2020 Motul Petit Le Mans Start

Motul Petit Le Mans:  Four-Hour Report

Staff Report

Braselton, Ga. – The 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans is under way at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Live television coverage in the U.S. continues on NBCSN through 6:30 p.m. ET before switching to the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. NBCSN coverage will return at 9:30 p.m. through the checkered flag.

IMSA Radio coverage also continues on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

Prototype Notebook:

  • The Safety Car appeared for only the second time just past the four-hour mark of the 10-hour endurance race. It was called out when the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA LMP2 07 entry in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class driven by Rob Hodes spun and hit the wall at Turn 3.

  • Prior to that, the 31-car field was running at a record pace, with the caution for Hodes coming after nearly 3.5 hours unbroken hours of green-flag racing.

  • The intense battle for the overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) lead between the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi rages on. The No. 31 short-pitted midway through Hour 4 and gained the lead over the No. 6 in the pit stop exchange despite executing a driver change from Filipe Albuquerque to Felipe Nasr. But Acura Team Penske regained the lead on the next round of stops, with Dane Cameron replacing Simon Pagenaud.

  • The top five in the DPi class (and overall) is rounded out by the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, and the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry.

  • Now with Patrick Kelly back behind the wheel, the No. 52 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA LMP2 has stretched its LMP2 lead to two laps over the similar No. 8 car fielded by Tower Motorsport by Starworks.

  • After running in second place through the first stint, the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry dropped to fifth in the second hour after a slow pit stop and driver change from Ricky Taylor to Helio Castroneves. The team changed the nose of the Acura ARX-05 DPi during the service.

  • The fraught event continued for the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports team during the second hour. Already five laps down after encountering a brake issue just 12 minutes into the race, Ryan Hunter-Reay was on his out lap when the Mazda DPi came into contact with the GT Daytona (GTD) class No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Cooper MacNeil. The No. 55 endured another off-course excursion, but Hunter-Reay and MacNeil were both able to continue.

  • The first full-course caution waved 22 minutes into the event when Gabriel Aubry went off course in Turn 1 and nosed the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R into a tire barrier. After the car was extracted by the AMR Safety Team, Aubry was able to drive back to the pits, but the car went behind the wall for extensive repairs.

GT Notebook:

  • BMW continued its strong showing in WeatherTech Championship endurance races, with the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE leading the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class through four hours of racing at the Motul Petit Le Mans.

The No. 24, co-driven by Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Augusto Farfus, first took the class lead just past the two-hour mark of the 10-hour race. Other than during pit stop cycles, the BMW remained out front. Krohn, Edwards and Farfus, along with fourth driver Chaz Mostert, won the GTLM portion of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

  • The other car in the BMW stable, the No. 25, wasn’t faring as well. Though it led early, the No. 25 – winner of the six-hour TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway six weeks ago – spent 45 minutes today behind the pit wall for repairs and was more than 30 laps behind the class leaders at the four-hour mark.

  • In GT Daytona (GTD), the polesitting No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 was the class leader at the four-hour mark. With Mario Farnbacher at the wheel, the No. 86 was 2.045 seconds ahead of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.

  • The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, the GTD winner in last month’s six-hour race at Michelin Raceway, was a lap down, 11th in GTD after four hours.

IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points Update

The four-hour mark represented the first of three scoring segments at Motul Petit Le Mans for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

Although it has been battling electrical issues and was running fifth at four hours, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon continues to lead the DPi standings with 25 points, four points ahead of a two-way tie for second between the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi that led the race at four hours and the No. 77 Mazda DPi that was in third place.

In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the race-leading No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE entry shared by John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus extended its lead to five points, 29-24, over a two-way tie between the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSRs from the Porsche GT Team.

The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 shared by Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis stands atop the GTD Michelin Endurance Cup standings. It earned four points in the first scoring segment for running second at four hours, and now leads by nine points, 31-22, over the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 that was leading the race after four hours.

The No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 entry shared by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker has effectively clinched the Michelin Endurance Cup. It collected the maximum five points by leading at four hours, running its point total to 33.

Even if it scores the minimum two points in the next two segments, all it must do is compete in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Nov. 14 to take the Endurance Cup.