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IMSA Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix: Burning Questions

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Team Penske (1); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2)

Including this weekend’s visit to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, only two rounds remain in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix is one of six events on the 12-round schedule to run for two hours and 40 minutes, as well as the fifth in a row, before next month’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta caps off the season.

As drivers in all three classes jostle for position in a trio of close championship chases, every lap, and minute, counts right now in a major way. With that in mind, here are three storylines to follow today—one for each class:

Could we see a major shift in Prototype points this weekend?

The top four entries in the Prototype standings are split by only 12 points, the difference between first and eighth in any given event. Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande, fourth in the group, qualified on pole; Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr, the current leaders, start ninth. In fact, if everyone finished where they started, Curran/Nasr would have 250 points, Filipe Albuquerque (who will start 11th) would have 231, Jon Bennett/Colin Braun (starting fifth) would have 244, and Taylor/Van Der Zande would lead with 251.

Has BMW Team RLL finally righted the ship in GT Le Mans?

It took nine rounds of competition, but Connor De Phillippi and Alexander Sims gave the M8 GT3 its first global victory last month at VIRginia International Raceway. De Phillippi/Sims took two podiums in their first four starts of the season, but the duo hadn’t taken a podium before then since Mid-Ohio in May. But perhaps more significantly, John Edwards/Jesse Krohn finally took their first podium of the season with a third place result. The duo are at the bottom of the GTLM standings, but will aim to finish 2018 strong.

Will anyone else find a way to take a second victory of the season in GT Daytona?

Six different teams won the first six GTD rounds of the season before Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow became the first repeat winners at Lime Rock Park in July. Then, Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli became the second duo to take a second victory at VIR last month. Katherine Legge, who currently trails Sellers and Snow by 13 points for the class lead, could use her second win of the year to close the gap; so could Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen, the GTD runner-up each of the past two seasons.

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