Cadillac Racing GTP overcomes practice issues to win at Laguna Seca

Colin
By Colin Wood
May 15, 2023 | IMSA, Laguna Seca, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N

Photograph Courtesy IMSA

If you only tuned in to Friday’s practice session for the 2023 Motul Course de Monterey, you may have turned off the television thinking Cadillac Racing just didn’t have it in the cards to take the GTP win at Laguna Seca.

Of course, you’d be wrong.


The No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R was in second, just behind the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac, during a late-race caution. When racing resumed–with only some 40 minutes on the clock–the No. 01 car took the lead through Turns 3 and 4 … and then never looked back.

When the yellow Caddy crossed the finish line, it was a full 3.8 seconds ahead of the No. 6 Porsche Penske 963. The win marks the first 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory for drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, along with the whole Chip Ganassi team.

The win in LMP2 demonstrated the importance of communication–as well as not giving up. Not just one but two miscommunications caused the No. 11 ORECA LMP2 to fall back in the pack.

The first happened roughly 20 minutes into the race when, during a full-course caution, the No. 11 car (then in third) came into put lane before it was open. The second incident took place during the final caution of the race; instead of coming in when pit lane opened for prototypes, the No. 11 car, then in first, didn’t pit until two laps later, dropping the LMP2 racer into seventh.

Despite that, the No. 11 machine was able to secure the class win after three LMP2 race cars had to serve drive-through penalties.

The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3‘s win in GTD Pro came down to the simple strategy of using your competitors’ mistakes to your advantage.

Both the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R GTD were issued stop plus 2-minute penalties after taking improper wave-bys during the race’s final full-course caution.

The No. 79 Mercedes-AMG–in third place before the penalties­–suddenly found itself sitting at the front of the pack just in time for the race finish.

As for GTD, the class win came down to the final minutes of the race, with the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R overtaking the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with less than 30 minutes of the race remaining.

Click here for the unofficial race results, and stay tuned for more coverage from the 2023 Motul Course de Monterey.

The next race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule? The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at New York’s Watkins Glen International on June 25. Visit imsa.com for more information.

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Comments
Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/15/23 3:18 p.m.

After all of that cars bad luck this season so far that is awesome.

j_tso
j_tso Dork
5/15/23 9:30 p.m.

Great bounce back for CGR.

NBC got a lot of mileage out of Bourdais yelling "FAAAAAAAAAAAAAA....!" during the crash in practice.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/16/23 3:10 p.m.
j_tso said:

Great bounce back for CGR.

NBC got a lot of mileage out of Bourdais yelling "FAAAAAAAAAAAAAA....!" during the crash in practice.

 

Okay, so I wasn’t just thinking that I heard something. 

Watched the end while visiting my parents. Good hustle, everyone, good hustle. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/16/23 3:37 p.m.

Somewhat related, Acura recently announced that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport will be running a second ARX-06 GTP in 2024.

The more the merrier.

ConiglioRampante
ConiglioRampante New Reader
5/16/23 3:53 p.m.

Glad to see different manufacturers are winning at the races so far.  It incentivizes them to keep investing in the series.

Still wish Mazda would have stuck around.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
5/16/23 4:36 p.m.

In reply to ConiglioRampante :

And more manufacturers coming, from what I hear.

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