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IMSA Chevrolet Sports Car Classic: Burning Questions

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via IMSA

With the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship just one of a number of racing series to go green at this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, it’s a great weekend to be a fan of motorsports in Michigan. Belle Isle has hosted sports car action on and off for the past decade, with IMSA incorporating it into its schedule every year since the unification of Grand-Am and American Le Mans in 2014.

The fifth of 10 rounds on the 2018 schedule for the marquee Prototype class and the fourth of 11 for GT Daytona, the IMSA action in Detroit has been dominated by Wayne Taylor Racing (four overall victories in the past six years) and Action Express Racing (which took the other two). On the other hand, no GTD team has ever repeated in Detroit, making this weekend an interesting one to try and forecast. Keep these three questions in mind as you tune into Saturday’s FS2 telecast or online stream:

How similar will Detroit be to Long Beach for the Prototypes?

At only 100 minutes long, Detroit is tied with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the shortest race of the IMSA season. That means different pit and driver strategies, different levels of urgency, and an altogether different approach to any other event on the schedule. Action Express Racing drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa took the victory at Long Beach, becoming the first repeat winners of the season after also winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Can they add a third race victory on Saturday?

How will the GT Daytona field affect the complexion of this race?

Unlike Long Beach, where GT Le Mans was the second class to take part in the event, Detroit is a showcase for the larger, but slower, GT Daytona class. Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli gave 3GT Racing the victory last month at Mid-Ohio, but Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow remain the overall points leaders with three straight podiums to kick off the year. With three different winners in the season’s first three races, can the battle between GTD drivers even overshadow the Prototype action?

Can Jordan Taylor respond to brother Ricky’s first win of the season at Mid-Ohio?

Last year, the brothers Taylor swept the first five races of the season for Wayne Taylor Racing on the way to the 2017 Prototype championship. But Ricky got the call from Acura Team Penske for 2018, splitting up the dynamic duo, and until last month’s Acura Sports Car Challenge, neither had returned to the top step of the podium yet. Now that Ricky has his first victory alongside Helio Castroneves, Jordan and new teammate Renger van der Zande will be extra motivated to respond at General Motors’ home race.

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