It’s been a tough couple of races for the Chip Ganassi squad. Even as Cadillac Racing celebrated success at Sebring for the Action Express team, the CGR guys were ruing an early retirement. Then Sebastien Bourdais crashed at the start of Long Beach… But Sunday the team came back from tough positions – twice — to win the Motul Course de Monterey in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R, and Bourdais puts a lot of the credit for that on teammate Renger van der Zande.
“The guys did a really good call and strategy and cycled us to third, and things were starting to look up at that point,” Bourdais said of his opening stint. “The car was starting to come alive, track gripped up, it felt good and I started to push and I was running the two leaders down. Then the yellow came out. It put us all the way back to seventh.
“Then the ‘Rengernator’ came out and did it again. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. When he’s put in those positions, I don’t think there’s anybody better than him. He made some really critical passes and then goes to the top and then managed from there. So really super happy for Cadillac and to see the emotions run pretty high for the boys.”
Kellymoss/Riley take first IMSA GTD victory alongside WeatherTech GTD PRO win
IMSA Motul Course de Monterey recap with Ryan Kish
CGR Cadillac takes commanding IMSA win at Laguna Seca
“Thanks to Seb for the nice words,” van der Zande replied. “You know, we are a fantastic team as a whole — as teammates — but also Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac putting all the effort they’re putting in… It’s days and nights of work; they are not sleeping much and it’s amazing to pay it off in a win like this. Like Seb said, we cycled a few times to the front and to the back.”
The team came back not only from two bad races, but starting off on the back foot from a crash in the first practice at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday. A mediocre qualifying didn’t leave them in a great position for a good result. But they made it happen.
“Seb just said it to me on the podium: ‘On a weekend where we’re nowhere, we seem to be winning,’” laughed van der Zande.
While the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has a long break to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at the end of June, there’s no rest for the drivers and team. They’ll be joining the WEC team for a two-car effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Action Express Racing will be running a third Cadillac at Le Mans). Scott Dixon will join Bourdais and van der Zande in the No. 3 entry.