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Consistent Performance, Not Necessarily Outright Race Results Matter In Battle for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup

The Rolex 24 At Daytona race winners in the prototype classes also came away from the race atop the leaderboard after the first of four rounds in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. In the GT classes? Not so much.
Scoring for the Michelin Endurance Cup is based on performance at specified intervals during the four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance races: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on March 16, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on June 30 and the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 12.
At the Rolex 24, points were awarded at the six-, 12, 18- and 24-hour marks. Leaders at each interval received five points, with four going to second place, three for third and two for every car in fourth place or lower. And by looking at the scores each of the leaders posted in the Rolex 24, running at the front in the earlier segments was key to coming away with a high score at race’s end. Every leader was third or higher in their class in each of the first two intervals.
In the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso earned the most points, making them the Round 1 winners of the Michelin Endurance Cup.
They were fourth at six and 12 hours and led at the 18-hour mark as well as the finish, giving them a total of 18 points from Daytona. That puts them five ahead of a tie for second between last year’s Michelin Endurance Cup Prototype champion team, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R squad, and the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi team. No. 31 co-drivers Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani also are tied for second in the standings with No. 7 co-drivers Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi with 13 points apiece.
In the DPi Michelin Endurance Cup manufacturer race, Cadillac leads Acura by two points, 19-17.
Leading the way in LMP2 was the race-winning No. 18 DragonSpeed ORECA team of Pastor Maldonado, Roberto Gonzalez, Ryan Cullen and Sebastian Saavedra. They’re three points, 19-16, ahead of their second-place finishing teammates in the No. 81, Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, James Allen and Nicolas Lapierre.
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE and its driving quartet of Alessandro Pier Guidi, David Rigon, James Calado and Miguel Molina benefited from race-long performance to take the Michelin Endurance Cup lead. They were second at six hours, third at halfway, leading at 18 hours and finished second in the race.
That puts them first with 16 points, three more than the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR trio of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet, and four better than the third-place squad of Frederic Makowiecki, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche.
Incidentally, the GTLM race-winning team of Augusto Farfus, Colton Herta, Connor De Phillippi and Philipp Eng in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE are currently tied for fourth in the class Michelin Endurance Cup standings with the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R trio of Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler. Both teams have 11 points each.
With only the No. 62 team scoring points for the manufacturer, Ferrari still leads Porsche by two points, 17-15 in the Michelin Endurance Cup GTLM manufacturer standings.
The GT Daytona (GTD) Michelin Endurance Cup standings saw a lead change last Thursday when the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi team was moved to the back of the field due to a drive-time penalty.
The new GTD leaders are the same team that has won each of the past two Michelin Endurance Cups in class, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG team and drivers Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz and Felipe Fraga. The No. 33 led GTD in both of the first two scoring segments at the Rolex 24 and received two points in each of the next two segments to total 14 points.
After the penalty, the No. 29 Montaplast Audi team of Christopher Mies, Daniel Morad, Dries Vanthoor and Ricky Feller are now second in the Michelin Endurance Cup GTD standings, trailing the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 squad by two (14-12).
The GTD race-winning No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and drivers Christian Engelhart, Mirko Bortolotti, Rik Breukers and Rolf Ineichen are tied for third in Michelin Endurance Cup points with the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 team of A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Marks, Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher.
Mercedes-AMG leads the GTD standings with 14 points, one more than second-place Audi and two more than third-place Acura.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will have three more Michelin Endurance Cup scoring chances, coming at the four-, eight- and 12-hour marks.
Tickets for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts are available now at Live NBC Sports television coverage begins Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. ET on CNBC with continuing coverage on the NBC Sports App and NBCSN. IMSA Radio also will have live coverage on, and SiriusXM Radio.