The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opened at Daytona International Speedway in January with the traditional Rolex-24. It was followed by the historic 12-Hours of Sebring, Long Beach, Mid-Ohio, Detroit, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock, Road America, Virginia International Raceway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and a 10-hour finale called Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

In 2018, there were three classes:

  • Prototype (P) – These are purpose built race cars and the quickest in the series. Significant changes were implemented to this category in 2017. It included cars constructed to one of two different sets of rules – Daytona Prototype International (DPi) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (P2). The DPi category includes the Cadillac DPi-V.R, Nissan DPi, Acura DPi and Mazda RT24-P. This class allows manufacturers to use their engines. All the P2 cars are powered by a 3.8-liter Gibson V8 engine. Competitors are using chassis’ from ORECA, Ligier and Riley Technologies.
  • Grand Touring Le Mans (GTLM) – Cars in this class are highly modified production vehicles from manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, Chevrolet and BMW. As a result, a wide range of engine configurations and displacements are employed. The series technical staff uses a number of methods to ensure that teams are competing on a ‘level playing field.’ Most of the teams racing in this group are receiving factory support.
  • Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) – This is also a production based class but does not allow the same level of technological improvements that can be made to Grand Touring Le Mans cars. Vehicles in the category include Audi R8 LMS GT3, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488 GT3, BMW M6 GT3, Acura NSX GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Mercedes AMG GT3, Lexus RCF GT3 and Aston Martin Vantage. Similar to Grand Touring Le Mans, the IMSA technical staff uses a number of methods to ensure parity.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park hosted the seventh round of IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Challenge series. Thirty-one entries would compete in the two-hour and forty-minute race around the 2.459-mile ten-turn road course in the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix.

Thirty-one entries funnel into Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s very quick turn one for the start of the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix. Getting the jump on the field is the Team Penske Acura ARX-5 of the third fastest qualifier, Dane Cameron. Trailing Cameron is Renger van der Zande in the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Following in third and fourth is the Trummer/Alon ORECA and Bomarito/Ticknell Mazda.
For the second consecutive weekend, Colin Braun was the fastest qualifier driving the CORE autosport ORECA 07. Braun was 0.225-seconds quicker than the runner-up, Dane Cameron driving the Team Penske Acura ARX-5. Braun would share the ORECA with team owner, Jon Bennett. As was the case at Watkins Glen, the team decided to switch starting drivers. The strategy paid off as the pair scored their first Prototype victory.
Starting twenty-fourth overall and fourth in GTD were Jeroen Bleekemolen and team principal, Ben Keating. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 maintained the leader’s pace during the two-hour and forty-minute event. When the two Lexus encountered problems in the final twenty-minutes, Bleekemolen and Keating moved into first place and captured the victory. This was their first win since COTA in 2017.
In GTLM qualifying it was Porsche driver, Nick Tandy who recorded the fastest lap but the race belonged to the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT. Ryan Briscoe qualified the Ford and was just 0.327-seconds slower the Tandy. Briscoe and his teammate, Richard Westbrook started fourteenth overall. The pair were in contention during the contest. A late race caution allowed Westbrook to pit and pass the class-leading Porsche for the win.
The overall and Prototype class podium for the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. To the left are the runner-up’s Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande from the Wayne Taylor Racing team. And, on the right, are the third-place finishers and new points leaders – Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr. In the center, are the victors – scoring their first Prototype win – Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.
Jan Magnussen and his co-driver, Antonio Garcia were still looking for their first victory of the season. Their best result to date was a second place in the previous round at Watkins Glen. Magnussen handled the qualifying duties for the No. 3 Corvette and was the third quickest GTLM entry. As the event came to a conclusion, the leading Porsche was slowed by a back-marker. The incident allowed the Corvette to finish second.
Sharing the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R were Renger van der Zande and Jordan Taylor. Van der Zande was responsible for qualifying the Cadillac and was fourth overall. Taylor drove the final stint and was in the lead but he could not hold off the ORECA driven by Colin Braun. At the checkered flag, Taylor was second – 3.431-seconds behind Braun. This was the team’s second runner-up result of the season.
The GTD front row was all Lexus. Qualifying on the pole was the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 driven by Jack Hawksworth. The No. 14 entry piloted by Dominik Baumann was 0.439-seconds slower than Hawksworth. Co-driving with Baumann was Canadian, Kyle Marcelli. Marcelli was leading the class with less than twenty minutes remaining but slid off the track and had to settle for the runner-up position.
Off the pace in qualifying by 1.853 and starting last in the Prototype category was the No. 31 Cadillac DPi driven by Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr. The pair started twelfth overall. Some well-timed pit-stops and misfortune for their competitors moved the pair into contention. At the conclusion of the event, Nasr and Curran captured the final position on the podium. More important, they retook the championship lead.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge GTLM podium at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In the center of the rostrum from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing are the winners, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook who scored their second victory of the season. On the left side are the runner-ups from Corvette Racing, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Completing the podium and also from Corvette Racing are Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
In the final practice session, the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS suffered an ABS failure. Team principal, John Potter, was at the wheel when the incident occurred. With the issue corrected, Potter qualified eleventh in GTD. Sharing the Audi with Potter was Andy Lally. Despite starting at the back of the field, the pair worked their way up the race order. When the third-place Lexus went off course, they inherited the final spot on the podium.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the Long Beach round but that was their only podium appearance thus far. Qualifying the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was sports car veteran, Oliver Gavin – he was the fifth fastest in GTLM. During the race, the action was tight at the top of the GTLM category. Also benefitting from the incident which slowed the GTLM leader were Gavin and Milner who finished third.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge GTD podium at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. On the left are second place finishers Dominik Baumann and winner of Saturday’s Continental event, Kyle Marcelli and at the right are John Potter and Andy Lally. In the center, are the winners from Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. This was the team’s first victory since COTA last year.

1PJ. Bennett / C. BraunORECA 07116-
2PJ. Taylor / R. Van Der ZandeCadillac DPi-V.R116-
3PF. Nasr / E. CurranCadillac DPi-V.R116-
4PC. Fittipaldi / F. AlbuquerqueCadillac DPi-V.R116-
5PH. Castroneves / R. TaylorAcura ARX-05116-
6PO. Jarvis / T. NunezMazda RT-24P116-
7PS. Simpson / M. GoikhbergORECA 07116-
8PS. Trummer / R. AlonORECA 07116-
9PS. Saavedra / G. YacamanLigier JS P217114-
10GTLMR. Briscoe / R. WestbrookFord GT112-
11GTLMJ. Magnussen / A. GarciaCorvette C7.R112-
12GTLMT. Milner / O. GavinCorvette C7.R112-
13GTLMP. Pilet / N. TandyPorsche 911 RSR112-
14GTLMJ. Hand / D. MuellerFord GT112-
15GTLML. Vanthoor / E. BamberPorsche 911 RSR112-
16GTLMA. Sims / C. De Phillippi / B. AuberlenBMW M8 GTLM112-
17PD. Cameron / J-P. MontoyaAcura ARX-05111-
18GTDB. Keating / J. BleekemolenMercedes-AMG GT3107-
19GTDD. Baumann / K. MarcelliLexus RC F GT3107-
20GTDJ. Potter / A. LallyAudi R8 LMS GT3107-
21GTDB. Sellers / M. SnowLamborghini Huracan107-
22GTDK. Legge / A. ParenteAcura NSX GT3107-
23GTDJ. Marks / L. AschenbachAcura NSX GT3107-
24GTDHawksworth / Heinemeier HanssonLexus RC F GT3107-
25PJ. Bomarito / H. TincknellMazda RT-24P106Wheel Bearing
26GTDC. MacNeil / J. SegalFerrari 488 GT3106-
27GTDP. Long / C. NielsenPorsche 911 GT3 R106-
27GTDM. Schein / W. HenzlerPorsche 911 GT3 R73Fuel Pressure
29GTDR. Foley III / B. AuberlenBMW M6 GT363Suspension
30GTLMJ. Krohn / J. EdwardsBMW M8 GTLM61Accident
31PP. Derani / R. DalzielNissan DPi45Turbocharger

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