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From Sixth to First: Bourdais and van der Zande’s Unforgettable Win



IMSA Laguna Seca 2023 Bourdais

Under the blazing Californian sun, the fourth round of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Laguna Seca evolved into a thrilling saga of strategy, speed, and fortitude. From an unexpected comeback by the #01 Cadillac team to the unexpected difficulties faced by Porsche’s leading contenders, the race was a testament to the unpredictable, exhilarating nature of motorsport.

In the fourth event of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Laguna Seca, Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais emerged victorious. They skillfully drove their #01 Cadillac V-Series.R from sixth position on the starting grid to the top of the podium, outclassing their competitors with an outstanding strategy. The duo concluded the race with van der Zande ahead of Nick Tandy, who was driving the #6 Porsche 963.

Porsche, usually a strong contender, had an unusually messy race after securing front row positions at the start. Both Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell experienced difficulties, locking up on their descent to the first corner. This resulted in polesitter Jaminet falling back to the third position and Campbell plummeting to seventh.

This turn of events boosted Colin Braun, driving the #60 Meyer Shank Acura ARX-06, into the leading position. Despite a brief interruption due to a spun-out car on the track, Braun managed to stay ahead of Pipo Derani, the second-place driver of the #31 Action Express Cadillac V-Series.R, with Jaminet maintaining his third position.

Braun began to create a three-second lead, but a second caution occurred when Jarrett Andretti’s #94 Andretti Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was found stalled in the pit lane exit. Campbell, in his eagerness to overtake the Aston and rejoin the leading GTP group, nudged Andretti into a spin. This caused Andretti to collide with the tyre barriers at the pit lane entrance before coming to a halt at the pit lane entry.

Following the recovery of the Aston and the resetting of the tyre wall, the majority of the GTPs decided to pit simultaneously. Upon restarting the race several minutes later, Derani was leading, followed by Connor De Phillippi in the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8, and Bourdais in third place. Most GTPs opted for fuel only, which led to Braun dropping to seventh position as Meyer Shank decided to change the car’s tyres.

However, Derani was unable to create a gap between himself and De Phillippi, as the American driver stuck close to the Cadillac, even amidst heavy traffic.


Yet another caution brought the GTPs back together when John Farano crashed his #8 Tower Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson into a wall. Farano was unable to exit the car unassisted and was subsequently transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

During the yellow caution, the GTPs took the opportunity to pit once more. Braun emerged in the lead, followed by Derani and Filipe Albuquerque in the #10 Wayne Taylor Acura ARX-06. However, Derani quickly overtook Braun, establishing a nearly 20-second gap between himself and the other GTPs over the next half hour.

Meanwhile, van der Zande managed to overtake Albuquerque, moving into third position. It became clear why Derani had been able to overtake Braun so quickly: Braun’s Acura was experiencing significant tyre degradation, reducing his grip and traction considerably. Albuquerque passed Braun soon after, followed by a trio of racers: Tandy, who had taken over from Jaminet in the #6 Porsche, and the BMW drivers Nick Yelloly and Agusto Farfus.

Amidst these developments, Porsche faced another setback: Jaminet lost control of the rear end of his car at turn 10, resulting in a high-speed, sideways collision with the wall. The #7 Porsche sustained damage, but Jaminet managed to return the car to the track. Unfortunately, he found himself amidst LMP2 traffic and was unable to immediately pit. He completed another lap while his car shed bodywork, and eventually pitted, losing eight laps as a result.

The GTPs were due for another pit stop, with Derani relinquishing the lead to Alexander Sims as he pitted. This moved van der Zande into the first position, but he, along with BMW drivers Yelloly and Farfus, pitted a lap later.

The final yellow flag was raised due to Aaron Telitz’s immobilized #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which was lodged against the wall on the right side of the main straightaway.

Upon the restart, Sims was leading, closely followed by van der Zande. However, this didn’t last long as the Dutch driver overtook the Brit at turns 3 and 4. Van der Zande maintained his lead, ultimately crossing the finish line with a 3.882-second lead over Tandy.


Tandy, despite being slowed down by traffic, managed to catch Sims and secure the second position. He attempted to reduce van der Zande’s lead, but the seasoned Dutch driver skillfully maintained his advantage without much difficulty.

Sims finished third, approximately seven seconds behind Tandy. Albuquerque came in fourth driving the #10 Acura, and Agusto Farfus completed the top five in the #24 BMW, finishing just over 22 seconds behind van der Zande.

In the LMP2 category, Mikkel Jensen and Steven Thomas clinched the victory in the #11 TDS Oreca 07-Gibson. The pair, starting third on the grid, navigated their way through the field to secure the win, outpacing Paul-Loup Chatin and Ben Keating in the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Oreca 07-Gibson.

Keating initially took the lead from polesitter George Kurtz in the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca 07-Gibson, and maintained it for a significant portion of the race’s first half. However, the strategic expertise of TDS, in conjunction with Jensen’s impressive driving, secured the victory for TDS.

Kurtz and his teammate Ben Hanley claimed the third spot, narrowly missing out on second by just 0.254 seconds behind Chatin at the finish line. Chatin finished a little over three seconds behind Jensen in a closely contested race.

In an unexpected turn of events, GTD outperformed GTD Pro, potentially due to confusion during a caution period. The first seven GTD cars, representing the amateur GT class in IMSA competition, finished ahead of the Pro cars. However, GTD Pro’s winning driver, Jules Gounon, was progressively advancing into the GTD field as the race came to a close.

Nevertheless, the victory in the GTD class went to Kay Van Berlo and Alan Metni, who drove the #91 Kellymoss Porsche 911 GT3 R. Despite starting far down the order, the duo skillfully exploited the multiple caution periods and strategic maneuvers to ascend to the front of the pack. Traffic played a beneficial role in maintaining a gap behind them or aiding them in catching up to those ahead throughout the race.


In the GTD class, Bill Auberlen claimed second place in the #97 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, finishing nearly 10 seconds behind Van Berlo. Julien Andlauer took third in the #92 Kellymoss Porsche 911 GT3 R, which started the race from pole position.

In the GTD Pro category, the victory was secured by Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella in the #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG-GT3. They were followed by Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth in the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. GTD Pro polesitters, Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler, overcame a 60-second stop/go penalty for exiting the pits while the exit was closed, to finish third in the #9 Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3 R.

1Bourdais / van der ZandeCadillac V-Series.R102
2Tandy / JaminetPorsche 9631023.882
3Derani / SimsCadillac V-Series.R10210.636
4Taylor / AlbuquerqueAcura ARX-0610221.041
5Eng / FarfusBMW M Hybrid V810222.818
6Blomqvist / BraunAcura ARX-0610223.109
7Van der Helm / RockenfellerPorsche 96310223.818
8Thomas / JensenORECA LMP2 0710243.809
9de Phillippi / YellolyBMW M Hybrid V810245.677
10Keating / ChatinORECA LMP2 0710248.904
11Kurtz / HanleyORECA LMP2 0710249.158
12Heriau / van der GardeORECA LMP2 0710250.003
13Lux / MontoyaORECA LMP2 071021’03.324
14Andersen / JonesORECA LMP2 071021’04.674
15Merriman / DalzielORECA LMP2 071002 laps
16Metni / van BerloPorsche 911 GT3 R (992)975 laps
17Auberlen / HullBMW M4 GT3975 laps
18Udell / AndlauerPorsche 911 GT3 R (992)975 laps
19Potter / LallyAston Martin Vantage GT3975 laps
20Iribe / SchandorffMcLaren 720S GT3 EVO975 laps
21Brynjolfsson / HindmanPorsche 911 GT3 R (992)975 laps
22Gallagher / FoleyBMW M4 GT3975 laps
23Juncadella / GounonMercedes AMG GT3975 laps
24De Angelis / SorensenAston Martin Vantage GT3975 laps
25Goikhberg / SpinelliLamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2
26Sellers / SnowBMW M4 GT3975 laps
27Hawksworth / BarnicoatLexus RC F GT3975 laps
28Bachler / PiletPorsche 911 GT3 R (992)975 laps
29Hyett / PriaulxPorsche 911 GT3 R (992)975 laps
30Garcia / TaylorCorvette C8.R GTD957 laps
31Gunn / RiberasAston Martin Vantage GT3957 laps
32Campbell / NasrPorsche 963948 laps
33Ward / EllisMercedes AMG GT38616 laps
34Monk / LeggeAcura NSX GT37527 laps
35Montecalvo / TelitzLexus RC F GT35844 laps
36Skeen / GrenierMercedes AMG GT33765 laps
37Farano / DeletrazORECA LMP2 073468 laps
38Andretti / ChavesAston Martin Vantage GT3993 laps

IMSA Laguna Seca 2023 IMSA Laguna Seca 2023 IMSA Laguna Seca 2023 IMSA Laguna Seca 2023 IMSA Laguna Seca 2023

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