Felipe Nasr is hopeful that IMSA’s recent Balance of Performance adjustments given to the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs will put them back with a “chance to fight” for victory this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as the DPi championship battle comes down to the wire.
The defending series champion and co-driver Pipo Derani enter Sunday’s penultimate round of the season with an seven-point deficit to Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron, who are riding on a six-race streak of podium finishes in their No. 6 Acura ARX-05.
Nasr and Derani, nor any of the Cadillac DPi teams have claimed a win or even a podium finish since the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing’s second-place result in Detroit in June.
Instead, the tables have turned the way in the favor of Acura and Mazda Team Joest, which scored its third consecutive win last time out at Road America.
With a 20 kg weight break and 0.3 mm larger air restrictor given to the normally-aspirated Cadillac DPis this weekend, and the Mazda RT24-P handed a 5 kg weight increase, Nasr is hoping for a change in fortunes in California.
“We are eager to make every opportunity out there count,” he said.
“Hopefully, the recent changes will give our No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R a better chance to fight for victory and close the gap to the leaders.
“I’m hungry to get the job done and Pipo knows the circuit pretty well, so we should be aiming for a solid weekend for the team.”
Cadillac scored pole at Laguna Seca last year with Jordan Taylor, who along with co-driver Renger van der Zande, remain in with a mathematical chance of the title, although unlikely.
The Wayne Taylor Racing duo, who haven’t won since the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, sit 25 points adrift from the leading Acura Team Penske pairing.
“We have two more races to go,” said van der Zande. “We won the first one this year, obviously, in Daytona, the 24-hour, the nicest one to win.
“We were a close second at Sebring, but after that it hasn’t gone as well as we would’ve wanted – the speed hasn’t been great in our car.
“At Laguna Seca, our car should be strong. There are not a lot of long straights and, in the corners, our car is very good-handling.
“We’re going to give it a big push these last two races, that’s for sure.”