The fifth round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was full of surprises this weekend. Thanks to a DPi grid reshuffle and a new car triumphing in GTD, Belle Isle showed that in the world of racing, nothing is set in stone.
After a session-ending crash in qualifying, the all-dominating Taylor Brothers Cadillac was nowhere to be seen on the front row at Belle Isle. After starting from twelveth, the No. 10 car slowly slipped through the field.
Pitting in fifth during the sole caution period of the race, the Cadillac came back all the way into third — breaking the lap record in the process. After opting to keep the up-to-temp tires on the car, the No. 10 was able to hit out both a staggering in and out lap following its last stop. The lighting quick pitstop allowed the Taylors to slot into second after the No. 70 Mazda Motorsports DPi went in the next lap.
In an unexpected move, the leading No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac was kept out until the final 22 minutes of the race. Due to this, the No. 10 made short work of the 28-second gap between the two, snatching the lead during 31’s pitstop.
Many were up in arms as to whether the win would have been possible had there been no oversight. Regardless of whether it was gifted or not, the win was an incredible achievement.
34 seconds down the line was the No. 70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi of Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito. Coming third, this marks the team’s first podium with the Mazda DPi.
In the PC class, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry took its fourth win in a row for the team. Starting from pole, it finished 42 seconds up the road of Bruno Junqueira in the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca.
Against the odds, the No. 93 Acura NSX of Michael Shanks Racing took the honors for the GTD class. With this being the first season for the NSX racer, the win is an incredible achievement. The success in such a short amount of time leaves expectations for more strong results in the future.
A combination of a slow pitstop and driveline issues removed the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS from contention. The Audi, which had been dominating for the first half-hour of the race, was passed after the NSX’s stop on lap 25.
In a split decision by the team owner, only two tires were changed on the NSX. The No. 93 then held off a horde of nine GTD cars right until the end, winning by an incredibly narrow 2.4 seconds over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3. Behind the prancing horse was the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Huracan GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow.
Next up is Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at — you guessed it — Watkins Glen. Held on July 2, this sixth fixture is also the third round of the North American Endurance Cup.
See more articles on IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge 2017 Season.