laps   14    
32 O. Triarsi
C. Scardina
Italy A. Rovera Triarsi Competizione
023 Ferrari 296 GT3 370 27 laps   16    
33 United States A. Balogh New Zealand S. McLaughlin United States K. Simpson Tower Motorsport 8 ORECA 07 369 28 laps   16    
dnf United States R. Hardwick Canada Z. Robichon Belgium J. Heylen Wright Motorsports 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R 367 30 laps   12   Retirement
35 Switzerland R. Frey Belgium S. Bovy France D. Pin Iron Dames 83 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 367 30 laps   14    
dnf Italy M. Bortolotti South Africa J. Pepper
F. Perera Iron Lynx
63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 366 31 laps   13   Retirement
dnf United States R. Taylor Portugal J. Barbosa Switzerland L. Deletraz Konica Minolta Acura 10 Acura ARX-06 365 32 laps   10   Retirement
38 Italy R. Lacorte Italy G. Sernagiotto Italy A. Fuoco Cetilar Racing 47 Ferrari 296 GT3 364 33 laps   13    
39 United States T. Bechtolsheimer D. Goldburg Sweden R. Lindh JDC/Miller Motorsports 85 Duqueine M30-D08 359 38 laps   14    
40 United States A. Harrison Costa Rica D. Formal Canada K. Marcelli Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR 93 Acura NSX GT3 355 42 laps   12    
S. Monk
United Kingdom K. Legge United States M. Miller Gradient Racing
66 Acura NSX GT3 323 74 laps   11   Retirement
dnf United States F. Montecalvo United States A. Telitz Canada P. Thompson Vasser Sullivan 12 Lexus RC F GT3 304 93 laps   12   Retirement
dnf United States J. Potter United States A. Lally United States S. Pumpelly Magnus Racing 44 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 298 99 laps   12   Retirement
dnf United States S. Thomas Denmark M. Jensen United States S. Huffaker TDS Racing 11 ORECA 07 262 135 laps   10   Retirement
dnf B. Thienes
J. Woolridge
Australia C. Shields Performance Tech Motorsports
38 Ligier JS P320 221 176 laps   10   Retirement
dnf United States B. Sellers United States M. Snow United States C. Lewis Paul Miller Racing 1 BMW M4 GT3 207 190 laps   13   Retirement
dnf United Kingdom N. Tandy France M. Jaminet Belgium L. Vanthoor Porsche Penske Motorsport 6 Porsche 963 196 201 laps   10   Retirement
dnf Spain A. Garcia United States J. Taylor United States T. Milner Corvette Racing 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD 189 208 laps   4   Retirement
dnf United Kingdom J. Hawksworth United Kingdom B. Barnicoat United States K. Kirkwood Vasser Sullivan 14 Lexus RC F GT3 153 244 laps   4   Retirement
dnf Canada A. Mantella United Kingdom W. Boyd
N. Varrone AWA
17 Duqueine M30-D08 118 279 laps   7   Retirement
dnf United States J. Andretti Colombia G. Chaves
G. van Andretti Autosport
36 Ligier JS P320 85 312 laps   8   Retirement
dnf United States B. Iribe Switzerland F. Schandorff United Kingdom O. Millroy Inception Racing 70 McLaren 720S GT3 44 353 laps   2   Retirement
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