DETROIT — Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande delivered the second big victory to Chip Ganassi Racing this week, topping the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship results in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Raceway.
It was the second consecutive victory in Detroit for Ganassi’s No. 01 Cadillac, which won last year with van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen. Bourdais, who started on pole position for the fourth time this season, joined his new teammate for the celebratory dip Saturday in the James Scott Memorial Fountain.
Their dominating victory bookended a week that began with Ganassi snapping a 10-year winless drought in the Indy 500, which was won by Marcus Ericsson.
POINTS: Standings after Detroit
“It was definitely not the easiest race we have ever won, but I am super proud of everyone on the 01 Cadillac team,” Bourdais, who set the track record in its final IMSA qualifying session, told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Renger brought it home. It was a hard fight, but it is that much sweeter when you win it.”
Said van der Zande: “We got it done. We’ve had some trouble this year. It is good to get it behind us so we can look forward and win some more races hopefully.”
— Sébastien Bourdais (@BourdaisOnTrack) June 4, 2022
Oliver Jarvis finished in second by 0.309 seconds in the No. 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing. The 100-minute race was caution-free for the first time (featuring a record 73 laps), and everyone was watching reigning series champion Pipo Derani in the closing stint.
After taking over from new teammate Olivier Pla (who replaced Tristan Nunez in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac this week), Derani erased a deficit of nearly 30 seconds.
He also had two wheel-to-wheel battles with Earl Bamber, who finished third in Ganassi’s No. 02 Cadillac. The No. 31 finished fourth but was moved to the rear of the class after being found underweight in postrace inspection.
— Motorsports on NBC (@MotorsportsNBC) June 4, 2022
Jarvis and teammate Tom Blomqvist took the DPi points lead.
It was the fourth Belle Isle victory for van der Zande and first for Bourdais. The duo won from the pole for the second time this season as Cadillac remained unbeaten on street courses this season.
Next year, the Detroit Grand Prix that includes the IMSA race will relocate to a downtown circuit.
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— #IMSA (@IMSA) June 4, 2022
IndyCar rookie Kyle Kirkwood led an overhauled Vasser Sullivan lineup to the team’s first win this season — the first career IMSA victory for Kirkwood and teammate Ben Barnicoat.
Kirkwood won the pole for the race but raced Saturday with an injured right hand from a crash in IndyCar practice Saturday morning.
Although clearly ailing, Kirkwood started the race and ran second during his stint while saving fuel before handing off to Barnicoat shortly before halfway, making a pit stop a lap after the leader. The Vasser Sullivan crew had a quick two-tire pit stop and the No. 17 Lexus returned to the track in first. Barnicoat then led the final 43 laps.
“We won this one on pit strategy, and on that pit stop,” Kirkwood told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “They had a mega pit stop. We got out about 4 seconds sooner than anyone else and just led the race from there. This race is all about track position. We needed that track position, we got it, and we were able to control the race there until the end. It’s so good to come back with the Vasser Sullivan team and get their first win of the year with Ben and I.”
— #IMSA (@IMSA) June 4, 2022
It was the IMSA debut at Belle Isle for both drivers. It is the 10th victory for the Lexus RC F GT3 in GTD, the eighth with Vasser Sullivan and the second Detroit victory for the RC F GT3.
Kirkwood and Barnicoat were put into the lineup this week as the team needed replacements for regular Jack Hawksworth, who was injured in a motorbike crash.
“It was an awesome day,” Barnicoat said. “I’m stoked to get my first win with Lexus and Vasser Sullivan. It was tough out there. We only took two tires, so it was pretty loose for a while until the fuel burned off. Then at the end, we had it under control. This one is for the Vasser Sullivan boys and for Jack, who’s at home recovering. I send him all the best and can’t wait to have him back in the car with me soon.”
Kirkwood is the endurance driver for the team but got his first sprint race Saturday. He declined to celebrate in the fountain over superstition about racing in Sunday’s IndyCar event.
STATS PACKAGE FOR IMSA CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX:
NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return to its endurance schedule with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International at 10:30 a.m. ET on June 26 with coverage on USA and Peacock. All five classes are in action.