Tequila Patron ESM wins Petit Le Mans, Taylors are the champions
The 20th running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta was the final race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After ten hours of racing, the #2 Nissan DPi of Tequila Patrom ESM, driven by Ryan Dalziel, Scott Sharp and Brendon Hartley, took the first win of the season.
As expected, the brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor in the #10 Cadillac DPI-V.R of Wayne Taylor Racing took the 2017 championship title in the prototype class. Other champions are James French and Pato O’Ward (Performance Tech Motorsports) in the Prototype Challenge class, Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen (Corvette Racing) in the GTLM class and Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan (Scuderia Corsa) in the GTD class.
Brendon Hartley passed the finish line 7.622 seconds before Dane Cameron in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. Cameron was sharing a car with Eric Curran and Mike Conway. In the third place there were a trio of Team Penske IndyCar drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud in the #6 Oreca LMP2 car. Next year, two of them (Montoya and Castroneves) will switch from IndyCar to the IMSA Championship with Team Penske’s new Acura DPi.
Brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor are the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship winners, after entering the final race with a big point advantage. The brothers swept the first five races of the season and added two more podiums later in the season. At Road Atlanta, they were sharing a car with Ryan Hunter-reay but their race ended after 97 laps.
For Ricky Taylor, it’s the maiden IMSA title. Jordan Taylor already knew what it felt like to win a title, having done so in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series DP class with Max Angelelli in 2013.
The final race for the Prototype Challenge class
The Prototype Challenge class had its last race in the history. The winners at Road Atlanta were John Falb, Garett Grist and Tomy Drissi in the #26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09, interrupting a seven-race win streak of the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports crew.
The #38 was in the lead until the halfway point of the race, when Kyle Masson was involved in an incident with the #13 Rebellion Racing Oreca LMP2 car of Nick Heidfeld, removing both cars from contention. However, James French and Pato O’Ward secured the last PC title for the team.
GTLM win for BMW, championship title for Corvette
In the GTLM class, Alexander Sims, Bill Auberlen and Kuno Wittmer won the race in the #25 BMW M6 GTLM of the BMW Team RLL. It’s their third win of the season. It was also a milestone victory for Auberlen, who was making his 400th career start with BMW. It was his 58th IMSA win in a career, putting him two behind Scott Pruett who leads all-time list with 60 wins.
After a victory at Petit Le Mans, the #25 BMW team finished second in the final GTLM standings, behind Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R. They were sharing a car with Mike Rockenfeller, finishing second at Road Atlanta. Chevrolet also won the manufacturer championship.
Three different TLM manufacturers reached a podium at Petit Le Mans with Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Alessandro Pier Guidi finishing third in the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE.
One more championship title for Scuderia Corsa Ferrari
The Montaplast by Land-Motorsport team took the victory inthe final raceof the season with the #29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, driven by Connor De Phillippi, Sheldon van der Linde and Christopher Mies. It was the team’s third start of the season, after finishing second at the Daytona 24 Hours and fourth at the Sebring 12 Hours.
An Audi crossed the finish line 15.518 seconds ahead of the #28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Michael Christensen. His co-drivers during a race were Daniel Morad and Michael de Quesada. The #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Lindsey, Jorg Bergmeister and Matt McMurry rounded out the podium.
Scuderia Corsa’s Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan won their second consecutive GTD class championship in the #63 Ferreri 488 GT3 despite a ninth-place finish at Petit Le Mans.Their race was marked by many problems but they won a title with a consistency, scoring seven podiums and one victory earlier in the season.