Fans of Cadillac’s IMSA Daytona Prototype international program should have a happier weekend ahead to look forward to at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Few of IMSA’s recent Balance of Performance changes have been as grand or overdue as the technical adjustments applied to the four Cadillac DPi-V.Rs teams in the field for the Monterey SportsCar Championship Powered By McLaren.
Winless since Long Beach in April, and coming off a rough stretch this summer where the naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V8-powered prototypes have been unable to vie for victories, a sizable reduction in weight and welcome bump in horsepower should restore balance to the DPi class.
With Cadillacs taking the first three wins of the year, the five-race stretch from Mid-Ohio in May through the last DPi round at Road America in August saw Acura’s ARX-05s take two on the trot and Mazda’s RT24-Ps claim the last three as the Cadillac contingent trailed well behind on raw pace.
Thanks to carving 44 pounds from the Action Express Racing, JDC-Miller Motorsports, and Wayne Taylor Racing DPi-V.Rs, and allowing more air to reach the combustion chambers of their ECR-built V8s, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship might have a bit of mystery as to which manufacturer will win on Sunday.
“We’re hoping it’s a step in the right direction,” JDC-Miller co-owner John Church told RACER. “It’s better than where it has been. We still don’t feel we’re getting everything we need, but when IMSA called to explain the changes, we understood where they were coming from and respect their process. I’m an eternal optimist and look to the best side of what can happen. It’s a step in the right direction.”
JDC-Miller driver Tristan Vautier is hoping to use the BoP changes to his favor and earn the team’s first win with Cadillac at a circuit he’s only navigated in open-wheel machinery.
“It seems like we are getting a little of bit of help BoP-wise, and that track is mainly medium-speed corners,” he said. “I have good hopes this should help us [to] be competitive. Tire management is going to be big because the track is very low grip and induces a lot of tire degradation. I can’t think of any corner that compares really — the Corkscrew is so unique. I’ve never been through it in a prototype car, so I look forward to seeing what it feels like! The track has many other very unique and interesting corners such as Turn 6, with the blind entry, and Turn 10 with that huge compression. It’s a really cool track.”
CORE autosport’s lone Nissan Onroak DPi, which has shown competitive pace at times with the Pro-Am pairing of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett, could also factor in Sunday’s 2h40m race being aired on NBC, making it a four-way contest for overall victory.