Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: JDC-Miller to run two Cadillac DPi entries in 2019

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Earlier on Thursday, JDC-Miller Motorsports, winners of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen this year with Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller, and Misha Goikhberg in the No. 99 Oreca 07 Gibson, revealed that they will be switching to the Cadillac DPi-V.R platform in 2019.

The announcement comes on the heels of IMSA revealing that next year’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will feature two separate Prototype categories, one for DPi entries and one for LMP2 entries.

“When we first started our IMSA WeatherTech program in 2014 we knew our goal was to work with a brand like Cadillac. We feel strongly that we have found the best possible partner and look forward to adding to the incredible success Cadillac has already enjoyed in IMSA,” said John Church, managing partner with JDC-Miller.

John Miller, co-partner at JDC-Miller, added, “We worked very hard to get to this point and I could not be more proud of my partner John Church and everyone in our group and company who has contributed to our success. These are exciting times for our team but I think we have proven last year and in this season that we are ready for this step.”

JDC-Miller will join Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express, which have fielded Cadillac DPi entries since they were introduced last year. Spirit of Daytona Racing also races with a Cadillac, but a combination of crashes and financial woes have limited their efforts this year – they did not compete at last weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from Road America.

Matt Russell, marketing manager at Cadillac Racing, is eager to add another team to the Cadillac lineup.

“We welcome the JDC-Miller team to the Cadillac V-Performance family,” Russell. “Their performance with the LMP2 cars has been impressive and we look forward to them joining the grid with their two new Cadillac DPi-V.R cars at Daytona in January.”

Further, John Church also confirmed that Stephen Simpson will return to the team next year as a driver of one of their DPi machines.

“We can confirm that Stephen Simpson for sure will remain with the team for 2019 since we had an option to continue with Stephen, and after his performance this year there was no question that he will be in the lineup in one of JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi’s for next year,” Church detailed.

More details about their driver lineup will come at a later date.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.