IMSA • October 11, 2017
Secures second in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after leading 59 laps
Braselton, Ga. (7 October 2017) – Whelen Engineering Racing closed out the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on the podium with a run to second place in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans.
Drivers Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, and Mike Conway were once again a potent combination in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R., fighting all the way to the finish to take second place after 402 laps. The result is the second consecutive podium finish for the trio in IMSA endurance championship competition, having taken third in the Sebring 12 Hour earlier this season.
The distinctive red and white Whelen Cadillac led 59 laps of the 10-hour race, with Curran opening the race in challenging and mixed precipitation conditions and adapting as the track dried through the first stint. With some 14 safety car periods, the race featured several restarts and battles throughout as the large four-class field tussled for position on the 2.54-mile natural terrain circuit.
The rotation of Curran, Conway, and Cameron clicked off the laps through their respective runs to position the car for a strong finish. Fast work on pit lane saw the No. 31 regularly make gains through the pit stop cycles.
As the light faded and the race moved into the darkness, Conway turned the car over to Cameron as the No. 31 raced in podium position during the closing stages of the race. Despite giving it his all, the 2016 IMSA champion was unable to track down the leader, but the second place finish consolidated second place in the 2017 IMSA championship for the Whelen Engineering Racing squad.
“That was one of the toughest Petit Le Mans races I have run,” Cameron said. “The tire degradation was huge today so that made the car, at times, a handful to drive. The team made great pit stops. Mike (Conway) and Eric (Curran) did a great job, especially Eric who put in a lot of time behind the wheel today. I’m happy to take second place, and second in the championship is a great way to close out the season.”
The multiple caution periods made for active restarts, with drivers having to balance patience with aggression at every turn.
“It was fun, especially there at the end with the restarts,” said Conway. “It was good racing. I was battling with Bruno (Senna) during one part of the race – they had good straight-line speed and we were quick in the corners, but we just couldn’t get by. We did what we could and with the penalties at the end, it went our way. But it was an up and down day. Drivers that were laps down were suddenly back in it and at the top, it was crazy. But that’s typical Petit, where you have to hang in there until the end and hopefully get a good result. We had good pace, a bit shy of the Patron cars perhaps, but we hung in there and did what we could.”
“It was a pretty good result in the end,” Curran said. “I am really happy to finish second with my buddy Dane Cameron in our last race together. We had a really good Cadillac all day. Mike (Conway) and I put in a lot of miles today. The team did a great job in the pits and it is good to get a result for them in what was a very competitive 10 hours of racing.”
Whelen Engineering Racing looks forward to the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and thanks all the sponsors, fans, and team members for the support all season long.
Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017