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Road Atlanta Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race news, notes, stats from 25th anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***Meyer Shank Racing earned the third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title with Acura in four years, following the Ohio-based team’s triumphs in GTD in 2019 and 2020 prior to its move to the DPi class last year.

***Helio Castroneves, who was part of the winning lineup in the No. 60 Acura ARX-05, notched his third WeatherTech Championship win in the last four attempts, dating back to the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona when he was part of Wayne Taylor Racing’s winning lineup. Prior to that, Castroneves won the 2020 DPi championship with Acura Team Penske.

***The DPi points lead changed hands at every race this season, in what’s believed to be a new series record.

***Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis won the DPi title by 86 points over Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque following the car’s late-race retirement due to damage from contact with the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

***Drivers, teams and manufacturers were honored at Sunday’s WeatherTech Night of Champions, which returned to Chateau Elan for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

***With neither the Nos. 31 or 48 Cadillac DPi-V.Rs visiting victory lane this year, it marked the first winless season by Action Express Racing in the team’s history, which was formed in 2010.

***MSR and WTR, meanwhile, finished in a dead heat in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings, with both sets of drivers and teams earning 39 points apiece after the four-round season. MSR was credited with winning the title.

***Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen and Scott Huffaker (PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, LMP2), Felipe Fraga, Gar Robinson, Kay van Berlo (Riley Motorsports, LMP3), Daniel Serra and David Rigon (Risi Competizione, GTD Pro) and Brendan Iribe and Jordan Pepper (Inception Racing, GTD) earned Endurance Cup titles in their respective classes.

***Inception’s Iribe won two Endurance Cup titles in as many days, with the Bronze-rated American picking up the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup Gold class title after flying from Atlanta to Barcelona overnight.

***While Acura clinched the season-long DPi manufacturers title by starting the race, Porsche and BMW came on top in the GTD Pro and GTD manufacturers’ championships, respectively.

***CORE autosort claimed its sixth IMSA teams’ championship, when counting the titles for the CORE-operated Porsche GTLM team.

***It was, however, the team’s first in LMP3 and the first for the longtime pairing of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun since 2015 when the duo claimed back-to-back Prototype Challenge drivers’ championships.

***The GTD Pro class win for Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood marked the first endurance victory for the Lexus RC F GT3. “To get Lexus their first endurance win – this has been six years in the making,” Hawksworth said. “It’s something really special. I’m a bit overwhelmed.”

***Motul Petit Le Mans marked only the second time the GTD class-winning car finished ahead of the GTD Pro winner this year. It was made possible due to a wave-by procedure during the race’s fourth full-course caution period that effectively put the majority of the GTD cars one lap ahead of the GTD Pro cars due to the positioning of the GTD and GTD Pro class leaders with the overall leader at the time of the yellow.

***Both Hawksworth and other members of the winning Vasser Sullivan Lexus squad voiced their opinion for IMSA to have a single wave-by combining GTD Pro and GTD cars instead of keeping the classes separate.

***Hawksworth said he found out he was the GTD Pro winner about 30 seconds after the checkered flag when it was communicated by race control that Daniel Serra in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 had exceeded the four-hour in six-hour maximum drive time by 11 minutes.

***Serra told Sportscar365: “I didn’t know what was going on inside the car. I knew when I crossed the finish line I thought we won. I was super happy inside the car. I think my last two stints were probably one of the best I have done in my life. And then when I crossed the finish line, they told me that we exceeded the driving time.”

***It marked the second consecutive race that Risi’s Ferrari was moved to the rear of the GTD Pro finishing order due to a drive-time infraction, with Serra ironically having been in the car at the time on both occasions.

***Aaron Telitz said Loic Duval made a “ridiculous” move in the Esses that took out both the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus and No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac in the fifth hour. “We weren’t even halfway through the race,” said Telitz. “I feel bad for the guys that this is the ending to our season.”

***Longtime chief starter Dennis Paul waved his final checkered flag on Saturday following a 26-year career with IMSA. Paul, who had been at the start and finish of every Petit Le Mans, is stepping down from his role to focus entirely on cancer research projects.

***GTD winner Till Bechtolsheimer revealed that he’ll likely return to contest the Endurance Cup races with Gradient Racing next year, with the Texas-based Acura squad looking to potentially take on a full-season program by adding the WeatherTech Sprint Cup races for another client.

***LMDh models from all four 2023 manufacturers were on display on the pre-grid for fans to get an up-close view of the cars that will make its race debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***IMSA President John Doonan told Sportscar365: “We had them all on display together for the first time today. We’re going to have them on track together here this week and in Daytona in a couple months, so super proud, super excited. It’s hard to believe that 2023 is going to be here before we know it.”

***GTP class cars taking part in this week’s test at Road Atlanta remain unhomolgated, with the final paperwork needing to be completed by November in time for the second IMSA-sanctioned test that’s scheduled for Dec. 6-7 at Daytona International Speedway.

***While Acura was the big mover with wins in both DPi and GTD last weekend, Porsche ended the season with the most class victories in multi-class IMSA competition according to the final version of the Michelin Scorecard for 2022 (pictured below). Fourteen manufacturers visited victory lane between WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge competition this year.

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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