Can Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis take the motive force’s championship for Shank? [Jack Webster photo]
By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine
Twice beforehand, IMSA’s season finale at Michelin Raceway Highway Atlanta has been severely affected by remnants of a hurricane. In each 2009 and 2015, torrential downpours triggered Petit Le Mans to be shortened because of observe flooding and low visibility.
Each, nevertheless, had been thrilling races which weren’t determined till the very finish of the race. In 2009 the successful Peugeot 908 HDi FAP solely took the lead on the ultimate lap of the race, as race chief Allan McNish within the Audi R15 spun off within the horrible situations whereas main.
In 2015, it was a complete upset as a GT automotive received the race total, leaving all of the prototypes behind – both caught within the mud or the pits on the end of the race. Tandy, Pilet and Lietz took a win for the ages with their Porsche 911 RSR.
The purpose is that IMSA races within the rain – they all the time have they usually all the time will. They’ve nice automobiles able to operating at velocity within the moist they usually have one of the best rain tires on this planet (Michelin). We all know there’s loads of uncertainty about Hurricane Ian, which is bearing down on the Tampa, Florida space (a minimum of as of when this was written), and it appears like it should turn into a serious rain occasion for the Atlanta space by Friday and into raceday on Saturday. Until there are downpours that flood the observe or lightning that endangers the folks spectating or working there, the race ought to go forward as scheduled. Once more, IMSA races within the rain.
Motul Petit Le Mans will resolve all 5 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championships – Dpi, LMP2, LMP3, GTD-Professional and GTD. Whereas a few these driver championships are fairly effectively locked up previous to the beginning of Petit (GTD-Professional, LMP2 and LMP3 as an illustration), the remainder of them have to be determined in Atlanta this weekend.
Driver, group, and producer championships have to be determined, together with the season lengthy winners of the Michelin Endurance Cup. After such a aggressive and hard-fought championship season, it appears becoming that the winners of all of the completely different championships this yr must survive ten hours of knuckle biting pressure within the moist at Michelin Raceway Highway Atlanta to assert their simply rewards. Profitable in such situations will make the championship appear way more particular. If this had been simple, anybody might do it.
The season ending race at Motul Petit Le Mans additionally marks the tip of an period, simply because the Rolex 24 in January 2023 will mark the start of a brand new one, for Petit will mark the ultimate race for the DPi class of prototypes, which shall be changed with the all new GTP class starting at Daytona. Acura groups (the Wayne Taylor Racing squad and the Michael Shank group) have been going forwards and backwards all season lengthy within the factors battle however just one will emerge victorious to assert the championship after Petit. With a well-deserved producers championship by Acura, now it’s as much as these two Acura groups to find out the group and driver championships.
So, seize your rain gear and head on right down to Michelin Raceway Highway Atlanta for Motul Petit Le Mans this Saturday – the climate could also be cool and damp, however the competitors is assured to be crimson scorching.
We shall be there, moist or dry – we wouldn’t miss this one for the world.
Jack Webster has been taking pictures motorsports for the reason that early 1970’s, protecting Formulation One, CanAm, F5000, TransAm, GrandAm and American Le Mans races, amongst others. Along with his images, he has additionally labored on racing groups, each in IMSA and IndyCar, so has an entire information of the inside workings of motorsport. Each his images and writing may be seen right here on racingnation.com. Eddie LePine has been concerned in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie is also now a retired racer (effectively, retired until trip pops up). You possibly can often discover Eddie within the paddock space, deep in dialog with a driver.