At last weekend’s 2018 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, it was one of General Motors’ own that claimed victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After starting from sixth on the grid, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R battled its way to the front of the prototype race car pack to win it, bolstered by a no-stop tire strategy that saw the car squeeze a full race out of its tires in order to avoid giving up time in the pits.
“It was a tough race but I will take it,” driver Felipe Nasr said after the race. “Eric and the entire Action Express Racing team did a great job. After our first practice, we ended up hurting the back of the car. The guys put the car back together and we had an amazing qualifying. The race itself was all about getting the right calls and we took the Continental tires to the very end, which they hang on amazingly so I was able to drive the car fast until the end.
“We didn’t have a great start to the weekend but here we are and I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be honest. I am super happy!”
Cadillac’s other DPi-V.R race cars didn’t have quite the same fortune as the Whelen Engineering car. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac placed fifth after struggling all weekend with the car’s setup.
“It was obviously a tough day – a tough weekend, actually,” driver Jordan Taylor said. “We didn’t roll off the truck especially strong, we were seventh in qualifying. We made some changes for the race and the car was a bit better, but I think we’re still missing a little something compared to the other Cadillac that ended up winning. It was a tough race but, considering how difficult it was, I think fifth place was surprisingly good. I felt like we were running tenth most of the time, so to end up fifth is not that bad considering what it could have been.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R fell victim to its own fuel strategy, stumbling on fuel on the last lap and dropping a couple of positions from fourth to sixth. But much more disappointing, the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac, which just reentered the fray after being badly damaged at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring back in March, was forced to bow out about an hour into the race due to a transmission issue.
“I started having problems downshifting into second gear two or three laps before we pitted,” driver Tristan Vautier said. “Second gear disappeared altogether on the in lap – and that’s pretty much the only gear you use in every corner here. It’s a shame. We were so eager to come back after such a long wait and it’s disappointing especially because it’s three in a row that something has happened.”