Dane Cameron and Eric Curran took a surprise victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, ahead of JDC-Miller Motorsports and Tequila Parton ESM. Never looking like a serious contender, the Whelen Engineering Cadillac survived a sudden downpour to be in a position to take advantage of others’ misfortune.
From the start the race looked like a straight fight between the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA, with the two cars swapping the lead through traffic and pit stops. The yellow ORECA was able to catch and pass the Cadillac, but quick pit work by the WTR crew kept giving them the lead back.
The race went from exciting to crazy with 50 minutes to go. With the field under yellow for a stopped car, the heavens opened at the back of the circuit. The JDC-Miller ORECA chose to switch to Continental wet tyres, whilst the #10 gambled with slicks. The sister Action Express Cadillacs mirrored the Wayne Taylor crew and attempted to survive on slicks.
The Cadillac gamble paid off and as the race went green the track began to dry. Within 5 laps the track was dry enough that the slick shod Cadillacs were catching the cars which went with wets and took the lead when the others were forced to pit. This left Cadillac 1-2-3, with Wayne Taylor Racing have a seemingly unassailable 22 second lead of the Action Express pair.
However the simple cruise to the victory wasn’t to be, as Jordan Taylor went 3-wide in GTLM traffic, making contact with a Corvette and spinning off into the tyres. The damage was relatively minor but would require the rear deck to be replaced, costing WTR the win and relegating them to 7th.
Forced to fight back from the earlier pit stop, Stephen Simpson set about retaking his podium place from Joao Barbosa’s Cadillac. Simpson boxed Barbosa in behind a GTLM car under-braking for T3, when Joao turned into the side of the ORECA. Simpson continued on, but spun and dropped out of the podium.
There was one final twist to come, as the rain returned with only 5 minutes left on the clock. Nobody was going to pit at this point and everyone was left to survive on slicks. With seconds left on the clock, the #52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier left the road at high speed at Turn 8. The car hit the tyres and barrel rolled onto its roof, bringing out the final caution and ending the race under yellow. David Ostella climbed out of the car unharmed.
The results will read that a Cadillac won again, but the race reports are far from that simple. This marks the first win of 2017 for the Whelen Engineering crew, but also proves that the Watkins Glen performance of the JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA was not a one-off. How long until the yellow ORECA 07 sits on the top step of the podium?