No. 01 Cadillac takes DPi Detroit Victory


The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Team celebrates in the fountain at Belle Isle. (IMSA photo)

DETROIT — Knowing that winning the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic was crucial to their comeback in the points battle of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande essentially led Saturday’s 100-minute sprint race from start to finish.

But it was anything but easy. Bourdais, who won Friday’s Motul Pole Award with a course record lap around the 2.3-mile, 14-turn, temporary road course at Belle Isle Raceway, led the first half of Saturday’s race before claiming the Cadillac V-Performance Academy DPi No 01 brought -VR to hand over to van der Zande.

While saving fuel to get the one-stop strategy working, the Dutchman withheld intense pressure from Oliver Jarvis in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 DPi during his final 50-minute stint was standing.

Meanwhile, in the Whelen Engineering #31 Cadillac DPi, Pipo Derani caught up with them at high speed while attempting to execute a two-stop game plan. With about 25 minutes to go, Derani caught up with the leading duo and Earl Bamber in the #02 Cadillac Racing DPi-VR for third.

From there it was a thrilling battle to the finish, with van der Zande in the lead and a frantic battle for the remaining two podiums. Derani briefly moved up to third place, but eventually crossed the finish line in fourth after a fierce battle with the #02 Cadillac. However, the No. 31 Cadillac was found underweight at the post-race technical inspection and was moved to the bottom of the class.

Bourdais and van der Zande completed 73 laps, a record distance for the Detroit race, which for the first time went without a full road warning. They won by 0.398s over Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist in the #60 Acura, followed by Bamber and co-driver Alex Lynn in the #02 Cadillac.

“What a day!” exclaimed Bourdais after his ninth IMSA win of his career. “It definitely wasn’t the easiest race we’ve ever won, but I’m super proud of the whole Cadillac team (#) 01. We had to save a ton of fuel. Renger brought it home and it was very tough. It was hard fought, but it’s all the sweeter when you win it.”

The triumph was long on the road to victory for the No. 01 team, who endured a roller-coaster 2022 season. The points for Detroit pole and race win moved Bourdais, van der Zande and the No. 01 into fourth position, unofficially 143 points behind Jarvis, Blomqvist and the No. 60 Acura with four races to go.

“It seems like it’s a feast or a famine for the (#)01,” said team owner Chip Ganassi, whose organization prepares the #01 and 02 Cadillacs and clinched the team’s 63rd IMSA win. “Either they win or something stupid happens.”

Bourdais has secured pole position in four of the last five races in the WeatherTech Championship, but ahead of Detroit he and van der Zande have only won once this season on the streets of Long Beach, Calif., and missed the finish three times.

“It’s a good points day,” said van der Zande, who now has 17 IMSA race wins in his career and celebrated back-to-back Detroit victories after last year with Kevin Magnussen in the #01. “The championship isn’t over yet it’s over so all we have to do is win races and see where we end up. We’ve had some issues this year so I’m very glad it’s behind us. Win this one and hopefully some more.

“Today was a bit of a gamble for everyone,” he added. “We have a great strategy on the pit wall and we have a guy (Bourdais) who can save a lot of fuel. I think we saved a lot and then it was just tactics on the track. It was kind of a fun game. If there was a gap I would lift massively, and then when there was traffic I could give a little more. But we managed it.”

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