Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani claimed victory in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Road America, scoring a first victory for the ESM squad’s Nissan DPi.
From pole position, Ricky Taylor’s #10 Wayne Taylor Racing-run Cadillac DPi-V.R led from Jose Gutierrez (PR1/Mathiasen Ligier), and the Nissan DPis of van Overbeek/Derani and Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel.
Gutierrez lost pace at the end of his first stint, allowing both Nissans, Eric Curran’s Action Express Cadillac, and the LMP2s of Marc Goossens and Misha Goikhberg ahead.
A full-course caution was called with 55 minutes remaining, as the #24 BMW stopped on the entry to pitlane, which evaporated Jordan Taylor’s 6s lead over Dalziel.
Taylor only just beat the Nissans out of the pits, with Derani briefly jumping ahead but being told to give back the position.
Stephen Simpson, sharing the JDC-Miller Oreca with Goikhberg, didn’t pit and restarted in the lead as Derani passed Taylor for second. Derani quickly closed on the off-sequence Simpson, but couldn’t find a way past despite drawing alongside a couple of times.
A late-race yellow, caused by Andy Lally crashing his Acura NSX at Turn 1, set up a shootout to the finish. Derani swept around the outside of Taylor to lead at the green, after Simpson pitted with 13mins left on the clock.
Derani won by 2.3s from Taylor, with Dalziel making it a Nissan 1-3. Dane Cameron finished fourth in the #31 Action Express Cadillac he shared with Curran, ahead of Goossens/Renger van der Zande in Visit Florida’s new Ligier.
The #5 Action Express Cadillac of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa was never in the hunt, and required new rear bodywork when hit by Goossens on the entry to the pits. It finished sixth, and has dropped 26 points behind the leading Taylors.
Ford beats Porsche in GTLM
Poleman Dirk Muller led the way at the start in the #66 Ford GT, with Alexander Sims jumping to second in the #25 BMW, ahead of both Porsches, as the #67 Ford – which started second in Ryan Briscoe’s hands – fell back to fifth.
The crucial moves occurred later amid the flurry of late yellows, when Joey Hand (in for Muller) leapt from third to first in one lap at the penultimate restart, passing the sister Ford of Richard Westbrook and then leader Laurens Vanthoor when the #912 Porsche ran wide at Turn 5 while trying to pass a GTD car.
Tommy Milner/Oliver Gavin were on course to finish fourth, but Milner was punted off by Sims on the final lap. Sims, and co-driver Bill Auberlen, had battled back from a broken shock absorber, but the positions were then reversed putting the Corvette back ahead.
The lead battle lost the #911 Porsche when Dirk Werner spun out spectacularly at Turn 1 just after a restart, following a clash with Antonio Garcia’s Corvette – who was given a drive-through penalty.
In GT Daytona, a great first stint from Jesse Krohn set up victory for Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6, partnered by Jens Klingmann. Patrick Lindsey and Jorg Bergmeister finished second in their Park Place Porsche.
James French and Patricio O’Ward led every lap in the Prototype Challenge class for Performance Tech Motorsports, which sealed the title.