Co-driven by Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek, the Nissan DPi scored its first win of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at Road America.
Derani and van Overbeek narrowly beat The Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by the brothers Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor by 2.356 seconds. After a restart with a little under 40 minutes left in the race, Derani anticipated Jordan Taylor’s unwillingness to risk championship points and made a successful overtaking maneuver around the outside of turn one.
“I used the slipstream, though, to pass him. Outside on Turn 1 was the only place to go. I knew he’d play it safe because they are going for the championship. I’m glad it worked out, because the team was working so hard. This win means a lot to me,” Derani divulged.
It’s the first race all season where a Cadillac DPi hasn’t taken a victory.
Further up the road, Stephen Simpson was running quickly in the JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2. However, Simpson was on a different fuel strategy from the majority of the prototype class cars forcing him to pit at the 25 minute mark and release Derani into the lead.
Jordan Taylor, while happy with the lack of any real damage to their championship lead, seemed to lament the situation that the many IMSA issued Balance of Performance adjustments had put his team in at Road America. “We knew we had a good car and could control from the front, but with the changes coming over the year, the restarts would be our downfall coming down to Turn 1,” explained Taylor, referring to the taller first and second gears applied to all Cadillac DPi cars to mitigate their low-end torque advantage on restarts and corner exits.
Jordan and Ricky Taylor started on (a record-setting) pole and lead the first two thirds of the race before they were relegated to second place on the final restart – the position they would eventually cross the checkered flag in. The third and final place on the podium belonged to the second Nissan DPi of Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel, making it two podium finishes for the Nissan DPi.
Further down the field in GTLM, the Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller took the class win, followed by the Porsche 911 RSR of Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni. The second Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook rounded out the podium.
Just outside of the podium positions in fourth and fifth loomed the two Corvette Racing entries, the first of which was the points leading No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. Despite the lack of a podium finish, the No. 3 maintains its championship lead by five points ahead of the race winning Ford GT of Hand and Mueller. The No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin managed to come home in fifth place after a close battle with the BMW Team RLL M6 of Alexander Sims and Bill Auberlen.