This year’s Sebring race had quite a bit of controversy, from crashes to BOP issues (AGAIN), to breakthrough wins. There was plenty to talk about following the conclusion of the event, but I will try to keep it short for now :).
First there was Nissan’s breakthough win: After having multiple issues at Daytona, they seemed to conquer those demons and dominated the whole race, including a stellar concluding stint from the Derani Show (we are not worthy). It’s great to see a car without a Caddy badge on the nose win a race (but more on that later), and I’m sure those guys worked really hard and it is a well-deserved win.
Second, there was Tristan “Wrecking Ball” Vautier wrecking through multiple cars and finally himself in the #90 Cadillac. He took out the #2 ESM Nissan on the opening corner, resulting in the prompt retirement of the car. Vautier should know better than to try to win the race at T1. Then later in the race, he made contact again with another car, this time with an Acura DPi. However, this resulted in a slightly less prompt retirement, but tally up 2 DNF’s caused by Vautier at this point. Then the final nail in the coffin: Tristan’s hour 11 off into the T17 tire barriers broke the front suspension, causing an instant retirement. This also left some GT car diving into the pits to repair their cars from the debris they ran over. Although no retirements were caused, it was just more collateral collected by Vautier.
Tristan, a word of advice: Don’t be like Jose Maria Lopez, or dare I say it…Crashtor.
#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi as seen at the Canadian International Autoshow
Third, was another breakthough win for Porsche in GTLM. Having been snubbed of a victory at Daytona because of IMSA’s severely poor Daytona BOP, it’s nice to see (first off) a car other than a Corvette win at Sebring, and generally that Porsche doing well in their new car, of which they seemed to struggle with last year in it’s maiden championship attempt. Hopefully IMSA can keep the cars competitive enough throughout the year, so we can have some great racing.
How about a shout out to BMW for the solid running as well! I look forward to Spa later in the year, and see how competitive they are in ACO trim.
Lastly, I want to touch on the atrocious BOP in the Prototype class. Again it was super obvious that the DPi’s were the star of the show and the ACO spec LMP2’s were playing second fiddle. As Zak Brown said after the race; “We are racing with the hope the DPi cars are unreliable. We didn’t have the speed to race them [DPi] here.”
When you have the fastest LMP2 qualifying 11th (after ALL the DPi’s) and finishing 4th after over half of the DPi field had major issues, you can exactly blame Zak for being distraught.
Although I like Paul Di Resta’s comment better, saying the BOP was an “embarrassing waste of time. IMSA must get it sorted if they want teams from Europe to head here.”
As I’ve said before, IMSA keep referring to the ACO P2’s as “the baseline”, yet they are garbage on raw pace compared to the DPi’s. You can’t exactly blame IMSA for wanting their baby to be the star of their own show. However, if you are going to treat DPi like a class above the ACO P2’s, then just go ahead and do it! If you truly want the European teams here, then get your ducks in a row! It was a recurring theme last year as well. It’s clear IMSA doesn’t care about the P2 teams, and that is really disappointing.
As I keep saying, hopefully they will fix it, but I doubt that will happen at this point.
Before I sign off here, I just would like to mention that I ran some iRacing Le Mans Series this weekend as well in the LMP2 class, and did pretty well! I qualified P2 in class, only off by 0.1s, although I was keeping it a tad reserved. I ended up leading the race from about lap 3 onwards and never looked back. I controlled the race pretty well and won by about 10s in the end.
I’m going to try my hand at LMP1 running next week, so hopefully I can do well there as well.
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