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Petit Le Mans Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from 22nd annual Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Whelen Engineering Racing’s Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran achieved a new distance record of 1181.1 miles (465 laps) in winning Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans. The No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R broke the previous record, held by the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi from last year, which completed 1,125.22 miles (443 laps).

***In his role as grand marshal, IMSA President Scott Atherton gave the command to start engines, while also waving the checkered flag on the WeatherTech Championship season (pictured above). Atherton will retire from his post at the end of the year.

***Both Derani and Bill Auberlen claimed victories on their birthdays, with Auberlen tying Scott Pruett in all-time IMSA wins with the 60th of his career.

***Acura Team Penske scored its first WeatherTech Championship title, while it marked the 11th sports car championship in the 53-year history of Team Penske.

***All three drivers in the No. 31 Cadillac became first-time Petit Le Mans winners, while it also marked the first victory in the event for the Action Express team.

***Juan Pablo Montoya earned his first drivers’ championship in 20 years, when he took the CART title in 1999, while Dane Cameron has become a three-time IMSA champion. Their fourth place finish in the race was the No. 6 Acura ARX-05’s first non-podium since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

***Roger Penske, who was not in attendance on Saturday, watched his DJR Team Penske squad claim victory in the Bathurst 1000, with Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Premat giving the DJR team its first win at Mt. Panorama since 1994.

***Both of the Team Joest Mazda RT24-Ps encountered fuel injector issues in the race, denying a possible win for the No. 77 car of Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard, which combined to lead 109 laps. Jarvis limped home to finish sixth, two laps behind the race winners.

***Risi Competizione, which returned to victory lane for the first time in four years, has no definitive plans for 2020 according to team owner Giuseppe Risi, who told Sportscar365 that a run in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona is “still to be determined.”

***Nick Tandy took the No. 911 Coca-Cola Porsche 911 RSR for a lap around Talladega Superspeedway prior to Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the famed Alabama oval, located 150 miles west of Road Atlanta.

***Tommy Milner completed a burnout on the cool-down lap of the race in his No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, in the car’s final outing. “I felt like we went out on a high note there with a big smoky burnout there at the end for all the fans in (Turn) 10 with the C7.R for the last time. Hopefully they enjoyed that,” he said.

***A late charge by Bryan Sellers secured Lamborghini its second consecutive GT Daytona manufacturers’ championship, with the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Huracan GT3 Evo coming home sixth in class, just 1.298 seconds ahead of the No. 57 MSR Acura of Katherine Legge.

***In the closest of the season-long championships entering the weekend, Lamborghini won the manufacturers’ title by just two points over Acura.

***Bill Riley told Sportscar365 they gambled on fuel by attempting to stretch Felipe Fraga to a 1-hour and 4-minute stint in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG, which ran out of fuel while in the GTD class lead on the final lap. “We thought there might be another yellow and then we would make it,” Riley told Sportscar365. “But it is what it is is. Oh well.”

***Meyer Shank Racing scored its first-ever championship since moving to sports car racing in 2004, in what team co-owner Michael Shank proclaimed as a “special day” for the team and Acura. “We all have worked for the last three years for this championship. Losing the GTD championship by one point last year was really frustrating but we came back and had one focus in mind.”

***AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Richard Heistand won the Bob Akin Award, for the top amateur driver in the GTD class that comes with an automatic invite to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Bronze-rated driver. “I’m excited to hopefully go to Le Mans,” said Heistand, who has yet to announce his 2020 plans.

***With both LMP2 cars retiring, Saturday’s race marked the first time in modern IMSA history that a class didn’t have a finisher. 

***Magnus Racing team owner John Potter told Sportscar365 post-race that he has “no definitive” plans for 2020, despite latest rumors of the team remaining intact for a Michelin Endurance Cup-only program with its Lamborghini.

***While leaving Action Express Racing, Mustang Sampling is “actively pursuing” a new team to join forces for next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and “compete within IMSA for two more championships.”

***Sportscar365 understands that the sponsorship could be linked with longtime Mustang Sampling driver Joao Barbosa, who has been left without a ride following the scaling back of AXR’s efforts to one Cadillac DPi next year.

***Despite the closure of its DPi operation, CORE autosport has retained all of its full-time staff, according to the team’s Chief Operating Officer Morgan Brady. “Anybody beyond that we haven’t been able to retain, we’re working with them to make sure they have opportunities in 2020,” he told Sportscar365.

***Brady said they are not actively looking at DPi 2022 developments, with its full focus shifting to the factory Porsche GTLM operation, although they would not rule out adding another “high level” program in the future that would have the “opportunity to win.”

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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