Harry Tincknell took Mazda to victory in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans in the manufacturer’s final DPi race while a second place finish for Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani was enough for the Brazilian duo and Action Express Racing to claim the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title.
Tincknell made a move around Nasr for the lead with 22 minutes to go, rebounding from an engine-related issue that put the car three laps down in the early stages of the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The Englishman shared the emotional victory with Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito aboard the Multimatic-run Mazda RT24-P.
Nasr, meanwhile, held off a last-gasp move by Ricky Taylor on the final lap to end up just 0.405 seconds ahead of the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05, which entered the race with an eight-point lead over the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Taylor lost ground due to an off-course excursion on his out lap following his second-to-last pit stop with 1 hour and 40 minutes to go, costing him roughly 10 seconds at the time.
He clawed back the ground on the final stint and on the last lap dived into the inside of Nasr into Turn 10a — briefly taking the position — before losing it while sliding his Acura DPi through the gravel.
Taylor and co-drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi were credited with a third place finish in the race.
The No. 48 Action Express Cadillac of Kamui Kobayashi, Simon Pagenaud and Jimmie Johnson was fourth at the line with the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing entry completing the top-five after losing a lap in the late stages due to a loose right-rear brake disc.
The car, which saw Earl Bamber make a surprise DPi debut subbing for Kevin Magnussen, lost part of its rear deck in an incident between the Kiwi and the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Loic Duval in the sixth hour.
A damaged floor for the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi in the final hour resulted in a trip to the garage after leading portions of the race, while the No. 5 JDC-Miller Cadillac failed to finish after encountering engine failure with 90 minutes to go.
Post-Race Time Penalty Hands LMP2 Win to Tower Motorsport
Tower Motorsport inherited the LMP2 class win after a post-race time penalty for the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Mikkel Jensen for contact with Gabriel Aubry on the final lap.
Jensen crossed the line ahead of the Frenchman in the Starworks-run Oreca but was demoted to second in the results after having 37 seconds added to the car’s finishing time due to failing to serve a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.
The Dane and co-driver Ben Keating clinched the LMP2 class title by just starting Saturday’s race. They shared the car with Scott Huffaker, rebounding from a second-hour accident that required a nose change that initially put the car one lap down.
Aubry, meanwhile, shared the class win with James French and John Farano in the No. 8 entry.
The No. 11 WIN Autosport Oreca of Tristan Nunez, Stephen Thomas and Thomas Merrill completed the class podium in third, which saw all three entries in a close-fought battle.
LMP3 race and championship honors went to the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Gar Robinson, who shared the class win with Scott Andrews and Felipe Fraga.
Fraga finished one lap ahead of the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier of Spencer Pigot, who along with co-drivers Ari Balogh and Garett Grist, finished second in class.
The No. 91 Riley Ligier completed the LMP3 podium in an incident-filled race for the class, which saw numerous spins and accidents that caused five of the ten full course cautions.
RESULTS: Motul Petit Le Mans