Wayne Taylor Racing has claimed a thrilling victory in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans, after Filipe Albuquerque ran out of fuel with two corners to go in a dramatic finish.
Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran, meanwhile, have been crowned Prototype champions following an eighth place overall finish in a late-race fuel conservation run against the title-contending CORE autosport Oreca 07 Gibson.
Renger van der Zande took a 5.306-second victory over the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P of Oliver Jarvis in second, with Spencer Pigot making it a double Mazda podium finish in a crazy final lap.
Albuquerque in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R led the race into the last lap following a pass around Pipo Derani with 25 minutes to go.
However, the Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac DPi sputtered for fuel with just a few corners to go, allowing van der Zande to sneak by for the win.
It marked WTR’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in 15 races, and the first for the Dutchman with the team.
Van der Zande shared driving duties with Jordan Taylor and IndyCar ace Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Albuquerque came home fourth in the No. 5 Cadillac after the last-lap drama, with the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 of Ricky Taylor completing the top-five.
Derani, who led into the final hour in what looked to be a storybook ending for Patron’s involvement with Extreme Speed Motorsports, was relegated to sixth after having to make a late splash of fuel with three minutes to go.
The Brazilian emerged ahead of title contender Colin Braun, who pitted his No. 54 Oreca from fourth with nine minutes to go, also for fuel.
Nasr, Curran Claim Prototype Championship
Despite having a power-related issue, Action Express’ Nasr held on to claim the No. 31 team’s second WeatherTech Championship Prototype title in the last three years.
In his fuel conservation run, the Brazilian dropped to the back of the Prototype field and benefited from the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca of Simon Trummer running out of fuel on the last lap to finish 8th.
It was one position behind championship rival Braun, and good enough for he and Curran to take the drivers’ title by three points over the privateer LMP2 squad.
Nasr and Curran duo shared the wheel of the Whelen-sponsored Cadillac DPi on Saturday with Gabby Chaves.
Bitter Finale for ESM; JPM Crashes Early and Rejoins
The No. 2 ESM Nissan DPi, spearheaded by Ryan Dalziel, came home 11th after a left-front hub issue in the third hour that cost them ten laps.
It came after issues for other DPis, including a crash by Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Penske Acura DPi, from a suspected brake issue, that initially appeared to be the race’s first retirement.
However, the team got the car back on track, more than 130 laps behind, to be classified 32nd overall.
An accident for Will Owen in the No. 52 AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca saw the team’s race come to an early end with 1 hour and 34 minutes to go.
It brought out the race’s fifth and final full course caution.
The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca was the only other retirement in the Prototype class.
RESULTS: Motul Petit Le Mans