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Mazda Battles Back; Wins Petit Le Mans in IMSA Farewell

The No. 55 Ideimitsu Mazda RT24-P came back from early engine troubles to win the 24th running of the Motul Petit Le Mans held at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, In Braselton, Ga.

The No. 55 Mazda driven by Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis, and Jonathan Bomarito overcame a three-lap deficit due to an extended pit stop needed to replace a spark plug in the early hours of the 10-hour endurance race.

The Mazda team took advantage of the wave-around rule allowing them to get laps back under several Safety Car periods caused by on-track incidents. Tinckell would take the lead from the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Felipe Nasr with just 22 minutes remaining in the timed race.

Saturday’s Petit Le Mans marks the final race of the Mazda Daytona Prototype International Program, as it was announced earlier this year that Mazda would be ending the Multimatic run program after a 5 year run in the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

DPi Championship decided on last lap

The No.31 Whelen Engineering sponsored Cadillac of Action Express Racing and driven by Felipe Nasr, had to fend off a late charge from the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura of Ricky Taylor to hold on to the second position in the race and to clinch the DPi Team and Drivers Title.

Taylor franticly chased the No.31 car in the closing moments in the dark around the 12 turn North Georgia Road Course. Had Taylor managed to overtake Nasr, the No.10 car would have won the Championship. On the final lap taylor made an attempt to outbreak Nasr into turn 10 which marks one of the final passing opportunities. Taylor was unable to keep his car on the pavement and resulted in him running wide and into the grass. Taylor would rejoin the circuit ahead of Nasr, but quickly gave the position back to avoid a penalty for exceeding track limits.

Post Race Penalty Decides LMP2 Victor

The Tower Motorsports LMP2 Oreca was awarded the class victory after the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca crossed the finish line first, but was given a 37 second time penalty for failing to serve an incident responsibility stop and go penalty during the race for contact that occurred on the last lap. The PR1 Mathiasen entry of Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen had clinched the LMP2 class title by virtue of starting Saturday’s race.

The Combination of Gar Robinson, Scott Andrews, and Felipe Fraga teamed up to win the LMP3 class, in the Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320-Nissan. Robinson also won the LMP3 driver’s title.

WeatherTech Porsches claim 1-2 in final GT Le Mans race.

Mathieu Jaminet, Matt Campbell, and Cooper MacNeil teamed to lead a 1-2 finish for the WeatherTech Racing Proton Competition squad in the final race for the GT Le Mans Class. Jaminet came across the finish line just 0.318 seconds ahead of Kevin Estre in its Sister Car after team orders swapped the running order on the final lap.

The Rahal Letterman Lannigan Racing No 24 BMW M8 of Augusto Farfus, John Edwards, and Jesse Krohn finished in 3rd position to round out the Podium after the No.4 C8R corvette of Nick Tandy made late contact with the eventual race-winning No.55 Mazda DPI. This marks a rare dual Did not finish for Corvette after a mid-race pile-up following a full-course caution period eliminated the sister car of Jordan Taylor.

This marked the final race for the GT Le Mans class that features Le Mans specification GT cars. Next year it will be replaced with GT Daytona Pro using the same FIA GT3 specification cars that feature in the current GT Daytona class.

Heart of Racing Aston Wins Race; Pfaff Wins Title

Heart of Racing Claimed the GT Daytona class win as Ross Gunn crossed the finish line in his Aston Martin Vantage GT3 7.857 seconds ahead of Laurens Vanhoor in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911. Gunn shared the car with team mates Roman De Angelis, and Ian James.

the Pfaff Motorsports entry of Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon managed to win the GT Daytona Title by finishing second. The Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers represented Pfaff’s main competition for the GT Daytona Title. However, they ran into trouble early in the race. despite moving up the GTD standings it was not enough to overcome the points deficit to Pfaff.

Cold Weather & Darkness a factor

this year’s running of the Petit Le Mans saw a shift away from its traditional early to mid-October date due to the 24 Hours of Le Mans moving from June to September due to COVID-19. This year’s race featured the longest period of nighttime racing in Petit Le Mans History.

The Colder November weather in North Georgia also presented a challenge to teams, as during the nighttime running teams struggled to get heat into their tires. On several occasions teams elected to leave warm used tires on the cars during fuel stops, rather than putting fresh tires on the car. This was due to the added time loss due to drivers having to drive more cautiously while trying to warm their tires.

The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar championship kicks off the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona on January 29-30th. the 2022 Edition of the Motul Petit Le Mans is currently scheduled for September 28th,2022 through Saturday, October 1st, 2022.

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