Sebastien Bourdais knows he and Renger van der Zande must win for a shot at the DPi title
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Sebastien Bourdais and teammate Renger van der Zande know their chances of winning the final Daytona Prototype (DPi) international title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are slim.
Tom Blomkvist and Oliver Jarvis (No. 60 Meyer-Shank Racing with Kerb Aghajanyan) lead fellow Acura drivers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta) by 56 points. Meanwhile, Bourdais and van der Zande have won three races together in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-VR, but are third in the standings, 148 points behind the pace.
Winning four Motul Pole Awards in addition to race victories at Long Beach, Detroit and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the No. 01 Cadillac was often the fastest DPi car that year. But a poor start to the season with poor results in several early races resulted in a points deficit which they struggled to overcome.
With just two DPi races left – starting with Sunday’s IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend at Road America – Bourdais realizes this is a high mountain to climb.
“We had a really fast (No.) 01 Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing gave us some great cars, but unfortunately we dropped out of too many races to really be in the hunt for the championship,” admitted Bourdais. “We will need help from (#)60 and (#)10 to run into problems so we can continue to compete and hope for something in the last race (Motul Petit Le Mans, October 2019). 1 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta).
“Nevertheless, it was an interesting season. We ran ahead, won races, felt strong.”
The Frenchman said he and van der Zande were only focused on winning the season.
“In fact, our destiny is not in our own hands, but we are going to continue to fight and achieve the victories that we have throughout the season,” he said. “Hopefully we are still on our way to Road Atlanta. Then there’s a 10 hour race as the deciding champion where we’ve seen crazy things happen.”
There is also a question about the DPi Manufacturers Championship. Acura and Cadillac hit a dead end on their way to Road America. The two marques have won four races and four pole positions each.
This is a clear demonstration of parity in the WeatherTech championship between the Cadillac V-8 and the turbocharged Acuras V-6.
After the disappointment he and van der Sande experienced ahead of the start of the 2022 campaign and knowing they are far from the best drivers and team titles, Bourdais is almost serene in his approach to the last two races.
“From the start we were very fast, we had pace throughout the year,” he said. “It was just a matter of finishing races without tripping or problems. It’s a pity there are so many of us. When you have three empty results out of 10 championship races, it’s very unlikely that you will end up winning.”
A pair of WeatherTech championship practices will take place on Friday at Road America, and qualification to determine a field of 37 cars will begin at noon ET Saturday (live on IMSA.com/TVLive).
Sunday race starts at 11:40. Peacock and IMSA Radio have been broadcasting live since the fall of the green flag, and will be joined by USA Network at noon.