Cadillac at Indy: Back to the front in title chase

Cadillac V-Series.Rs finish fourth, seventh in 2-hour, 40-minute race at IMS

Updates Cadillac Racing place in the GTP Manufacturer Championship standings.

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 17, 2023) – From a 17-point gap to the championship lead, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R will look to wrap up the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Grand Touring Prototype title Oct. 14 at the Motul Petit Le Mans.

After missing nearly all the initial practice session Friday because of a brake issue and qualifying a season-low eighth, Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims drove the hybrid Cadillac racecar to fourth place in the 2-hour, 40-minute TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande overcame a first-lap incident to finish seventh.

The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R takes a three-point advantage in the GTP Team/Driver Championship into the 10-hour race on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Derani, Sims and Jack Aitken also lead the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in points.

Cadillac is eight points out of first place in the GTP Manufacturer Championship standings and will seek to claim its ninth manufacturer title (three in IMSA DPi, three in the Pirelli World Challenge GT, two in the SPEED World Challenge GT).

The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R took the point following a round of yellow flag pit stops and Derani kept the Cadillac, powered by the 5.5-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine, out front for 35 minutes at the midpoint of the race on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

Derani was overtaken in Turn 1 with 1 hour, 3 minutes left by the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports entry and the eventual race-winning No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports car. Sims held his own over the final 47 minutes after a full-service stop.

Bourdais, who qualified fourth, was tagged from behind in Turn 1 of the green flag lap, spun and hit again. He continued and brought the crippled car onto pit lane under yellow for a front bodywork change assembly and right-rear tire change. He returned to pit lane five minutes later under green for tires and fuel. Van der Zande took over the wheel for the final 1 hour, 51 minutes left.

The USA Network and Peacock (in the U.S.; IMSA.TV outside the U.S.) will air the Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 14.

What they’re saying

No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “The run down to Turn 1 at the start is so long and you get a crazy amount of tow. They were all bunched to the right, so the only option was to go left. You know at that point that you’re in a three-wide situation and I was just trying to hold my position. In the process, I got turned and got hit and we had to come in for a new nose and got a drive-thru. It was a frustrating race after the team prepared hard for this race. We’ll keep at it and hope to finish on a better note at Petit.”

Renger van der Zande: “I was disappointed with our pace after the first-corner crash because it didn’t feel right. I was hanging on to it much of the time. We hopefully can improve at the upcoming test and understand a little more what the tire does and take it from there at Petit Le Mans.”

No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “I’m proud of the whole team. After missing practice 1 and to be in position to lead the race, we fought hard to bring home a solid finish for the championship. We moved up the grid from P8 to P4 and back in the championship lead. Obviously, not the race result we were looking for when we arrived here. We always want to win, but if you can’t win you always try to get your best finish. Considering how we started the weekend, it was a very good effort. Thank you to our Whelen team, Cadillac Racing for always fighting hard.”

Alexander Sims: “Honestly, from where we started, the end was pretty good. The middle of the race it was looking pretty rosy the was the strategy played out. Ultimately, we didn’t quite have the long-run pace of the guys up front. When I got in we were fourth and we finished fourth. I didn’t have the strongest of stints and there is work to do to keep improving. Nevertheless, we go into the last race in a good position and as always in IMSA it’s pretty exciting down to the end. I’m looking forward to it.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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