Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Road Atlanta Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Saturday’s six-hour Road Atlanta enduro…

Photo: IMSA

***Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor have become the first repeat winners in the DPi class this year, and have moved to within ten points of the championship lead after an incident-filled six-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta that shook up the running order.

***The gap between DPi championship leaders Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe to the second-placed JDC-Miller Motorsports duo of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais has closed to just four points, with Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani just one further point back in third.

***Castroneves, who took full responsibility for the two pit lane penalties early in the opening hour for the eventual race-winning No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05, explained he was in second gear, which doesn’t activate the pit lane speed limiter. 

***As for missing the red light at pit-exit, which resulted in the more severe 60-second stop-and-hold penalty, Castroneves said: “I’m going to suggest they make the red lights a little more bright, like a night club or strobe lights!”

***The No. 77 Mazda RT24-P, which underwent an overnight engine change, appeared to be in position for the win until brake issues struck the Multimatic-run squad with 90 minutes to go. It came after an impressive race-leading stint by Tristan Nunez.

***As was the case with the race-winning No. 7 Acura DPi, the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac overcame two penalties to finish on the podium, first with contact between Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron at the start and an incident for Derani and the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Spencer Pumpelly in the Esses.

**The second drive-through dropped the Whelen Engineering-sponsored Cadillac to sixth. “I think this is one of those races where you couldn’t predict what was going to happen,” Derani said. “Luckily for us, we managed to get a podium at the end.”

***Cameron’s spin at the start ultimately took both the No. 85 JDC-Miller Cadillac and No. 18 Era Motorsport Oreca 07 Gibson out of contention, with both cars spending considerable time behind the wall with suspension repairs.

***JDC-Miller elected to park its car after completing 54 laps, while the Era Oreca, featuring 24 Hours of Le Mans-bound drivers Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman, finished 32 las behind the LMP2 class-winning PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca.

***Corvette’s four-race GT Le Mans class win streak came to an end with victory going to the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler, who scored his first career WeatherTech Championship win.

***The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki held control until the final pit stop when Tandy dropped to fourth, as he struggled for grip. “Unfortunately, when the track conditions changed, we couldn’t quite maintain the pace in the end,” he said. “In fact, the competition even managed to improve.”

***Teammates Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor’s bad luck continued for the third consecutive race, with two drive-through penalties, an unplanned brake change and repairs to the rear of the Porsche threw put the defending class champions three laps down and en route to a sixth place class finish.

***The No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin overcame a left-rear tire puncture to finish second in class, after crucially staying on the tail end of the lead lap for nearly the three-hour green flag run. “Ultimately all we needed was that one yellow, and we got it to get us back in the hunt again,” Milner said.

***A late-race tire issue for the No. 3 Corvette of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia, who were seeking their third straight class win, dashed hopes of a podium finish.

***Wright Motorsports scored its first podium finish of the season with the trio of Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen bringing the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R home in third in the GT Daytona class.

***Class winners Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry now hold a 12-point lead in the GTD standings over Aaron Telitz, who has jumped ahead of Jack Hawksworth in the title race as a result of a fifth place finish for the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 on Saturday.

***Hawksworth’s No. 14 Lexus went behind the wall after contact with the No. 16 Wright Porsche resulted in a right-front puncture that destroyed the bodywork and any chances of a podium finish. Hawksworth and co-drivers Daniel Morad and Michael de Quesada finished tenth in class. 

***Another pre-race GTD favorite to hit trouble was the VIR class-winning No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which spent time in the garage with brake issues before retiring with 30 minutes to go.

***Four drivers earned their first career WeatherTech Championship wins on Saturday: Spengler (GTLM),  Scott Huffaker and Simon Trummer (LMP2) and Shinya Michimi (GTD).

***Questions over the next round at Mid-Ohio appear to have been put to rest, with confirmation coming Saturday of the NTT IndyCar Series’ double-header at the circuit scheduled for next weekend. Sportscar365 understands there had been similar conditions in place in regards to the number of fans permitted.

***IMSA President John Doonan presented IMSA’s new winningest driver Bill Auberlen with a commemorative artwork piece pre-race to celebrate his 61st career win from last month at Virginia International Raceway.

***Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner have been involved in the development of iRacing’s Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, which will be released next week during the sim’s new build.

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

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship