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Continental Tire Monterey Post-Race Notebook

Continental Tire post-race notebook from Monterey…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***While none of the titles were officially clinched on Sunday, all three remaining drivers’ championships have essentially been wrapped up heading into next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans. 

***Ricky and Jordan Taylor now hold a 29-point advantage over new second-place Prototype runners Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, with one of the Wayne Taylor Racing drivers needing to only complete 45 minutes of drive time in the race to claim the championship. The team’s title will go to WTR as long as the car takes the green flag.

***The same is the case for both GT Le Mans and GT Daytona. Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia (19-point lead) and the Scuderia Corsa duo of Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen (26-point lead) can lock up their respective drivers’ titles with the minimum drive time as well. 

***The closest title race heading into the ten-hour season finale is the GTLM Manufacturers’ Championship, which sees Chevrolet with a four-point lead over Ford. Ferrari, meanwhile, has taken a nine-point lead over Mercedes-AMG in the GTD Manufacturers’ Championship, thanks to Balzan and Nielsen’s first class victory of the season and a disappointing outing for the German manufacturer.

***The No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.V-R dropped from third to fifth with three laps to go when Joao Barbosa ran off-course while navigating through traffic. It promoted Jordan Taylor to a podium finish, and saw the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson sneak by to claim fourth.

***Visit Florida Racing’s win, courtesy of Renger van Der Zande’s impressive late-race pass on Dane Cameron at the Corkscrew, marked the team’s first victory since Watkins Glen 2015, and was the first for a LMP2-spec car in the new-look Prototype class.

***It also came less than two weeks after the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based team’s shop suffered flood damage from Hurricane Irma. “Irma put everybody a little bit behind, but Florida is back open,” team owner Troy Flis said. “It was a big challenge to get an LMP2 car to win overall, and I got to give it to these guys, they did a heck of a job.”

***Cameron said he was struggling for grip in the closing stages of the race, after getting caught out on traffic on two occasions. “I felt like I kind of cooked the rear tires a little bit,” he told Sportscar365. “We just didn’t have the pace, so I felt like I was having to take really big risks in traffic and made a couple of bad decisions in the end.”

***The No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM completed a final 1 hour and 16-minute stint en route to victory in GTLM, one minute shorter than Richard Westbrook’s marathon 1 hour and 17-minute fuel run at Laguna Seca last year that saw the Blue Oval claim top class honors.

***GTLM class winner John Edwards rebounded from a spin on the opening lap but later benefitted by a spin by teammate Bill Auberlen in the No. 25 BMW, which brought out the race’s one-and-only full-course caution with 1 hour and 17 minutes to go. It allowed Edwards to pit, just prior to the yellow, for what was his final stop.

***Risi Competizione, which dominated the race, came up less than two-tenths from the class win, after being forced to make an additional stop for fuel with 35 minutes to go. “I gave everything I had,” Toni Vilander said. “I was almost two hours in the car. I think it was down to strategy today. Every time there is a crucial moment, others have more. Today they had more fuel, so what can I tell you.”

***The two BMWs and the No. 66 Ford GT were the only GTLM cars that were able to complete the race on only two stops.

***It was another tough day for the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, which was hit by the GTD pole-sitting No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Madison Snow at the start due to a number of cars checking up for Edwards’ spin. In all, Tommy Milner lost three laps while under the yellow as the team replaced the diffuser.

***Snow, meanwhile, continued with nose damage after the contact but was forced to eventually pit for repairs. He and Sellers rebounded to finish 7th in class, as the highest-placed Lamborghini.

***The GTD class win for Nielsen and Balzan came on the five-year anniversary of Scuderia Corsa’s professional debut, which also came at Laguna Seca in Grand-Am competition in 2012. More than 200 guests from the Los Angeles-based team were on-site this weekend.

***The No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R was the only retirement in the race, with driveshaft failure sidelining Patrick Long in the second hour. The car led early in the hands of co-driver Daniel Morad.

***CORE autosport collected a season-best fourth place class finish for its No. 54 Porsche of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, who led the most laps in the class before being forced to pit for a splash-and-dash with four minutes to go.

Continental Tire Challenge:

***It was a memorable day for both Al Carter and Steven Phillips, who both earned their first career IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race wins on Saturday. Carter was making his 61st start in the championship, while Phillips was starting his 37th career race.

***It was also the first win for their Automatic Racing team since 2008 when Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal drove to victory lane in a BMW M3 at Lime Rock Park.

***Despite early mechanical issues with the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman that removed the car from contention for class victory, Eric Foss retained the ST championship lead with a 13th place finish alongside co-driver Justin Piscitell, who was filling in for the injured Jeff Mosing.

***Piscitell pulled double-duty in the four-hour race, finishing ninth in class in Murillo’s No. 65 entry alongside Tim Probert and Brent Mosing.

***Foss holds a 16-point lead over the No. 17 RS1 Porsche pairing of Spencer Pumpelly and Nick Galante heading into the final race of the season.

***Already winners this season in GS competition, C360R added an ST class win courtesy of Roy Block and Pierre Kleinubing in the No. 75 Audi S3. It was the team’s first ST class win since 2015.

***GS championship leaders Dylan Murcott and Dillon Machavern salvaged a solid fourth place result on a day that seemed destined to slip away from them when they were hit with a penalty for running the stop light at the end of pit lane while running third with under an hour remaining. Fortunately for the RS1 duo, they began serving their stop-and-hold penalty just before the second-to-last full course yellow period of the race, allowing them to stay on the lead lap and rally for the strong result.

***Damien Faulkner and Russell Ward appeared poised for a podium finish until their No. 35 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport temporarily lost power with less than 30 minutes to go. The power outage proved temporary and the pair came home with a sixth place finish.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Mike S.

    September 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Spoke to CJ Wilson crew. Said Damien hit pit limiter and lost of course speed and time in a tight race.

    • Damien Faulkner

      September 26, 2017 at 6:16 am

      That’s correct. Completely accidental of course. Should be noted that on that particular year of Cayman the pit limiter is the cruise control lever and there’s very little by means of visible indication that it’s engaged, unlike real racing cars where the whole dash will illuminate in a different colour. So, by the time I figured it out I’d lost the lead and dropped back. Such a shame for everyone. I felt I had the race under control. Bummed.

  2. TluckerC

    September 25, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Congratulations IMSA/Nascrap. You took the ESM Nissans completely out of the competition. I hope you and Cadillac are both happy. What a joke!

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