If a single race is a battle, and the sequence season championship is the struggle, the 4 groups that received the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship titles had been fortunate they’d a stable year-long battle plan, as a result of they had been just about outgunned Saturday within the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Street Atlanta.
Actually, there wasn’t a single nail-biting, last-race battle for the championship in any of the 4 courses.
In Prototype, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing/Konica Minolta Cadillac had a stunningly good begin, profitable the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, then Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, then the following three races in a row. Sadly, they didn’t win once more in 2017. However fortuitously, drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor banked sufficient factors to hold them to their first season championship, regardless of a depressing Petit, the place the workforce completed 37th within the 39-car subject after the engine failed. It was the primary championship for the brothers, and would be the final, because it’s rumored Ricky Taylor could also be transferring on for 2018.
In Prototype Problem, the lame-duck class that received’t return subsequent 12 months, the championship went to the No. 38 Efficiency Tech workforce — two months in the past. Good factor, because the workforce completed third in a three-car subject after a trouble-plagued 10 hours at Petit, which started with an early-race crash for driver Kyle Masson, and ended with a number of spins by teammate James French that made the usually well-oiled Efficiency Tech workforce appear like a bunch of amateurs.
Masson, by the way, additionally received one other championship this season, within the IMSA Prototype Problem Offered by Mazda’s MPC title, which he wrapped up method again in August. The IMSA Prototype Problem is a assist sequence that usually races on the identical weekends because the headlining WeatherTech sequence, and closed its season at Street Atlanta as a prelude to Petit.
In GT Le Mans, the No. 25 Crew RLL received its class at Petit, a pleasant sendoff for the BMW M6 GTLM in its last race. Will probably be changed subsequent season by the brand new BMW M8. However the season championship went to the No. three Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. That workforce had the perfect exhibiting of the 4 class champions at Petit, scoring a second-place end, with visitor endurance driver Mike Rockenfeller. The Corvette completed 1.060 seconds behind the BMW Crew RLL automobile, which is co-owned by Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, (lengthy)-bearded funnyman David Letterman, and Mike Lanigan, proprietor of Mi-Jack, “The business chief and innovator in rubber-tired gantry crane manufacturing, gross sales, service and assist.”
And in GT Daytona, the Petit winner was the darkhorse No. 29 Land Audi R8 LMS, however the championship went to the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen, for the second straight 12 months.
Once more, it was a great factor the Ferrari workforce had constructed up a giant factors lead previous to Petit, as a result of they’d a horrible race, ending 27th total and ninth in school after quite a lot of issues, starting from a crash to a damaged axle, all of which took helpful time to restore.
Nielsen raced her method into the file books together with her 2016 championship, the primary for a feminine driver in a serious American sports activities automobile sequence. She and veteran Balzan made a great workforce, however the partnership ended at Petit, as Nielsen received’t be again for 2018, and it’s potential Balzan received’t, both. It’s a part of a Prancing Horse shakeup that reportedly has the No. 50 GT Daytona WeatherTech Racing workforce, owned by David MacNeil, proprietor of sequence sponsor WeatherTech, transferring to Ferrari subsequent 12 months.
The workforce, which incorporates MacNeil’s son Cooper as a driver, started this season racing a Mercedes AMG GT3, then moved again to its acquainted Porsche 911 GT3 R for the ultimate few races after IMSA officers added substantial weight to all of the Mercedes automobiles as a part of the sequence’ “Stability of Efficiency” initiative, which modifies the principles to decelerate the quickest producers’ automobiles, velocity up the slower ones, to ensure a degree enjoying subject, and hopefully nearer finishes.
The WeatherTech Porsche workforce completed Petit 39th and final, because the transmission shredded after simply 15 laps (the race winner ran 402) with Cooper MacNeil driving.
Gallery: Behind the scenes on the 2017 IMSA Motul Petit Le Mans
PETIT WINNER HELPS YOU SPEED IT UP: Scottish sports activities automobile ace Ryan Dalziel, a part of the Motul Petit Le Mans-winning No. 2 Tequila Patron Excessive Pace Nissan Prototype workforce, has additionally received the Rolex 24 at Daytona total, and has class wins within the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Dalziel can be thought to be a very efficient driver’s coach, having had a number of success in serving to educate a few of his much less skilled gentlemen-racer co-drivers on previous groups to drive at a startling excessive degree.
The 35-year-old racer has simply launched a brand new web site, RaceCarCoaches.com, to assist novice race automobile drivers discover skilled coaches not solely with particular areas of experience, however in particular areas normally — positioned both close to the novice racer’s house, or close to particular tracks that the novice desires to grasp.
The skilled coaches pay a charge to be included within the website’s listings, however it’s free for the shopper. Among the many 29 driver coaches already listed: Andy Lally (Georgia), Jonathan Bomarito (California), Peter Krause (Virginia), Terry Borcheller (Florida), Dion von Moltke (South Carolina), Ross Bentley (Washington) and Daniel Morad (Ontario, Canada).
ANOTHER BIG U.S. ENDURANCE RACE: When you’ve by no means heard of the SRO Intercontinental GT Problem California eight Hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, there’s a great purpose: The race has by no means run earlier than. And the monitor has by no means hosted a professional race that lengthy.
The California eight Hours, set for this Sunday, October 15, is the third spherical of the 2017 Intercontinental GT Problem, having already run at Spa and Bathurst. It’s the brainchild of French race promoter Stephane Ratel, founding father of the SRO Motorsports Group which organizes, amongst others, the Blancpain GT Sequence. It’s the first-ever North American spherical of what basically is a world GT3 and GT4 championship.
Entries vary from acquainted automobiles like RealTime Racing’s two Acura NSX GT3s, to Audi Sport R8 LMS entries that embody European racers Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase. Eight producers are represented. The race runs from 9:30 a.m. to five:30 p.m., Pacific Time.
It’s a part of a giant weekend that additionally contains the Pirelli World Problem Touring Automobile finals, the Battery Tender International Mazda MX-5 Cup and the Pirelli Porsche GT3 Trophy Cup USA season finale.