Visit Florida Ligier speeds at Laguna Seca
Renger van der Zande's passed Dane Cameron to win 2017 America's Tire 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. | Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s penultimate round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca looked to be another race dominated by the brothers Taylor but a mid-race caution and pit stops put Renger van der Zande in position for a late-race pass to take the victory for Visit Florida Racing.

Starting from pole, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R led from the drop of the green flag, giving up the lead only during pit stops and for one lap at the four-minute mark.

Action Express Cadillac flies at Laguna Seca
Dane Cameron dominated the second half of the 2017 America’s Tire 250. | Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

Dane Cameron went to the lead one minute before a mid-race caution wreaked havoc on the GT running order but had less impact on the Prototype field.

The No. 31 Action Express Cadillac, co-driven by Eric Curran, came out of the nine-minute caution still leading and proceeded to dominate the second half after the green flag flew with 65 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race.

Though No. 90 Visit Florida Ligier JS P217 of van der Zande and Marc Goossens closed the gap to Cameron as the clock wound down, the Team Penske-bound driver looked to have the win locked down.

A dramatic move entering the famous corkscrew moved van der Zande into the lead while GT traffic kept Cameron from making much progress over the final two laps.

Van der Zande cruised to the white flag without challenge and took the checkers with a 2.2-second advantage over Cameron’s Cadillac. The victory marked the first for Visit Florida in LMP2 competition. The team began the year with a Riley Mk. 30 but switched to a Ligier chassis beginning at Road America.

Cameron’s second-place finish was 6.1 seconds ahead of Jordan Taylor. The finish of third for the No. 10 Cadillac kept the Wayne Taylor team atop the Prototype points standings heading into the final race of 2017.

Ricky Taylor leads at Laguna Seca
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac started from pole but finished third at Laguna Seca. | Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

Stephen Simpson brought the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA 07 he shares with Misha Goikhberg home in the fourth position just 9.3 seconds in arrears of the race winner.

Joao Barbosa, driving the third Cadillac DPi in the field, finished fifth in the No. 5 machine co-driven by Christian Fittipaldi. He was one second behind Simpson but 10.8 seconds ahead of Ryan Dalziel in sixth.

Both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis finished outside of the top five with the No. 2 machine of Dalziel and co-driver Scott Sharp finishing 21.2 seconds behind van der Zande. The No. 22 Nissan of Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek placed eighth in the eight-car class.

Splitting the pair of green-and-black machines was the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier shared by Jose Gutierrez and Olivier Pla.

The series will be back in action with all four classes racing at the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 7, 2018 at Road Atlanta.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here