Tequila Patron ESM has broken Cadillac’s stranglehold in Prototype competition, with Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek taking victory in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, the first for the Nissan Onroak DPi.
Derani took the No. 22 Nissan DPi to a 2.356-second win over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Jordan Taylor, who was no match for the ESM driver in the closing stages of the two-hour and 40-minute race.
The Brazilian powered his way past Taylor on the second restart with 38 minutes to go, for what was second position on the road, but soon the overall lead once Stephen Simpson pitted for emergency service for fuel on the final yellow.
With the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson fading late, due to its gamble of staying out on the final round of pit stops, it gave Derani clear sailing to the finish.
It marked the first non-Cadillac DPi to win in IMSA’s new prototype era, after seven consecutive victories for the Dallara-chassied car
Jordan Taylor managed to hold off a hard-charging Ryan Dalziel for second, after a dominant opening half of the race for co-driver Ricky Taylor, who enjoyed nearly a ten-second lead in the championship-leading WTR Cadillac.
Dalziel and Scott Sharp gave ESM a double podium finish in third, with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran fourth in the best of the Action Express Racing Cadillacs.
The No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Ligier JS P217 Gibson completed the top-five in the team’s debut with the French prototype, with Joao Barbosa sixth after a late charge in the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac.
Co-driver Christian Fittipaldi went down a lap in the opening hour after he was hit by the Visit Florida Ligier and deranged the Cadillac’s left-rear bodywork, which required an additional stop.
A slick pit stop by the team, while under caution and after the car’s wave-by, put Barbosa back on the lead lap in the closing hour.
Simpson, meanwhile, came home in 8th after having to make full service following the final restart.
James French and Pato O’Ward locked up the Prototype Challenge championship with their seventh victory of the season, continuing Performance Tech Motorsports’ undefeated streak in the class.
O’Ward edged out the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Gustavo Yacaman by 22.088 seconds, who got back onto the lead lap after a late stop by the Performance Tech crew.
It marked one of the closest margins of victory for the PC class all season.
While French and O’Ward have clinched the drivers’ title, the Brent O’Neill-led squad head into the category’s finale at Petit Le Mans needing just to score finishing points to win the teams’ championship.
The No. 20 BAR1 entry with Don Yount, the only driver who entered the weekend with a mathematical chance of dethroning French and O’Ward, brought out the first of four full course cautions early on after an accident.
RESULTS: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase