The IMSA SportsCar Championship’s first-ever race on the tight and twisty 2.647-kilometre circuit was a challenging one for British-South Korean driver Jack Aitken and his #31 Cadillac Racing teammate Pipo Derani.

By Nida Anis

A qualifying crash for Derani at Turn 5 saw the Brazilian driver hit the wall, causing the session to be red-flagged and subsequently ended. With his fastest two lap times deleted, he was forced to start from the back of the field.

Contact with Porsches leads to penalties

Ten minutes into the 100-minute race, Derani handed over his driving duties to Aitken in a bold strategic move. However, the British-South Korean driver was involved in multiple incidents throughout the race.

Just over halfway through the race, Aitken pushed the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Porsche 963, driven by Richard Westbrook, into a spin. This led to the race being neutralised as the Porsche blocked the track.

In the closing stages of the race, Aitken also swiped the #5 Proton Competition Porsche 963, driven by Gianmaria Bruni, causing the Italian driver’s car to slam into the wall approaching Turn 4. The fifth caution of the race was deployed as the Porsche was stranded on track.

Whilst Aitken escaped with no further action for his incident with Bruni, he received a drive-through penalty for causing Westbrook to spin. This ultimately meant that the #31 could finish no higher than sixth at the IMSA Detroit Grand Prix.

The next IMSA race is the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen and will take place on June 23. It will form part of the Michelin Endurance Cup, which Derani and Aitken – together with #31 teammate Tom Blomqvist – currently lead.

Header photo credit: IMSA

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