After two-and-a-half hours in the 25th Motul Petit Le Mans, Sebastien Bourdais is out front and rocketing away in the No. 01 Chip Ganasssi Cadillac, putting 20s on the rest of the DPi contenders while they battle themselves and traffic. The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura is second, and in championship-winning position, with Helio Castroneves at the wheel. However, Brendon Hartley is right behind Castroneves in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura. The WTR team has pulled itself back into contention after pitting on the first lap to replace the tires Ricky Taylor damaged in qualifying, thanks to several cautions.
Three hours down, seven to go! pic.twitter.com/uasaJJC7md
— #IMSA (@IMSA) October 1, 2022
Three full-course yellows have slowed the pace. The first, about 30m into the race was for the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racine Lamborghini Huracán in GTD stopped on course. That car was brought back to the pits and behind the wall for what was believed to be a throttle potentiometer, but is now officially out. The second came at 1h24m into the race for Dwight Merriman spinning the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 into the gravel in Turn 6. Despite the spin and starting from pit lane, and having to serve a drive-through penalty for not making it to grid, the No. 18 is still on the lead lap. The third caution came only two laps later when the steering apparently broke on the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage, sending it into the No. 99 Hardpoint Porsche and then into the gravel trap. At the same time, the No. 20 High Class Racing ORECA LMP2 went off track in Turn 1 and into the tire wall. What was expected to be a short yellow turned into a long one as the tire wall needed some work.
The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 continues to show the strength that allowed Madison Snow to put the car on the GTD pole, and it leads GTD and GT overall with Erik Johansson at the wheel. Second in GTD, with a couple of PRO cars in between, is Michael Dinan in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 after a great opening stint by Robby Foley. Winward Racing is third with the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG, Marvin Dienst currently at the wheel.
In the GTD championship, Mike Skeen is fifth for Team Korthoff Motorsports, The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche is ninth and Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin is 10th. In that position, Skeen’s co-driver Stevan McAleer would claim the championship.
GTD PRO is currently a battle between Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F that Jack Hawksworth put on pole and the No. 3 Corvette, Jordan Taylor at the wheel after Antonio Garcia opened the stint.
“Things are going in the right direction,” said Garcia, who is looking for his first Petit Le Mans victory after his stint. “The start of the race was easy and relaxed in a way. We had good pace to the other cars in front of those and managed to jump most of those in the pits. Then the pace was really good. I had to catch the No. 79, which seemed doable at least now, and got into the lead. We’re still finding out and figuring out how the car behaves on a long stint because we haven’t done a full stint yet. We will see.”
Felipe Nasr is still in the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche. Now that the GTD PRO title is settled in their favor, there’s no more conservatism and the team is racing for the win.
Sebastian Montoya leads LMP2 in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA. John Farano is looking good for the title in that class thanks to Era Motorsports’ troubles. Colin Braun leads LMP3 in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier, keeping he and Jon Bennett well out in front of the title battle.