Cadillac dominates and takes a double at Long Beach

The No. 01 Cadillac of Sébastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande won on the streets of Long Beach after a constant duel against the other General Motors GTP, the No. 31 of Action Express Racing.

Published on 21/04/2024 à 07:54

Michael Duforest

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Cadillac dominates and takes a double at Long Beach

© IMSA Photo

However, it was the No. 31 which started from pole position, thanks to the lap of Pipo Derani, undefeated in this area in 2024. If Derani led well into the first corner, Sébastien Bourdais managed to take second position, after a less optimal start from the #25 BMW of Nick Yelloly, qualified on the front row.

Once the two Cadillacs were at the forefront, the race came down to a duel, with the Porsche Penske n°6 wishing to play the role of referee but only being able to observe, in third position. The gap between Derani and Bourdais oscillated between 2 tenths and 2 seconds, and at the end of the relay, the Manceau was getting closer to the Brazilian, without however managing to find the opening.

It was a third of the way through the race that this first Sprint of the season (only 1h40) changed. Derani was first through the pit lane for his driver change, handing over the wheel to Jack Aitken in the #31. The leading car had been slowed down by a GTD at the entrance to the pitlane, and had decided to change the tires on the left side only.

A strategic victory

In 2023, the winning strategy was a strategy without changing tires, but Michelin having brought a softer tire to Long Beach this year, Action Express Racing was not tempting the devil. On the Chip Ganassi Racing side, we tried exactly the opposite, and when Sébastien Bourdais handed over the wheel to Renger van der Zande, the black and yellow prototype left with the same tires!

As a result of the races, the No. 01 took the lead ahead of the No. 31, but van der Zande now had to resist the attacks of Jack Aitken for almost an hour. If the gap stabilized at the start of the stint, the red Cadillac came back strong at the end of the race.

A final neutralization a quarter of an hour from the finish for an exit by Connor De Philippi (BMW n°25) could have redistributed the cards but Renger van der Zande perfectly controlled his takeoff to then win with a half -second ahead of Jack Aitken in the #31.

“It was quite cold, then the sun came out and the temperature warmed up”, said van der Zande. “We made the decision [on changing tires or not] at the last minute. We made the right choice, that’s for sure. The strategy allowed us to win this race. The tires were a bit worn at the end, it was quite slippery. But I am very proud of my team. »

Behind, Porsche secured the podium, despite a big scare 22 minutes from the end. The No. 6, firmly clinging to its podium, was in fact hit by a Lamborghini GTD at the hairpin, sending it into a spin. Mathieu Jaminet was able to restart and finish fourth, behind the sister car, the No. 7, driven by Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr.

In the GTD category, victory went to the No. 3 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT89, a second and a half ahead of the No. 4 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 GT96.

Next meeting forIMSA at Laguna Seca, on May 12!

Long Beach – Ranking

ALSO READ > Long Beach – Qualifying: Derani signs his third consecutive pole!


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