Petit Le Mans Resources

ESM Domination

» Although late race penalties had a direct effect on the race result, the win for the #2 was merited. Brendon Hartley posted the second fastest lap of the race, less than a tenth off of team-mate Pipo Dernais time. The fastest non-Nissan was the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac.

» As is now the usual in IMSA NAEC events, Pipo Derani set the fastest lap of the race. Not one for biding his time, Derani took the lead on the opening lap of the race and held it until the first round of pit stops. Contact with a GTLM Ford eventually put the brakes on the #22 challenge for the win.

» The cooler temperatures suited the Nissan more than the other Prototypes. The twin turbo enjoyed the damp conditions at the start and the cool temperatures after sunset. Acura will be running the AR35TT Twin Turbo engine in the AXR-05 for 2018. Something to keep an eye on in January.

» Everybody expected Penske to be fast, but perhaps not that fast. Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves were able to consistently match the leaders throughout most the race. The team managed a podium in their sportscar return, despite a few mid-race stumbles.

» The level of professionalism that Penske showed was impressive. The team are new to the current format of IMSA competition but appeared to know the rules inside out. This allowed them to gain laps back through strategy after having issues.

» Wayne Taylor Racing suffered the first engine failure for the Cadillac DPi-V.R. The #10 slowed just two and a half hours into the race with fluid leaking from the bottom of the car. WTR had come from the back of the Prototype field to lead before the failure.

» A worthy mention goes out to Gustavo Menezes. In his first race for Rebellion, the American put together one of the best Prototype runs in decades. Meneze strung together a series of passes, utilizing traffic to his advantage, and rounded it off with a pass for the lead around the outside of Van Overbeek into turn 1.

» The Rebellion challenge came to a premature end whilst leading, after a tangle with a Prototype Challenge car. Nick Heidfeld was heading up the hill exiting Turn 1 and presumably misjudged the PC car exiting the pits, made contact with the PC Oreca and ended up in the wall.

400 BMW Starts for Auberlen – 151 Victories

» Bill Auberlen made it an impressive 151 victories in 400 starts in his BMW career. Bill credited his BMW team mates for his success.

» GTLM was the usual boxing match, with the cars running nose to tail for the majority of the race. The fastest GTLM laps for each car were all within approximately a quarter of a second of each other, with Risi Competizione setting the classes fastest lap. Interesting to note that IMSA does not use the ACOs Auto-BoP algorithm, and yet has managed close racing. IMSA seem to have a better handle on the BoP process.

» The #4 Corvette endured what you’d described as a “challenging” day. The first incident was a spin after contact with the #67 Ford. Less than an hour later the #4 repeated the incident, but this time without contact. With 3 hours to go, it was time for another off and this time the Corvette collected an advertising board. And then 15 minutes later, the #4 was off the road for the final time. The car recovered to 4th in class, but it won’t be remembered as an ideal race for the team.

» The Risi Ferrari had an interesting race right from the start. The Ferrari 488 seemed to dislike the cold, wet conditions at the start. Risi, like the GTD Ferraris, lost ground to the opposition during the opening hour. Risi also had to deal with an unusual problem with the doors – if the driver’s door was open before the car was raised on the air jacks, the door would pop off the hinges. Race car doors can be fragile!

» Martin Tomczyk was involved in a somewhat questionable incident with the #911 Porsche. Tomczyk, in the #24 BMW, was 24 laps down when he made contact with the #911 Porsche that was attempting to lap him. IMSA objected to the contact and penalised Tomczyk with a 60 second stop and hold for his troubles. Tomczyk later said it was just hard racing.

3 Wins in a day for Land!

» Land Motorsport made it 3 wins in a day with the Petit Le Mans victory. The German team won the DMV GT event at Hockenheim (GT3), Round 8 of the VLN Series (GT3/SP9) and the GTD class at Petit Le Mans.

» Scuderia Corse clung on to take the GTD Championship after an eventful race. The car was involved in an incident in the opening 15 minutes, setting the tone for the rest of the event. Despite accident damage and problems with the axle, the team got the car to the finish, securing the GTD Championship.

Not the smoothest race

» The race was incident packed, to put it politely. In 10 hours there were 14 full course yellow periods. IMSA did their best to avoid throwing the yellow when they could, but in reality there was little they could do.

» Two significant accidents. Gutierrez climbed the tyre wall on the exit of turn 4 in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier. Gutierrez walked away unhurt. The second a heavy impact for the #14 Lexus. Robert Alon hit the tyre barrier on the outside of the final corner, coming to a sudden stop. He also emerged unharmed, but presumably very sore after a violent impact.

» An unusual thing to discuss – advertising boards. On three separate occasions, the advertising boards around the circuit were collected by cars off the road. Twice they were deposited on the racing surface, and the third attached itself to the car securely enough to make it all the way back to pit lane. Advertising is a necessity for motorsport, as it pays the bills – but maybe the boards should not be placed on corner exits, in the firing line of cars having an off track moment.

Engineering student, lover of all things technical and lifelong motorsport fan. Employed in the Oil & Gas Industry, developing Major Emergency Management simulations. Owner of the best beard on the site.