Words by Matthew Boyce
Cover Image courtesy of IMSA
Michael Shanks Racing has become the first team to win twice in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTP class after a gamble with the cars energy replenishment system resulted in the No. 60 Acura finishing in first on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Colin Braun drove the final hour and fifteen minutes of the race on a single replenishment of energy a gamble that paid off due to three full course caution periods that dramatically slowed the pace of the racing action. The final yellow flew with under ten minutes remaining after the No. 01 Cadillac of Renger van der Zande was shoved off the track by the No. 24 BMW of Augusto Farfus resulting in a heavy collision into a tire barrier for van der Zande.
Colin Braun shared the win with his MSR teammate Tom Blomqvist, who secured the pole for the event Saturday afternoon. After a slow first pick stop for the No. 60 Acura, and a superb opening stint driven by Blomqvist, Braun had dropped to third behind the No. 10 Acura and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. After another round of pit stops occured, the No. 60 made their strategy call, moving them to the front of field for the remainder of the race. Felipe Albuquerque and co-driver Ricky Taylor finished in second behind the No. 60, while the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 of Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly rounded out the podium in third. The No. 5 JDC Miller Motorports Porsche 963 finished fourth as Tijmen van der Helm was able to hold off both the No. 6 and No. 7 Porsche Penske Racing 963's.
The win for Michael Shank Racing is the second of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season after the team claimed the checkered flag in the opening round of the season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The win, however, came at a huge price as the team was docked 200 championship points and fined due to a data manipulation penalty.
Richard Prince/Corvette Racing
Corvette Racing broke a winless streak that dated back to the 2022 12 Hours of Sebring by claiming the GTD-Pro class win Sunday. The No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor claimed the win after contact and an off course excursion for both the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. While the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche was able to continue and finished second in the GTD-Pro class, the No. 14 was eliminated from competition after the car experienced overheating issues. Third place in class was claimed by the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Jules Gounon and Dani Juncadella even after the team served a drive thru penalty after contact with the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Ross Gunn resulted in heavy contact for the Aston Martin car.
The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow extended their class-leading points lead after claiming the GTD class win on Sunday. The win came after a spirited battle with the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Frederik Schandorff in the closing moments of the race. The No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes of Mikael Grenier and Mike Skeen finished in third place in class ahead of the No. No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston of Roman De Angelis and Macro Sorensen in fourth.
A late race power move secured the LMP3 class victory for the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 driven by Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga. Fraga made an aggressive move in a late race pass on the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier of Garett Grist in the final corner of the circuit. The No. 30 was pushed wide into the grass at the exit of the corner, resulting in a huge time loss to the No. 74. IMSA officials reviewed the incident and determined that no penalty to the No. 74 would occur. The No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 Nissan rounded out the podium in third.