Petit Le Mans will decide the champions.
If you were to poll teams and drivers before the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona about what it would take to win the inaugural Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup you would have heard some common themes: speed, skill, luck.
Through three races and 42 hours of intense TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition, teams are adding an additional variable to get a leg up in the grueling four-race competition: strategy.
The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP team did just that in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, short-pitting in order to lead at the three-hour segment (earning the maximum five bonus points) in a race that saw the team and its drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi extend their lead to five points, 31-26, over the No. 9 Action Express Racing team and brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle, despite finishing the race in third position.
Scoring the minimum of two points in each of the two segments at Watkins Glen, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP – six points back – and No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost/Riley – seven points back – fell to third and fourth in the Patrón Endurance Cup standings, while the race-winning Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP team moved up to fifth, 31-23.
Chevrolet has finished in the top two in seven of the nine segments to date to lead the manufacturer standings, 38-34, over Ford. The No. 5 Corvette DP won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours, while the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost won the second leg of the Patrón Endurance Cup, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
At the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Oct. 4, competitors will earn points at four hours, eight hours and the finish. Points are awarded on a 5-4-3-2 basis with each finisher fourth on back receiving the minimum two points.