Points Tighten In Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup With One Race Remaining
Friday, July 7, 2017

As the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gears up for this weekend’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a number of teams are still basking in impressive runs at last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, the third round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

One of those teams is the race-winning No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R and drivers Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque. The trio gave the team its first win of the season at Watkins Glen, but with impressive consistency throughout the three endurance races – including running in the first or second position in eight of the nine segments to date – the team has moved into Patrón Endurance Cup points lead.

The Patrón Endurance Cup rewards top performers in the four WeatherTech Championship endurance races: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday Oct. 7. Points are awarded at strategic intervals for each race, with five points going to each class leader at those intervals, followed by four points for second place, three for third, and two points for all others from fourth place onward.

It is mathematically a two-team race in the Prototype class with one Patrón Endurance Cup round remaining, with the previously undefeated No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team of Jordan and Ricky Taylor two points back, 38-36. Despite winning the opening two rounds at Daytona and Sebring, the Taylors scored the minimum two points in each of the two segments at Watkins Glen after a first-lap incident.

The race for the Patrón Endurance Cup in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is wide open with one race remaining. Five teams remain in contention with the leading No. 911 Porsche GT Team of Dirk Werner and Patrick Pilet moving ahead of the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand by two points, 32-30. A trio of teams: No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R and Watkins Glen race-winning No. 25 BMW Team RLL are all mathematically still alive, but sit eight points back of the No. 911 Porsche with 24 points.

The GT Daytona (GTD) class is even tighter with the remarkable consistency of the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488, with drivers Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan and Matteo Cressoni moving the team into the Patrón Endurance Cup points lead coming out of Watkins Glen. The team has finished second in the last five segments dating back to Sebring to catch and pass the No. 33 Riley Motorsports – Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher, going into Road Atlanta with a one-point lead, 30-29.

Also within striking distance is the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 of Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal with 27 points, three points back. The team’s No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 entry and drivers Katherine Legge and Andy Lally won at Watkins Glen to move into fourth in the standings with 23 points, while Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Shane Van Gisbergen round out the top five with 22 points in the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry.

The pressure is already off the No. 38 Performance Tech ORECA FLM09 team of James French, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Masson at Road Atlanta with the trio having clinched the Patrón Endurance Cup in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class. But for a team that’s won every WeatherTech Championship race to date in the class, the team will look to also stay perfect in the Patrón Endurance Cup having led at the end of each of the nine segments to date.

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