Renger van Der Zande’s daring late-race pass on Dane Cameron has given Visit Florida Racing its first victory of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and first for a LMP2-spec car in the new Prototype era.
A series of late-race issues for the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Cameron, who took the lead halfway through the two-hour and 40-minute race, saw his once six-second lead evaporated in the final 15 minutes.
An off-course excursion, followed by side-to-side contact with a GT car, put the Dutchman, who took only right-side Continental tires on the final stop, on the rear bumper of the Cadillac, which had bodywork damage from a previous incident.
Van der Zande’s move on Cameron in the Corkscrew on the second-to-final lap, which saw the two cars make slight contact, put the Visit Florida Ligier JS P217 Gibson into the lead and en route to a dramatic 2.248-second win over the Cadillac.
It marked van der Zande’s first overall win in WeatherTech Championship competition, having shared driving duties with Marc Goossens, who held third in his opening stint.
The win came in only the second race since the Troy Flis-led squad’s switch to the Onroak Automotive-built chassis, and was also the first victory for the Ligier in the WeatherTech Championship.
Cameron and Eric Curran settled for second, with Jordan Taylor jumping to third on the final lap after the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac of Joao Barbosa faded to fifth with issues.
The pair of Action Express entries struggled with rear grip in the closing stages, which saw both fade.
Pole-sitter Ricky Taylor dominated the early stages, having stretched out to a ten-plus second lead, until an issue with the right-front tire change in the second stop dropped Jordan Taylor to fifth.
Their third place finish has kept the Prototype championship race mathematically alive heading into next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, with the Taylor brothers now with a 29-point lead over Cameron and Curran.
A total of 36 points are up for grabs in the ten-hour enduro at Road Atlanta, making AXR’s title chances unlikely.
RESULTS: America’s Tire 250