CAMERON/CURRAN SCORE MOBIL 1 SPORTSCAR GRAND PRIX VICTORY AT CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK
The Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi team of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran were victorious in Sunday’s dramatic Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix – Round 7 of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). North Vancouver’s Misha Goikhberg and JDC-Miller Motorsports teammate Stephen Simpson finished second.
The two-hour, 40-minute race was an exciting affair featuring hard fought battles for the lead and weather changes that played a factor throughout the race. From the Prototype (P) pole, Ricky Taylor, (Apopka, Fla.,) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, jumped out to the lead at the drop of the green and led for the opening segment of the race. Closely pursuing Taylor was Goikhberg in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2. Goikhberg would eventually pass Taylor for the lead on lap 48.
The lead swapped again on a pit stop for both teams, but with just over 60 minutes remaining and after driver changes, Simpson (of Indianapolis, Ind.) squeezed by Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) to regain the lead as the two cars banged doors down the Mario Andretti straight.
Under a full-course yellow with 51 minutes remaining, Simpson led Taylor as a sudden downpour occurred on the back portion of the track with the leaders electing to come into pit road. Of the seven cars on the lead lap, only the No. 10 Cadillac opted to remain on slick tires. On the restart, Taylor was shuffled back to 4th. But as the rain stopped and a dryline formed with just over 30 minutes on the clock Taylor started to close back in to under four seconds of the leader Simpson. With the lead dwindling, the JDC-Miller Motorsports team made the call to switch back to slicks, Taylor reassumed the head of the field and looked to be in command for the win.
But with 21 minutes left, the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Tommy Milner (Leesburg, Va.) and Taylor’s Cadillac made contact through turn 4 resulting in damage to both cars. Taylor remained on track throughout the ensuing caution, but on the restart with under 10 minutes gave way to both Cameron (Charlotte, NC) in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi and Simpson. Cameron held off Simpson at the end to take the win. It’s the first victory of the season for Cameron and Curran, of Holyoke, Mass.
In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, the Performance Tech Motorsports team of James French (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Patricio O’Ward (San Antonio, Tex.) started on pole in the No. 38 ORECA FLM09 and led for much of the early part of the event. But O’Ward hit a piece of debris with 54 minutes remaining and had to pit to replace the nose. The team lost a lap in the process, but raced back to the lead lap and took the lead for good with 36 minutes to go.
Co-drivers Bill Auberlen (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Alexander Sims (London, England) in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 scored their second consecutive GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory, while the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3 team of Lawson Aschenbach (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga.) took the win in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
Sunday’s action also featured two Formula 4 United States Championship series races and one for the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series. Respectively, Kyle Kirkwood of Jupiter, Fla, swept the weekend and scored his second and third consecutive victories in the No. 8 Cape Motorsports machine while Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif. also completed the sweep with his second consecutive Prototype Challenge overall win piloting the No. 8 P1 Motorsports Ligier JS P3.
Next up on the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park schedule is the Superbike Double Header, August 18-20. Canada’s top motorcycle riders will compete in a doubleheader points race for the national Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship.
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