IMSA • October 09, 2017
Braselton, Ga. (6 October 2017) – Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans marks the 20th edition of the fabled finale IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event as the ultra-quick 2.54-mile circuit plays host to the final segment of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship (TPNAEC). The 10-hour race will once again feature a deep field of racers as four classes take to the track in pursuit of one final triumph on the season.
On the strength of three podium results including a victory at Watkins Glen International earlier this season, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R of Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa, and Filipe Albuquerque currently holds the TPNAEC lead ahead of Saturday’s 10 hour race. The trio, who were recently announced as the 2018 driver line up as the team builds continuity, will look to bring the No. 5 entry a fourth consecutive TPNAEC title with a strong run on Saturday.
Fittipaldi will open the race from behind the wheel after setting a fast lap time of 1:12.393-seconds to secure ninth on the 42-car field.
“It was a challenging session for us,” Fittipaldi said. “The team gave it their very best. We tried our best and were realistic with our expectations but we are further back than we thought we might be. But I think we have a strong car for the race. All of the Cadillac cars are within a row of each other. We have 10 hours of racing in front of us tomorrow to get a good result.”
Mike Conway has returned to the team this weekend to partner with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. The three racers scored a podium finish earlier this season with a run to third at Sebring International Raceway and will look to return to the post-race celebrations again on Saturday night.
Curran will start the race from the fifth row in the Whelen Engineering entry after posting a quick time of 1:13.051-seconds in Friday’s qualifying session.
“We have been trying a lot of different things on the Whelen Cadillac,” Curran said. “We were just a little off on the set-up for qualifying. I am not sure what went wrong and I just couldn’t get the speed out of it today. We are going to go back on our set-up and get it back to the practice set-up because we were solid with what we had before. I am sure the Whelen guys will have a solution for the warm-up and it will help us through the 10 hours.”
In addition to the practice and qualifying sessions, the day featured an autograph session as well as a special presentation as Dane Cameron gave Sonny Whelen his IMSA Championship helmet in thanks for the opportunity that he provided the young American racer at Whelen Engineering Racing.
Saturday’s race day will open with a 20 minute warm up at 8:30 AM ET, with the grid walk taking place shortly thereafter. The race will go green at 11:05 AM ET, with FS1 live coverage starting at 10:30 AM ET.
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Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017