Petit Le Mans Resources

In 2014 the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series combined forces to form, what was then called, the United Sports Car Championship. A challenging few years followed the as the new shape IMSA attempted to balance the ALMS Le Mans Prototypes and the Grand Am Daytona Prototypes. It was less than ideal, but it was a transitional period as IMSA worked on its plan for the future – the Daytona Prototype International.

The first year of the DPi is coming to a close, and whilst it’s not without issue, I think we can all agree it is a success story. Factory backed efforts from Cadillac, Nissan and Mazda are due to be joined by Acura in 2018. Motorsport giants Penske and Joest are both involved in the factory cars. Rumours are continually flying about Lamborghinis, Bentleys, McLarens and even Hyundai potentially joining the Prototype class. DPi started strong and is still growing.

The privateer class, made up of ACO LMP2s, can be considered healthy too. CORE Autosport are stepping up from the Prototype Challenge class with the Oreca 07, and established European teams such as United Autosport, DragonSpeed, Rebellion and Graff Racing are evaluating Daytona and Sebring efforts.

Combine the growing Prototype class with the continuously strong GTLM class, and the massive GTD grid, the new look IMSA can be considered a huge success. Petit Le Mans will act as the championship decider in 3 out of the 4 classes. Here’s some things to keep in mind on the run up to the 10 hour event.

Rebellion Petit Le Mans
Photo: Rebellion

Petit Le Mans Preview

» Konica Minolta (Wayne Taylor Racing) lead the championship with their Cadillac DPi-V.R. The #10 car sits on 288 points, with the Action Express Racing entries on 259 and 258 points. 35 points for a win means either Action Express Racing Caddy can win the title, but it will take problems for the #10 Konica Minolta car.

» Rebellion are back! The Swiss team ran at Daytona and Sebring but ran into teething problems with the brand new Oreca 07. Those days are long gone, which puts Rebellion in a strong position to take the win. Heidfeld and Beche will be joined by Gustavo Menezes for Petit.

» Penske will run an Oreca 07 in preparation for the 2018 Acura campaign. In true Penske style, the driver line-up is impressive with Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud piloting the car. Montoya is a Daytona 24 winner, whilst Castroneves and Pagenaud both have Petit Le Mans class wins to their name.

» Visit Florida Racing grabbed the first victory for an LMP2 car in IMSA at the previous race at Laguna Seca. An Alex Zanardi style dive down into the corkscrew by Renger Van Der Zande snatched the lead from the #5 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. The improving performance of the LMP2 cars against the DPi field puts Rebellion and Penske in a strong position.

» Petit Le Mans will be the final race for the Prototype Challenge class. Introduced in 2010, the class was designed to boost entry list numbers to the struggling American Le Mans Series. The Oreca FLM09 is based on a Courage LC75 LMP2 chassis and fitted with a Chevrolet engine. The class ensured acceptable grid numbers during rougher times for American sports car racing.

» #3 Chevrolet Corvette leads the GTLM standings. #67 Ford, #66 Ford and the #25 25 BMW are all around 20 points behind the Corvette, making it all to play for. IMSA regulations have a habit of keeping cars on the lead lap, so watch for the usual GTLM boxing match as the clock ticks down.

» #63 Scuderia Corse leads the GTD standings by 26 points over the #33 Riley Mercedes. The Ferrari has had a strong consistent year, taking the cars first victory of 2017 at Laguna Seca. The 26 point gap is big, but not insurmountable.

» The race will be live streamed to an international audience via American viewers can watch all the action on FS1 and FS2.

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.