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Detroit Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***Saturday’s victory for Chip Ganassi Racing with Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande marked its 60th in IMSA competition and first overall dating back to Circuit of The Americas in 2015 when Scott Pruett and Joey Hand scored top honors in a Riley-Ford DP.

***CGR’s last WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class win came at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 2019 with Hand and Dirk Mueller at the wheel of a Ford GT in the GT Le Mans class.

***It was Magnussen’s first career sports car racing win. The Dane’s last victory of any kind came in 2013 in World Series by Renault competition.

***Ironically, CGR’s Marcus Ericsson, another ex-Formula 1 driver who won the first NTT IndyCar Series race of the weekend earlier in the day, also broke a winless streak dating back to 2013.

***A late-race restart caused some confusion for competitors with the white flag not shown to the overall leaders and instead communicated over the radio by race control once realized the time remaining on the clock.

“They told me to keep pushing and the last lap and I thought there was another lap [to go],” said van der Zande. “Then in the last corner they told me it’s actually the checkered, so it made life easier.”

***Van der Zande said the restart was “good for us” as they had a clear track ahead of them amid his battle with the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr. “Having a Brazilian behind you is never easy,” van der Zande said.

***Nasr said post-race that he felt like the No. 01 CGR Cadillac, which led all but three laps in the 100-minute contest, was “always better on the restarts.”

“You could see it on Pipo’s restart as well,” said Nasr. “They would make a gap. We seemed to have a better tire on longer stints. But I feel like they were pretty good on the restarts.”

***The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 was given a warning during the race for “low over boost limits exceeded” on its car. IMSA monitors turbo boost pressures in real-time and has in the past penalized cars for exceeding prescribed boost levels. 

***Tommy Milner didn’t have radio communication with his No. 4 Corvette Racing team during his entire stint, forcing the Pratt & Miller-run squad to revert to a sign board to indicate Milner’s gap to Antonio Garcia in the battle for the GTLM win.

***Co-driver Nick Tandy, who started on class pole, said he was “surprised” by the jump at the start by the GT Daytona pole-sitter Richard Heistand, who got around both the GTLM Corvettes before crossing the start/finish line.

***Race control elected not to take any further action on the incident.

“It’s against the rules,” Tandy told Sportscar365. “There was some smoke from the DPi cars in front. I was probably a bit hesitant going. Suddenly the Audi was alongside me and we were going three-wide going into the Kink, so this took us a little bit by surprise.”

***Heistand’s No. 39 CarBahn by Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, which dominated the race in GTD, was ultimately stripped of its class win due to not meeting the minimum 40-second refueling time for a full fuel stop.

***It gave top class honors to The Heart of Racing for the first time with Aston Martin factory driver Ross Gunn and 20-year-old Roman De Angelis, who grew up just across the Canadian border in Belle River, Ontario and was racing on his home track for the first time.

“After starting this team last year, to get our first win is a huge achievement,” said team principal Ian James. “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved, the drivers were amazing and the crew were faultless.”

***Gunn and De Angelis take over the points lead in the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, 45 points ahead of Vasser Sullivan Racing driver Frankie Montecalvo. Saturday’s race did not count towards full-season GTD points.

***While all DPi cars took four fresh Michelin tires during their stops, GTD teams were on split strategies, with both the No. 39 Audi and No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 opting to double stint their Michelin Pilot Sport S9M tires.

***The eventual class-winning No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 took on four new tires in its stop while the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 opted for left-side only tires but suffered a right-front puncture some 15 minutes later with Jack Hawksworth at the wheel.

***Gearbox issues was the culprit on Bill Auberlen’s Turner BMW, which ground to a halt on track in the closing 10 minutes after running second in class.

***The No. 76 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo, which was running fifth with Mario Farnbacher at the wheel, dropped out of the race late in the running with brake failure.

***It was one of three retirements, the other two being the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R of Rob Ferriol, which slammed into the wall to bring out the first caution on Lap 3 after contact from the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Michael De Quesada, which ultimately also failed to finish.

***Several Corvette Racing alumni were present this weekend including longtime former crew chief Dan Binks. Doug Fehan, who was let go as program manager, has returned in an ambassadorial role with the organization and was also on-site.

***Former NASCAR President Mike Helton was again in attendance, along with other top brass from IMSA/NASCAR in what’s understood to have been a busy weekend of meetings with manufacturers on future programs, largely tied to LMDh and GTD Pro.

***Sportscar365 understands a pending decision from one prospective LMDh manufacturer is due to be made this week.

***LMDh and LMH manufacturers as well as IMSA/WEC staff are set for their first in-person technical working group meeting in Paris on Wednesday to continue the convergence process in what’s hoped to be a common class across both series beginning in 2023.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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