Kevin Magnussen, Renger van der Zande win for Ganassi at Detroit; IMSA results, points

0 Comments

IMSA points results Detroit: Chip Ganassi Racing swept Saturday at Belle Isle Raceway as Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande took the No. 01 Cadillac to victory lane in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic.

It’s the 60th career sports car victory for Ganassi but the team’s first at Belle Isle.

The Ganassi duo finished 0.573 seconds ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani. Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque finished third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, which scored its third DPi podium finish through four races.

The victory for Magnussen and van der Zande came about two hours after Ganassi driver Marcus Ericsson won for the first time in the NTT IndyCar Series.

This is the first season together for Magnussen and van der Zande, who teamed up about two months before the season began when CGR decided to enter the premier division of IMSA.

After Magnussen started on pole position for the first time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the No. 01 led 97 of 99 laps around the 14-turn, 2.3-mile road course in the 100-minute race.

“I haven’t won a race since 2013 and it feels great,” Magnussen said. “The whole season we have been fast, but just not getting it to the end. We led a lot of laps this year and finally the right laps. Chip Ganassi Racing had an impressive weekend (referring to the win in IndyCar earlier in the day). I was happy to contribute to that with a win as well.

“Coming here and knowing I was going to be able to fight for wins was a real privilege. To go racing with this awesome car at these awesome tracks with this team is a dream. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to do that. To come out of this weekend with the big trophy it’s pretty special. I am back in a winning situation and really enjoying it.”

RESULTSClick here for the final overall finishing order and here for the class breakdown.

Magnussen won in his IMSA debut at Detroit, while van der Zande scored his 15th career IMSA victory and third at Belle Isle while holding off Nasr in the closing laps.

“Having a Brazilian behind you is never easy,” van der Zande said. “We controlled the race. Kevin did a mega job in qualifying to get us to the front. We just kept control of it. You have to be lucky at street tracks not having crazy yellows at the wrong time. I think IMSA did a good job giving everyone a chance controlling the yellows. The car was really nice. We had the Cadillac set-up really well. The team gives you a lot of confidence so I can do what I do and that’s drive cars fast. The win on the home soil of GM, very proud.”

Said team owner Chip Ganassi: “Obviously a big day for the team. I don’t think it is any secret that this team was put together at the last minute in the fall of 2020. It is really special to have an availability of talent, like (Magnussen and van der Zande), that want to come and drive for you. I couldn’t be prouder of these two and the work they put in over the winter. They are the kind of teammates you like to have and the kind of people you want to have in your organization. I think they have a great future in the sport.”

In the GTD division, the No. 39 Peregrine Racing Audi R8 crossed the finish line first but was moved to the rear of the field when a postrace audit showed the team’s refueling was faster than the minimum listed on Balance of Performance table for the class, according to IMSA.

That handed the victory to the No. 23 Heart of Racing team of Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis, giving Aston Martin its first victory in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

In the exhibition GTLM division, the No. 4 C8.R Corvette finished ahead of its No. 3 Corvette Racing Counterpart.


STATS PACKAGE FOR CHEVROLET SPORTS CAR CLASSIC AT BELLE ISLE RACEWAY:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Leader sequence

Lap chart

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Time cards

Pit stop time cards


ROUND 1: Points and results from the Rolex 24 at Daytona

ROUND 2: Points and results from the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

ROUND 3: Points and results from Mid-Ohio

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will resume June 24-27 at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Jimmie Johnson open to racing Rolex 24 at Daytona in lower category to earn first watch

Jimmie Johnson Rolex 2023
Michael L. Levitt/LAT/USA/IMSA
0 Comments

Jimmie Johnson could be making his last start in a prototype Saturday, but he still might be racing sports cars at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Le Mans in 2023.

Now that he’s done racing full time in the NTT IndyCar Series, Johnson said this week that his top three priorities for 2023 are 1) racing the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day (commonly known as “The Double”); 2) the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 3) the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Winning a Rolex 24 long has been a goal for Johnson, who has three overall runner-up finishes over nine starts in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

IMSA SEASON FINALE: Details for watching the Petit Le Mans

All of those were in the premier category, but with IMSA overhauling and rebranding the class (from DPi to GTP) next season, it seems there won’t be room for Johnson to return in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac. Johnson will be teamed with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans season finale, wrapping the second season of endurance races for the Action Express entry.

“I know the landscape with the new prototype class that’s come out, and frankly there’s just not enough cars or open seats available,” the seven-time Cup Series champion said during a Zoom news conference Tuesday. “So I don’t seen an opportunity in the premier division, but I am open to the other divisions on track and would love to finally earn one of those watches.”

That could mean Johnson (who bought an engraved Rolex after winning the 2006 Daytona 500 but wants to earn a signature trophy of sports car racing) entering in an LMP2 or LMP3 or perhaps a GT car for the first time at Daytona next year. He will have Carvana’s primary sponsorship in tow next year that he presumably could bring to a team.

The rest of the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion’s 2023 schedule also remains to be solidified. But it seems Johnson is nearly a lock for a 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in the lineup of the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro, which will be fielded jointly by Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR.

“The rest of it is just early,” he said. “In the coming weeks on all fronts, conversations will continue forward. I still feel I’m on a short list for the Garage 56 program in Le Mans next year and hope to get some clarity on that in the coming weeks or months. So I wish I had more to report at this point. It’s really about not returning full time to IndyCar, and now that I’ve made that decision and letting that news be known, I really feel like I’ll get some traction here and be able to solidify my schedule for ’23.”

Depending on the interest he draws, his options should be wide open. After racing a Honda the past two years and a Chevrolet for his 20-plus years in NASCAR, Johnson isn’t under contract to any manufacturer or team next year.

Here’s what else Johnson has said about what he wants to do in ’23:

IndyCar: Though his IndyCar track record was much stronger on ovals, Johnson seems open to any part-time schedule.

“I’m running out of specific events that are bucket list races (in IndyCar), and truthfully, that’s kind of what led to my decision to not come back full time,” Johnson said. “But I still am open to tracks that are important to me, races that are important to me and doing it with people and teams that are important to me, so if something develops with Chip (Ganassi) that’s a mixed bag of road and street courses and some ovals, I’m open to it. I’m open to just ‘the Double’ or the Indy 500 alone. I really do have a clean sheet of paper and eager to see what meaningful opportunities develop and make sense.”

Though he is free to talk with other teams, Johnson said returning with Chip Ganassi Racing would be his first choice after racing with the team since 2021.

“I’ve really only spoken to Chip,” he said. “I truly feel like I’m part of the family at CGR. If I’m in IndyCar, that’s really where I want to be. I know that team. I know the inner workings of it. I do feel like we’re working hard to continue the relationship together, so that would really be my intentions if I was able to put something together and come back in IndyCar, I’d love for it to be there.”

NASCAR: Johnson mentioned again that being a past winner of The Clash and All-Star Race previously granted him long-term eligibility for those events (NASCAR since has changed its criteria), so the exhibitions in Los Angeles and North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, are on his radar.

“I do have a few years left on my eligibility for the Clash and for the All-Star Race, so I’m surprised no one has really asked or pushed hard to this point yet,” he said. “I guess I’ve been busy in IndyCar, and people assume my schedule is tied up. But looking forward, those would be easy opportunities to come back, but honestly I’ve not had an in-depth serious conversation with anyone yet on any of those fronts.

“I’d love to go to Wilkesboro. I’ve never driven on that racetrack. Lowe’s corporate offices were just down the street, so I’ve driven by it many times. I went on a long bike ride with Matt Kenseth and some friends a few years ago and actually rode my bicycle around the track. So I’d love to go back in a proper race car and event someday and hopefully that opportunity can develop.”

Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 (which put Kimi Raikkonen in the Cup race at Watkins Glen International) would provide an avenue for Johnson’s re-entry to stock cars.

“Justin’s been a longtime friend and someone I stay in touch with, and he’s certainly made it known that the Project 91 car is available if I have interest,” Johnson said. “So I would need to continue those conversations forward.”

–“The Double”: In trying to become the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to race 1,100 miles at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day, Johnson believes the logistics should be easier. Namely, he won’t have a full-time commitment in either IndyCar and NASCAR, and the reduced Cup schedule for practice and qualifying should free up more time.

“When drivers did it in the past, we had a lot more on-track activity for both series, certainly on the NASCAR side,” Johnson said. “I think how the NASCAR format works now, there’s less of an ask in time. So I do feel like the potential to apply myself and have physically enough time to pull it off is there. I do think the reduced schedule and not running the full IndyCar schedule will give me the time I need before and after to seriously focus and dedicate everything I can and would need to give my best performance in both races.”