Cadillac’s were the top dogs entering this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Their cars had won in each of the last five tries here. In fact, they’ve swept the podium spots in 2021 and again in 2022. Since 2018, among the 12 podium positions, Cadillac has taken home nine of those 12 trophies including each of the race winning ones.
However, the GTP era for them is off to a rocky start here.
They went P4-P8 in session 1, P6-P7 in session 2 and P3-P7 in qualifying.
Acura picked up the pieces in going 1-2 in both practice sessions and swept the front row. However, in the end, it was a Porsche in victory lane instead.
Nick Tandy started the race but Jaminet finished to give Penske their first win in IMSA’s top class in just their third race since their return.
Their path to victory was two-fold.
Chip Ganassi Racing went 1-2 last year, but the No. 02 car is endurance racing and the No. 01 Cadillac had an opening lap crash from their third starting spot. Sebastien Bourdais hit the wall entering the first turn which collected Tom Blomqvist’s No. 60 Acura ARX-06 for Meyer Shank Racing.
Where Bourdais’ day was done early, Blomqvist was just sent for a spin cycle and returned to action. However, they were already a lap down and didn’t have much time in a 100-minute race to rebound.
That allowed the Wayne Taylor Racing entry to dominate.
Tandy was in second after the first lap mishap while the No. 25 BMW driven by Nick Yelloly was third. The second Porsche driven by Augusto Farfus was now in fourth.
The WTR car was now the one to beat. The Action Express Cadillac pit under this early caution to get their pit stop and driver swap out of the way. Alexander Sims handed the keys to Pipo Derani.
With the tires taking several laps to come into the desired temperature, it allowed the Porsche to stalk the Acura up front. The BMW ran in tow as a result of the bunched up front. When they couldn’t get separation, WTR brought the car down pit lane to get new tires and to put Ricky Taylor in.
Tandy took over the lead. Unfortunately for WTR, they had a slow stop as the car got stuck in neutral. Seeing that, the Porsche hit pit road and put Jaminet in. In another strategy play, they elected to take fuel only and when coming off pit lane, had a 13 second lead over the WTR Acura.
The BMW’s pit last which allowed the Porsche’s to go 1-2 once the cycle concluded.
With having the speed in their Cadillac, Derani passed Campbell’s No. 7 Porsche for second in Turn 5 and was looking to get the other Porsche for the win. The problem was, they had pit so early, that they had to do so again with 30 minutes left.
It dropped them to sixth.
Campbell was moved back up to second. However, it was short lived. 8 minutes later in the same turn, Connor De Phillippi who was in the No. 25 BMW got by Campbell also in Turn 5 for second.
This time though, Campbell dodged their bullet with the BMW getting in too hot and had to spin the car around in the run off area. Taylor jumped up to third as a result behind the Porsche. He too took his turn at Campbell in Turn 5 and got by. Campbell wouldn’t go away and battled back. De Phillippi came closing back in and now there was a three car battle for second.
Jaminet was cruising far away with the lead that was nearing 10 seconds. Well behind him, Taylor finally got Campbell in Turn 8 which paved a path for De Phillippi to do so after.
Taylor, now clear of Campbell, set a blazing pace and five minutes later, caught Jaminet for the win. However, with two laps remaining, Taylor peeked inside Jaminet in Turn 1 but got in too hot and crashed into the tire barriers.
The caution came out to end the race with Jaminet the winner and De Phillippi settling for second. Campbell rounded out the podium in third to give Porsche two of the three podium spots.
The second BMW finished fourth while the Whelen Engineering Cadillac rounded out the top five.