No. 10 Acura Is Just Ahead of No. 60 Acura in Battle for DPi Championship
By Mark Robinson
BRASELTON, Ga. – Four hours into the Motul Petit Le Mans that closes the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, Loic Duval led the race in the No. 5 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta while Brendon Hartley had Wayne Taylor Racing in position to take home the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class championship.
Live streaming race coverage continues on Peacock, with USA Network joining at 7 p.m. ET through the conclusion shortly after 10 p.m.
Duval, sharing the No. 5 Cadillac with Tristan Vautier and Richard Westbrook, held the overall and DPi class lead by 1.374 seconds over Mike Conway in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac. Once the race started, only the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 from Wayne Taylor Racing and the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 remained in DPi championship contention.
Full-season drivers of the No. 10, Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, entered the race with a 14-point lead over the No. 60 duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis. Hartley, the third driver for the No. 10, was in third place after four hours, one spot ahead of Jarvis in the No. 60. Whichever car finishes ahead at the end of the 10-hour race claims the title. The lone exception is if the No. 60 finishes fifth in class, the No. 10 must finish seventh.
The No. 10 Acura battled back after nearly going a lap down early. Starting driver Taylor stopped on Lap 1 to change the set of tires he’d flat-spotted in qualifying on Friday when he slid off track. The first full-course caution about 30 minutes into the race helped Taylor keep from being lapped.
“We were a bit lucky with that yellow,” Taylor admitted. “We were struggling for pace early but it started getting better. I think the track is going to come to us as it cools down and the sun sets.”
Other class leaders at the four-hour mark were: Josh Pierson in the No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2); Felipe Fraga in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3); Toni Vilander in the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 in GT Daytona (GTD); and Davide Rigon in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 in GTD PRO.
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R officially clinched the GTD PRO class championship when the green flag waved. Team members held a mini-celebration on the pit-lane timing stand to commemorate Pfaff’s second straight championship, with last year’s coming in GTD.
“It’s a big relief,” said No. 9 co-driver Matt Campbell, who shares the championship with Mathieu Jaminet. “We just had a little celebration here and now we can focus on the race. … We’ll go about our business and see where we are at the end.”
The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07, the team leader in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) season standings coming into the race, saw its chances of repeating as champion diminished just under three hours into the race when the car slid off course and hard into the Turn 1 tire barrier. Ben Keating emerged unharmed but the car sustained damage and retired from the race.
The four-hour mark also marked the first point where IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points were awarded. This championship consists of the four endurance races on the schedule, with points awarded at pre-designated junctures of the races. Each class leader earns five points, second place gets four, third place gets three and all others in class earn two points. Points will be awarded again at the eight-hour mark and at the race finish.
After four hours of the race, the overall Michelin Endurance Cup leaders were: the No. 5 JDC-Miller Cadillac in DPi, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier in LMP3, the No. 62 Risi Ferrari in GTD PRO and the No. 70 inception racing McLaren 720S GT3 in GTD. The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen ORECA clinched the Michelin Endurance Cup in LMP2 by starting the race.