IMSA Wire: Motul Petit Le Mans: Eight-Hour Report

Oct. 17, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

BRASELTON, Ga. – The 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans continues at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Live streaming coverage in the U.S. is currently airing on the NBC Sports App, and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Live NBCSN television coverage returns at 9:30 p.m. ET through the checkered flag.
IMSA Radio coverage also continues on and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).
Hour 8 Notebook:–          The complexion of the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans changed dramatically at the halfway point of the 10-hour endurance race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Separate two-car incidents unfolded almost simultaneously at the five-hour mark. The pole-winning No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi that has led the most laps appeared to make contact with the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA LMP2, sending Dane Cameron in the Penske Acura off track to driver’s left. 
Meanwhile, the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi wheeled by Olivier Pla was pushed into the wall on the opposite side of the track after coming together with Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 as the No. 77 was exiting pit lane. Though Pla was able to drive back to the pits, the Mazda sustained considerable damage and lost nearly 20 laps while behind the pit wall for repairs. Cameron was able to remain on the lead lap.
–         The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and No. 8 Tower Motorsport continue fighting for LMP2 honors at the eight-hour mark, with both cars on the lead lap.
–         The No. 4 Corvette is relying on full-season driver Tommy Milner and endurance add-on Marcel Fassler to handle the lion’s share of duties behind the wheel. Oliver Gavin, the other full-time driver, sustained a rib injury in a biking accident earlier this week and was not expected to return to the car after satisfying his base drive time requirement.
–         The No. 912 Porsche was assessed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility after making contact with the No. 3 Corvette in Turn 9 with just more than four hours remaining. Even with the penalty, the Porsche remained on the lead lap and in contention.
–         The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura suffered suspension damage in a collision with the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with just under three hours remaining and went behind the wall for nearly 20 minutes to be repaired. It’s an incident that could have major implications on the GTD championship since No. 86 drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry entered the race with a four-point lead in the standings.
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points UpdateThe eight-hour mark brought the second of three IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points-scoring opportunities at Motul Petit Le Mans, which brought a bit more clarity to most class standings.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R squad of Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon saw its four-point lead cut in half. While Dixon earned three points for the team for third place at eight hours, Felipe Nasr’s lead in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac brought the team and co-drivers Pipo Derani and Filipe Albuquerque into sole possession of second place, 28-26.
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, meanwhile, the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE and co-drivers Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Augusto Farfus built their advantage, once again earning the maximum five points for leading at eight hours. The No. 24 is now seven points, 34-27, ahead of the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR.
None of the GT Daytona (GTD) front-runners in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings scored more than the minimum two points in the middle segment. As a result, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 trio of Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis continue to lead by nine points, 33-24, ahead of the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 team.
And the No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA team of Patrick Kelly, Scott Huffaker and Simon Trummer continued their dominance in LMP2, leading at eight hours and again scoring the maximum five Michelin Endurance Cup points. The No. 52 squad now leads with 38 points, double the 19-point total of the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks squad that is currently tied with the No. 18 DragonSpeed USA team that is not competing here.

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