October 2, 2023

IMSA CTMP race day news and notes

Ganassi Cadillac performs the warm-up
Renger van der Zande was fastest in the morning warm-up for this afternoon’s Chevrolet Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Van der Zande set a lap of 1:07.969 in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R, leading Alexander Sims in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac and pole sitter Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06.

Wayne Boyd led LMP3 in the No. 17 AWA Racing Duqueine, while Loris Spinelli led GTD in the No. 78 Forte Racing Powered by USRT. Lamborghini Huracan. Katherine Legge made sure that the Nr. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 looked strong with the second fastest time in GT overall, followed by Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 who led GTD PRO.

Saving energy is a challenge
A race of 2h40m probably means two pit stops for the GTP cars. But how those pit stops and the intervening stints are managed could play a huge part in the outcome of the Chevrolet Grand Prix. However, saving energy to extend a stint or reduce pit stop time is difficult at CTMP.

“It’s quite a difficult track to save energy because there are no heavy braking zones, and when you have to lift and coast a lot, it’s quite lap time sensitive,” said pole sitter Tom Blomqvist, who missed out on victory last year. due to a hard-charging Renger van der Zande in the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. “The main thing here really is to stick with people, so there’s not a huge advantage to it… I mean, there’s always an advantage to saving energy compared to the opposition, but only if you stay with them. So around here it’s a little bit more sensitive to that and also the lap is so short that if you try to save energy and lose too big of a gap you go down too.”

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Blomqvist wins CTMP pole with Meyer Shank Racing Acura

Blomqvist and Brain are a strong combination at CTMP
The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 looks to be in a pretty good position for today’s race. Not only did Tom Blomqvist put the car on pole, and not only did Acura prove the dominant brand so far this weekend at CTMP, but Blomqvist’s teammate Colin Braun is also good at this track. Really good – Braun has five victories at CTMP, including last year in LMP3, more than any other driver in the field.

Keeping it clean… until now
During two practice sessions and qualifying, no car in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship group made contact with a Canadian Tire Motorsports Park wall or any other car, only a few spins with one car interrupting proceedings. While that wasn’t true of the other series run this weekend, and probably won’t see it through the 2:40m Chevrolet Grand Prix, the lack of incidents is somewhat surprising for Canadian-born and CTMP resident Roman De Angelis, who was here last year. GTD won and scored pole for today’s race.

De Angelis will start at the front of his class, but expect the action to get a lot hotter in the race. Michael Levitt/Motorsport Images

“On a circuit where there’s a lot of stakes, I think you have to have a lot more respect than, say, COTA, where if you make a mistake you can open your hands and drive away,” said De Angelis. “I think as a driver you realize that, so you approach driving here very differently than on a track like COTA, which is basically a parking lot with lines on it. So I think a lot of people have that respect, especially in practice. I’m sure when the race comes it will be a bit of a different story for some, but I plan to keep it on track as long as possible and hopefully be there at the end.

Teammate advantage
De Angelis will start on the outside of the second row, alongside his Heart of Racing teammate Alex Riberas in the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which will start third in GTD PRO. With another GTD PRO car between him and next GTD qualifier Frankie Montecalvo (No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3), he reckons it’s a pretty good position to be in.

“If you’re around your teammate, whoever is in a position that they need help and you’re able to do that, you do,” he explains. “Whether that means they’re a car between themselves and another PRO car, or they let us through, where we work together, if one car does well, we both do well.”

First Michelin Pilot Challenge win for Toyota, Thompson
Billy Johnson and Parker Thompson, making his first IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge start, won the GS category at Saturday’s MPC Canadian Tire Motorsports Park 120 in the No. 50 Hattori Motorsports Toyota Supra GT4 after the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 GT4 of Robert Megennis and Cameron Lawrence was moved to the rear. The No. 95 had a refueling time shorter than the minimum time allowed and was also found to be underweight.

It is Toyota’s first win in the series and gives Thompson a 100 percent victory record in MPC. It was Johnson’s 24th win in the series. Mikey Taylor and Chris Miller won TCR in the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS TCR.

Allocation of tires
GTP teams will have three sets of Michelin tires for the race, including all tires used in qualifying. The other classes have a total of seven sets for the weekend.

Driving time
Minimum driving time in the Pro-Am classes is 45 minutes for the 2h40m race. Minimum time for GTP and GTD PRO is 10 minutes.

How to watch
The Chevrolet Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed on Peacock. Audio can be found at IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and at SiriusXM 207 or at SiriusXM Web/app 992.

Story originally appeared on Racer

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