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Race report
IMSA Mosport

IMSA CTMP: Blomqvist/Braun win for MSR Acura after huge Cadillac crash

Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun scored their second IMSA SportsCar Championship victory of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in their Meyer Shank Racing Acura.

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

The sixth round of America’s premier sportscar series boasted a 34-car entry for a 2h40m race around the 2.45-mile track that was formerly known as Mosport.

Blomqvist led the field to green in MSR’s Acura ARX-06, almost touching through Turn 1 with Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing example. Sebastien Bourdais got his Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R ahead of Pipo Derani’s Action Express Racing version in third, with Felipe Nasr the best-placed of the Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s in fifth.

Derani passed Bourdais for third after 50 minutes, while Nasr also got past Bourdais by taking a huge risk going around the outside of a knot of traffic at the fearsome Clayton Curve just before the end of the opening hour.

By that time, the rest of the GTP competition was almost 20s in arrears of the dominant Acuras. Taylor pitted first after 45 laps, handing over to Filipe Albuquerque, with Blomqvist stopping a lap later to switch to Braun.

In the second hour of the race, the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8 Nick Yelloly briefly led having gone off-sequence with an early pitstop for fuel only. The #7 Porsche of Nasr/Matt Campbell got ahead of both Cadillacs, with Mathieu Jaminet/Nick Tandy also getting ahead of the CGR example, now driven by Renger van der Zande, in the #6 Porsche.

Once Yelloly pitted to hand over Connor De Phillippi, the Acura 1-2 was restored. Just before half distance, Braun got hampered trying to lap the #24 BMW of Phillipp Eng but, once he got ahead, Eng chopped the close-following Albuquerque on the approach to Turn 4.

The first full-course caution was called soon afterwards as GTD frontrunner Ross Gunn was fired into the tires at high speed in The Esses after a clash with Jules Gounon. Eng’s next wild moment came when he went off avoiding safety vehicles under caution on the approach to Moss Corner for which he was later penalized.

In the pitstops that followed, the WTR and AXR teams short-filled to gain track position, so Albuquerque took the lead ahead of Alexander Sims (in for Derani) and Braun, who suffered a slow stop.

Albuquerque pitted from the lead with 53 minutes remaining, and it appeared to be a strategic masterstroke as the second FCY flew moments later as hapless LMP3 tailender George Staikos spun at the final corner. Sims also dived into the pits but was unable to take service as they were declared closed.

The race restarted with 46m to go, with Braun leading Campbell, Sims, Tandy and van der Zande. Albuquerque was near the back of the GTP pack but wouldn’t have to stop again like the majority of those in front.

Another GTD clash at Moss Corner led to the third caution period, with MSR eschewing the opportunity to pit Braun, despite Robby Foley’s BMW being stranded with broken suspension, to attempt to make the finish on fumes.

Albuquerque cycled through to second behind Braun, who was now praying for further yellows. The race restarted with 23m to go, with Braun sprinting away from Albuquerque and the #25 BMW, which was up to third after the fuel strategy swung its way.

“We were either going to win it or finish eighth,” declared Shank, whose fuel worries ended when van der Zande crashed hard at Turn 8 after a high-speed clash with Augusto Farfus in the #24 BMW, meaning the race ended under yellow. Van der Zande walked away unharmed.

Also getting lucky on strategy was the JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 of Mike Rockenfeller and teenager Tijmen van der Helm, finishing ahead of both Penske-run Porsches. Sims dropped back to seventh, ahead of Farfus – who was given a rather pointless drive-through penalty.

In LMP3, the #74 Riley-run Ligier led from the start in the hands of Gar Robinson, but after Felipe Fraga climbed aboard the car, Garett Grist took command in the #30 Jr III Ligier he shared with Ari Balogh to win the six-car class.

But they clashed at the final corner with 6m remaining, Fraga shoving Grist onto the grass on exit and scampering away to win. Race control reviewed the incident but took no action.

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Corvette wins GTD as Lexus and Porsche clash

In GTD, Jack Hawksworth led from pole in the #14 Lexus RC F he shared with Ben Barnicoat, ahead of Gounon in the WeatherTech Racing Mercedes and the Heart of Racing Aston Martins. Alex Riberas grabbed second in the #23 Pro class Aston at the end of the season lap.

Gounon clashed with Jordan Taylor’s Corvette C8.R in the opening stint before Antonio Garcia took over the ’Vette and undercut his way up to second. In the second stint, Gounon’s next collision caused a full-course yellow as he punted Gunn (who’d taken over the #23 from Riberas) into the barriers. Gounon received a drive-through penalty.

Before the yellow, Patrick Pilet had been elevated to the lead of GTD Pro class in the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 he shared with Klaus Bachler. Barnicoat, who’d taken over the #14 Lexus from Hawksworth, tried to pass Pilet around the outside of Turn 1 at a restart but they clashed, sending the Lexus flying through the air and inflicting mortal damage to its coolers.

All that propelled Garcia to the lead of the class and he won from Pilet and Dani Juncadella, who took over the WeatherTech Mercedes from Gounon.

In the pro-am class, Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers won for Paul Miller Racing in their BMW M4, Sellers holding off a storming drive from Frederik Schandorff in the Inception McLaren 720S he shared with Brendan Iribe.

IMSA Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 GTP 60 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United States Colin Braun
Acura ARX-06 120  
2 GTP 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura ARX-06 120 9.157
3 GTP 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United Kingdom Nick Yelloly
BMW M Hybrid V8 120 18.565

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