Cadillac earns third consecutive pole award

Derani drives No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R to top at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 19, 2024) – The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R earned its third consecutive pole position to start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) season.

Reigning GTP champion Pipo Derani guided the hybrid Cadillac racecar to a best lap of 1 minute, 11.388 seconds on the tight 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary downtown street circuit to top the 10-car field for the 100-minute race Saturday.

Cadillac has earned four poles and an additional five front row starts at Long Beach since joining the IMSA prototype class in 2017. Cadillac Racing will seek its sixth victory in seven races at Long Beach.

“I put in the lap in early and it was enough, apparently,” said Derani, who has driven to the pole in each race and upped his career IMSA record to 12. “Today the car was on rails. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac was fantastic. We took it off rails a little bit on the last flying lap but came back to it. It’s great to be on pole.”

Sebastien Bourdais qualified third in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R with a best lap of 1:11.411. Bourdais, a four-time winner at Long Beach, was limited to five laps because of a hybrid system issue at the start of the 15-minute session. Bourdais and van der Zande started on the front row at Daytona and Sebring.

Both Cadillac Racing entries topped the time chart in the two pre-qualifying practice sessions.

“Congratulations to the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R team for their efforts in winning the important pole position for the sprint race,” said Mark Stielow, GM director of motorsports competition. “Pipo Derani drove another great qualifying session on an exceptionally technical street course. We’re looking forward to Cadillac Racing teams being in contention for the victory tomorrow.”

Both the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R (Rolex 24 At Daytona) and No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R (Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Present3ed by Cadillac) have recorded runner-up finishes this season.

A Cadillac DPi won five consecutive races at Long Beach through 2022 (no event in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic), including podium sweeps in ‘22 and ’21, to extend GM’s victory streak to seven in the event. A Chevrolet Corvette DP won the 2015 and ’16 races.

Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, who will co-drive Saturday, won in 2022. Derani will share the seat with Jack Aitken.

USA and Peacock will have flag-to-flag action starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 20. Peacock and IMSA.TV will stream qualifications at 8 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 19. All sessions will be broadcast on and SiriusXM will also broadcast the race (Sirius 211, XM 206, Web/App 996).

No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “It’s a testament to the car. I think we were on the money. Just obviously had a hybrid fault and couldn’t start the car. The guys managed to find a default position that disabled something and managed to get us going. I got impeded on two of those three laps that we had, and particularly the quick lap. It’s a shame but at the same time it’s mixed feelings. For most of the time I was in the car, I thought that we weren’t going to get going. Starting P3 is a lot better than not putting a lap in and starting P10. We still have a chance to do something tomorrow. We have a quick car, so hopefully we can put one in the bank for Cadillac.”

No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “I put in the lap in early and it was enough, apparently. On that last flying lap, I didn’t have any information from the team; I actually requested them not to talk too much over the radio. I was going a little bit quicker, so I said I was going to try it to make sure I have an extra gap in case it’s necessary. We always know that at the end of qualifying, things start to get a little bit quicker. Then I just locked up and went straight into the barriers. I knew I needed to come off the barriers quite quickly because of a red flag. I quickly reminded myself how to get it done. Nevertheless, we knew how important it was to be on pole here for this race. We can swap the nose but in a race here it is important to start on pole, so I’m happy with that.”

Being on pole for a 100-minute race: “This race can have it turn upside-down quite quickly with a yellow. But if it’s a clean race, if you start from the front, it can win you the race. We knew coming here that it would be important to start up front. We saw last year what happened into Turn One. It’s always complicated here to pass. We don’t have as many cars as the first two races, so it makes it even harder for you to try and find your way by somebody with less traffic. Today the car was on rails. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac was fantastic. We took it off rails a little bit on the last flying lap but came back to it. It’s great to be on pole.”

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


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