Nissan has finished the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on a high note with victory in the final race of the season at the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Scott Sharp, Brendon Hartley & Ryan Dalziel took the win after the ESM team dominated the 10-hour eventwith Nissan entries qualifying second & third. They were also battling with the Penske Racing team which made its debut in preparation for its full-time return in 2018.
Issues for Penske enabled ESM to take control in the closing stages of the race it looked like the team was set to clinch a 1-2 finish with the No. 22 Nissan Onroak entry of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani & Bruno Senna holding the lead. However a late-race drive-through penalty for contact pushed the No.22 off the podium back to fourth place, handing Hartley the win in only his second drive for the team.
The No. 2 car led 140 of 402 laps & the No. 22 car led 152 laps. All together the Nissan-powered prototypes led an incredible 73 percent of the 20th running of Petit Le Mans! The race-winning Nissan Onroak DPi also had a small delay with an alternator issue late in the race, but quick work by the crew put the No. 2 entry back in contention for the race win. Dalziel said :
“When we lost the lead in the pits from the alternator issue, I thought the race was over. Sometimes, things are meant to work for you & today was one of those days. The No. 2 definitely car needed it. I’m bummed we didn’t get a 1-2 finish. For sure the team earned it. Overall, this was a great way to end the season for Nissan NISMO, Ed Brown, and the whole team. We’re going to enjoy this one until Daytona“.
Nissan’s first season in IMSA competition proved highly successful with the team scoring two victories & the No. 2 & No. 22 entries finishing fifth & sixth in the team championship. All four lead drivers; Sharp, Dalziel, Derani & Van Overbeek have re-signed to return for the 2018 season which will kick off at the “Roar Before the 24” test in Daytona in January 2018.
It is also worth mentioning that Nissan took victory in the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge on the Friday of the Petit Le Mans weekend with Owen Trinkler & Sarah Cattaneo claiming victory in the ST class with their Nissan Altima – well done!