Michelin Endurance Cup Petit Le Mans pre-race notes

October 1, 2019

Michelin Endurance Cup Petit Le Mans pre-race notes

October 1, 2019

Among the many championships on the line at Motul Petit Le Mans are the 2019 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup titles.

Driver, team and manufacturer titles are in play at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, to cap off IMSA”s four-race championship within a championship that rewards those who succeed in IMSA’s four longest race events.

Some 42 of the 52 hours of competition are already in the books. The “36 Hours of Florida” caps off both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring through March. The third Michelin Endurance Cup race is held at Watkins Glen International with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

At Petit Le Mans, points are awarded at the four, eight and 10-hour marks of the race in descending 5-4-3-2 order (full scenarios here). Some teams craft their strategy to maximize their points-scoring performances at those intervals.

AXR SEEKS A SIX-PACK
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran

Realistically, a pair of Cadillac teams have the best chance of securing the DPi title. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R pairing of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande hold a two-point lead over the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac of Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran. Cadillac holds a six-point lead over Acura among manufacturers in pursuit of that title.

Action Express Racing, with either its Mustang Sampling or Whelen Engineering-backed cars, have won each of the last five Michelin Endurance Cup titles within the merged IMSA series.

LMP2 will see Performance Tech Motorsports capture that title, with Kyle Masson and Cameron Cassels. The Sebring winners in the No. 38 ORECA 07 have sufficiently gapped the sister ORECA fielded by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports in the three prior Michelin Endurance Cup races thus far.

GT CLASS LEADERS

Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet are poised to wrap the GT Le Mans drivers title in their No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR here. Winners of the last two Michelin Endurance Cup races at Sebring and Watkins Glen, and with a six-point edge in the standings, they have a good chance here. They also have an outside shot of beating their teammates to the full-season GTLM title, but will need a win and a significant stumble by the No. 912 car to do so. Just two points covers the next three pairings in this class. Porsche leads both Chevrolet and Ford by five points among GTLM manufacturers.

No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, GTD: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Felipe Fraga

GT Daytona titles among drivers and manufacturers remain closely up for grabs. The No. 33 Riley-Team AMG Mercedes trio of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga hold a three-point lead over their closet rivals. Only 11 points in total cover 12 pairs of cars. Mercedes-AMG leads Ferrari by two points and three other automotive brands, Acura, Audi and Lamborghini, by three points. The Riley Motorsports team seeks its third straight Michelin Endurance Cup GTD title, and fourth in five years.

Past Michelin Endurance Cup champions under its previous name, the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, are below:

PAST CHAMPIONS

2018

  • P: Driver/Team: 31 Curran/Nasr, Whelen Engineering Racing, Manufacturer: Cadillac
  • GTLM: Driver/Team: 66 Mueller/Hand, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Manufacturer: Ford
  • GTD: Driver/Team: 33 Keating/Bleekemolen/Stolz, Riley, Manufacturer: Mercedes-AMG

2017

  • P: Driver/Team: 5 Albuquerque/Barbosa/Fittipaldi, Mustang Sampling Racing, Manufacturer: Cadillac
  • GTLM: Driver/Team: 911 Werner/Pilet, Porsche GT Team, Manufacturer: Ford
  • GTD: Driver/Team: 33 Keating/Bleekemolen/M. Farnbacher, Riley, Manufacturer: Mercedes-AMG

2016

  • P: Driver/Team: 5 Barbosa/Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing, Manufacturer: Honda
  • GTLM: Driver/Team: 4 Gavin/Milner, Corvette Racing, Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • GTD: Driver/Team: 63 Balzan/ Nielsen, Scuderia Corsa, Manufacturer: Audi

2015

  • P: Driver/Team: 5 Barbosa/Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing, Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • GTLM: Driver/Team: 3 Garcia/Magnussen, Corvette Racing, Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • GTD: Driver/Team: 93 Carter/ Lawrence, Riley, Manufacturer: Porsche

2014

  • P: Driver/Team: 5 Barbosa/ Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing, Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • GTLM: Driver/Team: 912 Christensen/ Long, Porsche GT Team, Manufacturer: Porsche
  • GTD: Driver/Team: 555 T. Bell/ Sweedler, AIM, Manufacturer: Ferrari

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