Corvette continues to dominate in GT-Le Mans, and Viper takes its first win in GT-Daytona.
It was one of those near-perfect days for the OAK Morgan Nissan, with driver Gustavo Yacaman and Olivier Pla holding off three Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype cars, scoring a solid victory for the handful of P2 entries that face off every race against a mass of DPs.
The victory came at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, round seven of 11 in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course.
“I’m really stoked about this win,” said Yacaman, roundly criticized earlier in his career here for overaggressive driving. He and Pla were never seriously challenged on the course that arguably favors the ALMS-style prototypes over the Grand-Am DPs. “The team has been working really hard this whole season to make the tires work with the car. We’ve just developed it and got better and better each race. They really deserve this win. We came here and did our job, it was to drive around without mistakes and stay out of trouble. Both Oli and I did this. I have to thank the whole team for providing us a fast car that keeps going and doesn’t break down.”
In second was the number 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, driven by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiente, followed by the number 10 Corvette DP of Wayne Taylor Racing, with brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor at the wheel.
“It’s nice to apply some sort of pressure,” Westbrook said. “With the traffic situation here, you don’t know what it can do. So if you have to take risks in traffic with 20 GTD cars out there, you never know. We’re absolutely rivals now and it’s great for the championship. We’ve been racing hard with them since day one, but we’re delighted for them. It really bodes well for the championship, it’s going to be a strong finish.”
In the GT Le Mans class, it was another absolutely dominating performance by the number 3 factory Chevrolet Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. One of the two factory SRT Dodge Vipers was on the pole, thanks to Canadian driver Kuno Wittmer’s prowess at his home track, and the Viper led early until Wittmer had an off-road excursion. He and teammate Jonathan Bomarito came back for second, with their team Viper in third.
The lone Viper in the GT-Daytona class fared better, with owner and gentleman driver Ben Keating, a Viper dealer by trade, and teammate Jeroen Bleelemolen taking their first pole and their first win, with Bleekemolen’s late-race pass on Kevin Estre’s Porsche, which finished second.
Perhaps the day’s main upset came even before the green flag, when Ganassi Racing’s Memo Rojas crashed the Ford DP that he and Scott Pruett shared, and the team wasn’t able to get the car fixed by the start. The team ended up in 34th of the 37 starters. There were 39 entries, but the Delta Wing pulled out after a fire in practice, and the Marsh Corvette DP pulled out after a practice crash by driver Boris Said. The Prototype Challenge class took the week off.
Next up is the road course at Indianapolis.