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Road Atlanta Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from the 23rd running of Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Wayne Taylor Racing’s Motul Petit Le Mans victory was the team’s third, adding to prior successes in 2014 and 2018. Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe became first-time winners of the race, while van der Zande notched up his second win in three years.

***Dixon has now won in both of his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts this season, leading van der Zande to quip post-race: “This guy shows up two times and we win, so we should keep him around!”

***Dixon will attempt to clinch his sixth NTT IndyCar Series championship next weekend in the series finale at St. Petersburg before rejoining WTR for the IMSA finale at Sebring. Between the two series, Dixon has racked up six wins in 15 starts.

***Porsche’s GT Le Mans class victory was the marque’s 21st at Petit Le Mans. Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki and event debutant Matt Campbell also delivered the new Porsche 911 RSR-19’s first win on American soil.

***With their win, van der Zande and Briscoe now lead the DPi points by eight tallies with two rounds to go over the Acura Team Penske tandem of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor who finished a controversial second on Saturday. Pipo Derani is alone in third 12 points back, while Sebastien Bourdais has fallen 16 points off the lead in fourth.

***The GTLM points battle is mostly unchanged with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia leading by 28 points of their Corvette Racing teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin. Second, third, and fourth in the standings are tight, however, with only six points separating the No. 4 Corvette squad and the pair of BMW Team RLL lineups behind them.

***Aaron Telitz, meanwhile, has vaulted into the GT Daytona points lead courtesy of a runner-up result for his AIM Vasser Sullivan team at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. He holds a two-point advantage over co-driver Jack Hawksworth, while Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick and the Meyer Shank Racing duo of Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurray are four and seven points out of the lead, respectively.

***The second-place result for Telitz, Hawksworth, and Michael De Quesada came despite damage to the dive planes on their No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 that occurred in the opening hours.

***The provisional Michelin Endurance Cup points table has van der Zande and Briscoe still at the top, with Dixon – who missed the six-hour round at Road Atlanta – now up to second. Next are Derani, Felipe Nasr and Filipe Albuquerque, who were awarded the maximum of five points at the four-hour and eight-hour distribution intervals.

***Simon Trummer leads Colin Braun at the top of the Endurance Cup LMP2 drivers’ standings by six points. In GTLM, BMW’s Jesse Krohn and John Edwards hold the same advantage over their co-driver Augusto Farfus, and Porsche’s Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki. Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis continue to lead in GTD. View the full Endurance Cup standings here.

***Lamborghini clinched the Endurance Cup GTD manufacturer’s championship with one long-distance round remaining thanks to a third-place finish from the GRT Magnus squad.

***In a post-race NBC interview, Scuderia Corsa Ferrari driver Alessandro Balzan said that his girlfriend’s father passed away a few weeks ago and dedicated his win to her and her family.

***The win was the first for Balzan in any series since stepping out of the Scuderia Corsa ride after the first three races of the 2018 season due to medical concerns and came on the Italian’s 40th birthday.

***It was also the first win for the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa entry since Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Daniel Serra teamed to win Petit Le Mans two years ago.

***It is unclear what role Balzan will play with for the rest of the season, with MacNeil telling Sportscar365 after the race that multiple drivers, including Balzan, are under consideration for the final two rounds.

***Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin drove just 49 minutes – four minutes above the GT Le Mans class drive time minimum – due to discomfort stemming from a rib injury he suffered in a cycling accident prior to the event. The veteran of 21 prior Motul Petit Le Mans races called it “the most difficult Petit Le Mans that I’ve ever done.”

***As a result, Gavin’s co-drivers Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler turned in some marathon stints with Milner driving a total of five hours and twelve minutes, more than anyone else in the race. Fassler logged three hours and 53 minutes behind the wheel.

***The third-place finish for Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya, who were joined this weekend by Simon Pagenaud, was the first podium finish of the season for the reigning DPi class champions. The full-season pair only finished off of the podium three times in ten races during their championship-winning season a year ago.

***The No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet was hampered somewhat during its driver changes by a snapped bungee cord on the seat belt. The cord is used to automatically retract the shoulder harness strap back when the belts are unbuckled. The problem, which emerged in the fourth hour, cost the squad time in the pits on at least one occasion.

***Alegra Motorsports announced its intentions to return to the WeatherTech Championship earlier in the week, and it appears Daniel Morad is set to be one of the drivers of the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. The Canadian driver posted the news to his Twitter account on Friday, although the original post was later replaced by one that only referenced the team’s intentions to run and omitted the reference to his direct involvement.

***Second-generation racer Gar Robinson has been linked with a move to LMP3 machinery for 2021. Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach are seventh in the points leaving Motul Petit Le Mans and have recorded two podium finishes in their Riley Motorsports-run Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Aschenbach reportedly met with multiple GTD teams in the paddock at Road Atlanta with an eye on securing a program in the class for the upcoming season.

***FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu and ACO President Pierre Fillon were both in attendance at Road Atlanta.

***Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship, taking place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 30-Nov. 1. It marks the penultimate round of the season for all four categories.

Daniel Lloyd and John Dagys contributed to this report

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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