Whelen Engineering Scores Second in Detroit
Detroit, Mich. (3 June 2017) - The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R returned to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium on Saturday as young American racers Dane Cameron and Eric Curran scored second in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle.
The podium is the duo's third of the season and second consecutive runner-up finish as they look to wage a successful title defense of their 2016 IMSA championship-winning season. Staged on the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit on Belle Isle in Detroit, the 100-minute sprint event takes place just across the river from the corporate headquarters for General Motors and Cadillac. The race is one that is key to Curran and Cameron’s history together as the two broke through for their first IMSA victory together in Detroit in 2015.
Curran started the race from the front row but made a veteran move to get off to a clean start, although he fell to third in the order. Moving back to second before 10 laps were eclipsed, Curran’s forward progress was halted by a call to the pit lane for a full course caution pit stop to turn the car over to Cameron.
Cameron took over and thanks to quick team work, was on point for the lap 25 restart and made the most of the open track ahead of him. With just 100 minutes of racing to play out, the question emerged of when to pit for the Prototype field. Cameron continued to relay his track position out front, but when he pitted on lap 50 for fuel, he ceded the lead. Never giving up, Cameron returned to the field and gave chase to the No. 10 Cadillac all the way to the checkered flag, but came up just short of another Detroit victory.
“Overall, it was a good day for us,” said Curran. “Finishing second is always a good day. I love coming to Detroit, it’s a great venue. We started second, and the yellow car had a lot of power at the start. He got the jump on us, but once things settled in, I was able to sneak back underneath him and stick into second place. We did a great pit stop and put Dane (Cameron) in the car. Our guys are top notch with the stops and we got back out in front. Dane had a great run, but it was all about fuel strategy today. And we needed to get back in with one more stop, maybe we should have come back in a little sooner, but Dane just didn’t have enough for the 10 car there at the end the way it came out. Cadillac is strong yet again and we can taste the victory coming our way hopefully soon.”
“It was a tricky day for sure,” said Cameron. “The street races we do are on the shorter side, but really intense. Thank you to everyone at the Detroit Grand Prix. It’s great to see all the improvements year after year on an already great venue. We did a great opening stint, and the team did a great job on our stop when I got in. It’s tough when you’re leading because everyone else can do the opposite [strategy] of you. We got hung out in front just trying to save fuel and keep pace, and to keep comfortable. It was so tough, you make a judgement call, maybe expecting a yellow later in the race. But that’s how it goes. Once it didn’t look like the yellow was going to happen, we had to turn the wick up on the pace, but it was too little too late. What are you going to do? It was a fuel strategy race which isn’t really typical for an IMSA race, usually they are flat out.”
The bumpy track conditions are a different surface than what the team will see next at Watkins Glen as IMSA returns to an endurance format with the 6 Hour event at the end of the month as the Whelen Engineering squad looks to continue to build momentum this season.
“I know Eric (Curran) and I were really happy with the car today, and now it’s about getting a little bit better and maybe coming out with the victory next time out,” said Cameron, who is already thinking about Watkins Glen. “We’re going to keep driving as hard as we can, like we’ve been doing, and no matter what, we’re going to keep winning and going for championships.”