MSR crowned champions at Petit Le Mans after dramatic WTR retirement

Michael Levitt/Lumen

MSR crowned champions at Petit Le Mans after dramatic WTR retirement

IMSA

MSR crowned champions at Petit Le Mans after dramatic WTR retirement

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With tensions high on their respective pitboxes, Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing battled down to the wire to determine the winner of Motul Petit Le Mans and the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi title. It came down to a broken WTR Acura and a season full of ups and downs bookended by victories for new champions Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Meyer Shank Racing.

A late-race caution caused by the two Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs taking each other out turned the race on its head, bringing new life to battles throughout the field; but in the end, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing bending a suspension wishbone in the last 15 minutes after side-by-side contact with a GTD car, Blomqvist and Jarvis took the championship in the No. 60 Acura, aided to victory by Helio Castroneves.

Albuquerque was pursuing Blomqvist through traffic and got a run on the No. 60 to attempt an outside move in Turn 1. But Blomqvist fought off the attack, and a few seconds later, Albuquerque, who had made many masterful moves through traffic to earn victory for the No. 10 throughout the season, finally fell victim to traffic when he made contact with the No. 57 Winward Racing GTD Mercedes-AMG with 15 minutes left. The No. 10 Acura suffered a broken left rear suspension and ended WTR’s bid for victory and the championship.

“It feels good,” said Jarvis as Blomqvist was bringing the car into pit lane “Wow, what a race! It looked like we were out of it with about an hour and 20 to go, but I’ve been on the receiving end where I led it a few years back and we had an issue while we were leading, so I know how the No. 10 feels. They’ve had a fantastic year, so full credit to them. But for Meyer Shank to come away with victory and the championship, that’s something really special.”

The Pfaff Motorsports duo of Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet had already clinched the GTD PRO title when the race began, but along with Felipe Nasr, they were still contending for the win in the closing stages. Chasing Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3, a bit of contact between the two cars allowed the No. 62 Risi Ferrari 488 and the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3 into the fight and the Ferrari wheeled by Daniel Serra eventually took the lead. But Serra had been in the car for 4h11m in the final six hours, a violation of the drive-time rules, so even though the Ferrari crossed the line first, they were moved to the back, with Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood awarded the victory.

The GTD lead also changed in the final stages. The No. 70 Inception McLaren, especially with Jordan Pepper at the wheel, had looked like it was going to cruise to the win, but in the final pit stop, Mario Farnbacher in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX, which had started last, emerged ahead of the McLaren and claimed victory for himself, Till Bechtolsheimer and Kyffin Simpson — their first in the series.

The No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage finished seventh in GTD, but with the chief rivals in the championship faring not much better, it was enough for Roman De Angelis to claim the drivers championship.

The No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA claimed the LMP2 victory for John Farano, Louis Delatraz and Rui Pinto de Andrade, along with the title for Farano. Gabby Chavez, Jarett Andretti and Josh Burdon took No. 36 Andretti Autosport to the LMP3 race victory, while Jon Bennett and Colin Braun took the championship for CORE Autosport.

Full reports to follow.

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