MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

18.10.2018

An age-old motorsport adage says: “In order to finish first, first you have to finish.” Nothing could have been more true at this year’s Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, with Wayne Taylor Racing taking their first win of the season but only after the Action-Express racing Cadillac #5 ran out of fuel with two corners to go.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

The race was dedicated to the memory of Dr Don Panoz, who passed away just a few weeks ago. Panoz was known not only for his race cars but also as the previous owner of Road Atlanta, and for the huge impact he had on sports car racing as we know it, having founded the ALMS. Therefore, the race was opened by the mighty Panoz Esperante GT1.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

Despite the earlier threat from Hurricane Michael, which swept past not too far from Braselton’s Road Atlanta, the green flag dropped at 11 a.m. under a gorgeous blue sky and the sun kept shining right through until nightfall. With the championship wide open, the stakes were high, and the racing was fierce.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

The ESM Tequila Patron #22 Nissan, which earned the Motul Pole Award, led the way in the first few laps but immediately ran in to trouble, limping back to the pit lane after an early flat tyre. This set off a series of leader changes which continued right up until the chequered flag, making this Motul Petit Le Mans a genuine thriller.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

Juan Pablo Montoya would be the race’s second victim, planting his Acura in the wall after a bad exit on turn two. Usually a ten-hour race will settle after a few hours, but this Motul Petit Le Mans ten-hour race never did. The lead changed hands from the ESM Nissan to an Acura to a Mazda, as well as to all three Cadillac’s at various points in the race.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

It was much the same story in the GTD and GTLM categories. With the BMW leading the field from the start in GTLM, it quickly became a four-way tussle between the two German and American brands - BMW and Porsche versus Corvette and Ford. But it was the Porsche #912 who took it in the end. GTD also shared in the drama with the Acuras battling the Paul Miller Lamborghini, but it was the Weathertech Ferrari that took the laurels in the end.

 

MOTUL PETIT LE MANS: IN ORDER TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH

So, if you have ten hours to spare, we would highly recommend watching the whole race below. We promise you won’t be bored for a minute.

 

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Pictures: ©Frederik Herregods

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