Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais claim first GTP win for Cadillac
After an early practice crash for Sebastien Bourdais on Friday, Chip Ganassi Racing rallied to win the Motul Course de Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Sunday. The win is their first win of the 2023 IMSA season and first GTP win for Chip Ganassi Racing. A race-winning pass with less than forty-five minutes to go secured the win for van der Zande and Bourdais, as van der Zande passed the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac driven by Alexander Sims. Two weeks ago, van der Zande was involved in a horrific crash at Spa driving another CGR prepared Cadillac. The crash destroyed the car, but van der Zande was uninjured. Two weeks later, van der Zande secured the first IMSA GTP win for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The No. 6 Penske Racing Porsche 963 of Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet rallied to finish in second after a stellar drive vaulted them from fourth to second in the last thirty minutes of race. The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Alexander Sims and Pipo Derani rounded out the podium finishing in third. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport's No. 10 Acura finished in fourth, while the No. 24 BMW M8 Hybrid fielded by BMW M Team RLL finished in fifth. JDC Miller Motorsports, who debuted their customer Porsche 963 GTP entry this weekend, finished seventh in class and on the same lap as the leaders.
Penske Racing's other Porsche 963 struggled from the drop of the green flag. After Matt Campbell took the pole on Saturday, Campbell locked up the breaks defending from the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the start, dropping the car numerous positions. Campbell nearly went a lap down when the car was required to serve a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility when the No. 7 Porsche pushed the No. 94 Andretti Autosport Aston Martin off the track resulting in a scary incident which saw the GT car crash into the pit lane. Their race came to an end when Felipe Nasr drove off course into the barriers at turn ten resulting in damage to their Porsche. The car would finish eight laps behind the leaders in 32nd position overall.
The LMP2 class victory was claimed by the No. 11 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson of Mikkel Jensen and Steven Thomas after hard fought battles with the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR and the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entries. After George Kurtz put the No. 04 Oreca on pole, the lead was exchanged amongst the three entries multiple times throughout the race. In the end, the TDS Racing team emerged victorious finishing five seconds ahead of the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca.
In GT, Kelly Moss with Riley secured their first win of the 2023 season, claiming overall and GTD class honors. Kay van Berlo and Alan Metni led a seven car GTD train ahead of the combined GT results finishing 9.678 seconds ahead of the second place GTD finisher fielded by Turner Motorsport. Bill Auberlen brought home the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 in second place in class in front of the second Kelly Moss with Riley Porsche driven by Alec Udell and Julien Andlauer. Metni, a bronze rated driver, secured the first win for a bronze rated driver this season.
In GTD Pro, drama late in the race for two of the top three runners resulted in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Jules Gounon and Dani Juncadella claiming the class victory. While under the races fourth full course caution, both the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD driven by Antonio Garcia and the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin of Ross Gunn were found to have passed the leading pack while under the yellow flag. The result for each team was a pit stop plus an extra two minutes and fifty seconds, putting them out of contention for the race win. Gounon finished in eighth amongst all of the GT cars entered, which is the lowest finish for a GTD-Pro winning entry in WeatherTech Championship history. The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat finished second in class followed by the No. 9 Pfaff Racing Porsche which rounded out the podium.
The next round of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech Championship takes place next month at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.
View the finishing results here: http://results.imsa.com/Results/23_2023/10_Weathertech%20Raceway%20Laguna%20Seca/01_IMSA%20WeatherTech%20SportsCar%20Championship/202305141210_Race/03_Results_Race_Unofficial.PDF