Petit Le Mans GTP Showdown

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine
photos by Jack Webster

All eyes will be on Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on October 14 as the inaugural season of GTP racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship comes to a close at Motul Petit Le Mans.

It has been an incredible season of racing so far, and going into the final round there are four manufacturers that are still in the mix for the championship. Porsche is in first, followed by Cadillac, Acura and BMW. However, it looks like Motul Petit Le Mans will be winner take all, as all four manufacturers are only separated by 64 points.

The driver’s championship in GTP is just as tight, but in a different order. Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims of the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac share first place, followed by Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor in the #10 Wayne Taylor/Andretti Autosport Acura, with Mathiew Jaminet and Nick Tandy third for the #6 Porsche Penske and then Nick Yelloly and Connor de Phillippi in the #25 BMW Team RRL. Again, super tight points battle here with only 38 points difference among those four title contenders.

In the team’s championship, things are just as tight, but again in a different order. Leading is the #10 Wayne Taylor/Andretti team, despite not having won a race this season. Second is the #31 Whelen Engineering entry, which won Sebring. Next is the #25 Team RRL BMW – the Watkins Glen 6-Hour winner and has been getting stronger and stronger at each outing. Next is the #6 Porsche Penske, which won for the first time at Long Beach. The same car won on the track at Watkins Glen, but was disqualified for a ride height infraction after the race. The #6 Porsche Penske also won the most recent race at Indianapolis, making them the only repeat winner in 2023. Fifth in the team standings is the #60 MSR Acura, controversial Rolex 24 winner who lost the points after Acura turned themselves in for tire pressure manipulation. The team bounced back from the controversy and won Detroit later in the season. Finally, in sixth is the #01 from Cadillac Racing, which won the Laguna Seca race. These six teams are separated by only 139 points, so again, the championship will be decided at Road Atlanta.

There are a couple of ironic things to note in the team’s championship. The Wayne Taylor squad is leading the points, despite not having a race this season. The MSR Acura sits in fifth place, with a shot at the team’s title. Regardless of outcome, MSR has lost their Acura deal for 2024 and Wayne Taylor/Andretti will be taking possession of their car after Petit Le Mans. Kind of sad, really. Hard fought racing all year, a chance to win it all and no matter the outcome, MSR is out for 2024.

Anyway, that’s how things line up for the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the 2023 season, and the inaugural season of GTP. We are sure the final will be just as exciting and unpredictable as the rest of the season has been. By the end of Motul Petit Le Mans all will be decided, and it will be time to move on to 2024 and an even more competitive and exciting GTP sophomore year.

See you in Atlanta.

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