Action Express rebounds at Petite Le Mans washout to win a second DP Championship
The DP championship was up for grabs going into the season finale. Both the # 5 Action Express & # 31 Whelen teams (managed by Gary Nelson’s crew) trailed # 90 Spirit of Daytona by just 6 points headinginto the race. The outcome might have been different were it not for Hurricane Joaquim that drenched the entire southeast over the entire weekend. The race was red flagged for over 2 hours.
Richard Westbrook won the pole on a wet track, qualifying a full second faster than everyone. But as they say, “rain is the great equalizer”. Ouch! A GTLM car was overall winner against the prototypes for the first time in memory dating back to the start of the ALMS in 2001.
The Corvette Racing Team is the GTLM North American Endurance Cup Champion with early season wins at Daytona 24 & Sebring 12 hour races
We are pleased and proud that a Corvette finished first at the Daytona 24 hours, the Sebring 12 hours AND the Le Mans 24 hours. The Corvette may not have been the fastest car but that’s what longer endurance races are all about.
Like it or not, “Balance of Performance” rules play heavily in the outcome in the ultra-competitive factory-backed high tech GTLM class. This year’s gripe was about the Porsche. Last year it was about the Viper which won the championship and promptly quit due to lack of racing budget. Go figure.
In less than 4 months, the mid-engine turbo V-6 Eco Boost Ford, a supercar by most standards, enters the fray, raising the bar in pro GTLM racing. That suggests GM is working on the rumored “Zora” mid-engine Corvette for 2017. Porsche, Ferrari and BMW already have supercars under development.
The USCR Prototype class awaits a major shake-up in 2017 when all cars are supposed to be eligible for Le Mans. The R & D that went into Ganassi’s DP Ford this year could well pay off as there seems to be little reason for the Corvette DP teams to spend a lot with just a season left to race them. The better DP cars seem destined to be collectibles until their time comes for vintage & historic racing.