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Three Takeaways from the 25th Motul Petit Le Mans

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Game Balls, GTD PRO Show and time management experience

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David Phillips

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BRAZELTON, Georgia – What more can be said after 10 hours of racing, during which more than two dozen titles of drivers, teams and manufacturers of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup were determined at Motul Petit Le Mans 2022? Lots of. In fact, far more than this space or the concentration of attention of the most ardent fan of sports car racing allows.

Realizing that any attempt to summarize or highlight everything that was achieved between 12:10 pm ET and 10:10 pm on Saturday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta would be presumptuous, if not tedious, allows me to focus on a few noteworthy aspects of the event.

Motul Petit Le Mans game ball

There were many stellar performances over the weekend, but it would be hard to find a more deserving recipient of the Motul Petit Le Mans Game Ball than Tom Blomquist. He started with a brilliant qualifying lap in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with the Acura-ARX Curb-Agajanian to pick up the Motul Pole Award and win the 2022 Daytona Prototype (DPi) International Manufacturers Championship for Acura on Friday.

But it was just job 1. Next up was the DPi team and drivers’ titles in a competition between Meyer Shank and Konica Minolta Acura, who finished 10th on Saturday.

After nine-plus hours of hard-fought racing, accompanied by co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomkvist took advantage of Meyer Shank’s exemplary pit stop work to pass Filipe Albuquerque’s No. 10 Acura on the track after their final pit stops. Blomkvist repaid his pit crew for a brilliant job by overtaking the second-placed Acura to the point where Albuquerque was forced to make a “questionable” overtake of the number 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Winward Racing in turn two to keep Blomkvist in sight.

Contact followed, hurting No. 10 and securing Meyer Shank’s second Motul Petit Le Mans overall win, as well as the 2022 DPi team and drivers championships for Blomkvist and Jarvis.

Not a moment of peace

Pfaff Motorsports’ No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R, along with drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell, took the GTD PRO team, manufacturer and driver crowns of the season by simply taking the green flag, and one would think the drama had been pretty much eliminated. this class at Motul Petit Le Mans. Barely.

Less than half an hour left in the 10-hour event Jaminet, Jack Hawksworth (No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3), Daniel Serra (No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3) and Connor De Phillippi (No. 25). BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3) entered into an exciting four-way battle for the lead, during which they immediately passed two, three, and sometimes four times from behind. Despite Jaminet applying the proverbial chrome horn to the leading Lexus in Turn 10, Hawksworth managed to retain the top spot. Serra, however, passed the Pfaff Porsche in the resulting confusion and followed Hawkesworth, duly taking first place on the next lap and sailing towards the checkered flag. Any chance of Hawksworth getting back around Serra was dashed when a full warning was issued just minutes before the finish line at 22:10…or so it seemed.

Day and night, with scores of competitors penalized for everything from avoidable contact to improperly inflated tires, Risi Competizione saw the GTD PRO win slip away when officials determined Serra had exceeded the maximum time allowed (four hours) for any driver. driving for six hours. Thus, Hawksworth, Ben Barnicot and Kyle Kirkwood, Lexus and Wasser Sullivan not only won the Motul Petit Le Mans, but also finished second in the GTD PRO manufacturers, teams and drivers rankings.

Not bad for a class race that was thought to lack drama.

GB Plm 092922 14832s 2022 10 03

time sensitive

Many NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks have been said to rarely lose in a game; rather, they simply did not have enough time. The same can be said for the multitude of GT Daytona (GTD) drivers, teams and manufacturers when it comes to the 2022 championship.

While the GTD PRO titles were a foregone conclusion after Pfaff Motorsports’ No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R received the green flag, the GTD titles could easily go to four teams, three manufacturers and their drivers. This should not have come as a surprise this season, with seven teams and seven manufacturers visiting the winning streak before Saturday.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that an eighth team and a seventh manufacturer, namely Gradient Racing and Acura, should write their names into the 2022 GTD winners’ roll call on Saturday, despite starting from the end of the field after a mechanical problem prevented them from posting qualifying times. .

As is usually the case this season, there was no shortage of teams that could take home the winning Motul Petit Le Mans equipment. Led by the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, no fewer than 10 cars led (GTD) at the four-hour mark with seven cars led by the 70th starting racing McLaren 720S GT3 in the lead. lap four hours later. However, McLaren was initially stuck behind the slower car leaving the pit lane at the end of the race, giving up the lead, which the No. 66 Acura NSX GT3 would hold until the finish line.

In terms of championship contenders, the No. 16 Wright Porsche finished fourth, the No. 32 Team Korthoff Mercedes-AMG in sixth, and the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG from Winward Racing in 11th, with Roman De Angelis, Maxime Martin and Ian James brought fourth place. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin finished seventh to claim the title. In the end Wright Motorsports, Team Korthoff and BMW Turner Motorsport number 96 finished within 103 points of the Heart of Racing Team. With all due respect to the GTD champions, this order could very well have been shuffled if time had not expired for the others and the 2022 WeatherTech Championship at 10:10 pm on Saturday.


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