Felipe Nasr believes the Cadillac DPi-V.R. feels more “alive” after a Balance of Performance adjustment going into this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans title decider.
The Cadillac contingent had been handed a further 15kg weight break for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale, which doubles up as the final round of the Michelin Endurance Cup.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi is in contention for both titles, with Nasr and Pipo Derani attempting to bridge a 12-point gap to Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron in the full season standings.
Speaking ahead of the ten-hour race, Nasr told Sportscar365 that the car, which led two practice sessions on Thursday, at its most competitive since the early rounds of the season, when it claimed its last race win.
“Sebring, Long Beach and Detroit were the last few times we more or less had the car under control and in a working range,” the Brazilian admitted.
“We were so far off the working range of the car, mechanically, and the tires were wearing more. It was difficult under braking.
“Everything just got extremely out of the handling window that we were so used to, but it seems like things are back to normal now.
“It’s early stages but it’s nice to feel that after the last BoP adjustment you can already feel a big difference, especially on the weight transfer on this [Road Atlanta] track.
“In the big braking zones, we just feel like this car is alive. Hopefully, we can have a strong weekend.”
Nasr said that he’s relishing the prospect of fighting for a race victory and that this feeling has even overtaken his anticipation for the two end-of-season title battles.
A Cadillac has not won a WeatherTech Championship race since the Long Beach round in May, while the No. 31 crew’s last victory came at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
“We just need to fight for a victory because it’s been a while since the win at Sebring,” said Nasr.
“I feel like we have never been in contention since then because we just haven’t had the speed in the car, due to the BoP changes that were made [during the year].
“We are here to win the race and I feel like we seem to have a chance here to do so.”
Endurance Pedigree Boosts Confidence
Nasr added that he feels the Action Express Racing squad can take confidence from its strong performances in the other Endurance Cup races held this season.
While the No. 31 has only beaten the No. 6 Acura DPi on two occasions in 2019, these results occurred in the long-distance rounds at Daytona and Sebring.
“We, as a team, have always been very strong in endurance races,” said Nasr.
“If you look at the team history as well, they’ve been the guys to beat. I think it’s two separate things: what happened afterward from Sebring onwards was out of our control, and now I feel like we have a decent car to fight back for victory.
“That’s all that’s left [to do]. We go to win the race and make the calculations after.
“It would be nice to hold on to the endurance title. We’ve got to make sure we get all the segments right during the race because we are fighting against the No. 10 [Wayne Taylor Racing] car.
“We need to guarantee that one and fight for victory. I’m hungry for the win and I feel like we’ve got a good chance.”