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WeatherTech Championship

Laguna Seca Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca…

Photo: Brian Cleary/Wayne Taylor Racing

***Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque extended their lead in the DPi championship to 100 points over the Action Express Racing duo of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, who finished third in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***Taylor said he felt the pressure from the No. 31 Whelen Engineering duo, who were on a two-race win streak that the Wayne Taylor Racing team broke in commanding fashion. “I think the team responded really well to the ‘Jaws’ music that didn’t get to us,” said Taylor.

***Meyer Shank Racing lost a chance of victory for the second consecutive race due to off-sequence strategy calls, with a two-stop race for the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 of Dane Cameron and Olivier Pla ultimately leading the duo to a fourth place finish. Pla was forced to conserve fuel in his final stint, dropping from the lead.

***Team co-owner Mike Shank was not in attendance in the last two races due to clashing NTT IndyCar Series races.

***Tommy Milner said it felt great to get the “monkey off our back” with a long-awaited first full points victory for the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in more than 14 months. Milner and co-driver Nick Tandy won this year’s Rolex 24 qualifying race and the Detroit Grand Prix, which was an exhibition race in the GT Le Mans class but had not taken a class win in an official GTLM race until now.

***Milner revealed they battled an alternator issue in the race, which “in the end wasn’t a problem” for the mid-engined Corvette despite having to turn off the car’s air conditioning system. 

***Tandy, meanwhile, explained his pit lane exit mishap following his final pit stop: “The previous stint I exited the pit and braked way too early and thought I’d given up too much time. Knowing it was going to be close on where we were going to come out on the last stop, I braked a little later – not by much! – but she didn’t want to stop. The front wheel locked and took a little trip across the gravel. I managed to get back into the pit exit before blending on the track. There was no real harm done.”

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports earned a milestone 25th IMSA class victory with its third consecutive Laguna Seca LMP2 win for the Fresno, Calif.-based operation, this time with Ben Keating and soon-to-be Peugeot factory driver Mikkel Jensen, who extended their points lead.

***It came after a “miserable start” for Keating, who briefly dropped from first to third before regaining the top spot during his opening stint in the No. 52 Oreca 07 Gibson that led all but nine laps of the race in class.

***Era Motorsport was stripped of a second place finish on the final lap when the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks entry of Gabriel Aubry made contact with Ryan Dalziel, sending the Scot into an advertising sign at the Corkscrew. Dalziel and co-driver Dwight Merriman were classified in fourth at the finish.

“Our car showed great speed all weekend, and both of our drivers were really dialed in,” said team owner Kyle Tilley. “It’s a real shame that we were taken out in the final corners. Everyone on the team deserved to celebrate another podium after the stellar performance they put on this weekend. I’m sorry they didn’t get that opportunity.”

***The race saw only a single full-course caution, for an opening lap crash that eliminated both the No. 27 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Ian James and the Jacob Abel-driven No. 76 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo.

***The Acura sustained axle and hub damage from the impact by the Aston Martin, in an unlucky break for the 20-year-old HPD GT3 Academy graduate, who was making his WeatherTech Championship debut filling in for Jeff Kingsley.

***A number of GT Daytona class entries were handed drive-through penalties for incident responsibility early in the running, including the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura of Till Bechtolsheimer for contact with the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin of Roman De Angelis and the No. 39 Carbahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Richard Heistand for running into another competitor. 

***Heistand ended up serving two consecutive drive-through penalties, the first for jumping the restart.

***Vasser Sullivan’s No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo even saw some action after contact with Keating’s PR1/Mathiasen Oreca, who also ran into the No. 66 Gradient Acura at another point also in the opening hour.

***The pair of Lexus entries had an otherwise uneventful race, finishing sixth (No. 14) and tenth (No. 12) in class, in what has traditionally been the car’s worst-performing track due to the high levels of tire degradation. 

***The No. 88 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 R of Rob Ferriol ran as high as five in class during his stint until a brief spin and a slow opening pit stop after Katherine Legge was unable to get the car into gear. Legge and Ferriol finished eighth in class.

***JDC-Miller Motorsports will return with its Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R next year according to team co-owner John Church, who told Sportscar365 they expect to have a “pretty similar” driver lineup despite Loic Duval expected to be unavailable for the full season due to his Peugeot WEC commitments.

***Church has ruled out returning to a two-car operation in 2022 due to the lack of additional available Cadillac engine leases. The Minnesota-based team recently sold one of its DPi chassis but still has a second car in its possession.

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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