Van der Zande: “The great news of the day is that we won the championship. After 11 races this season, I think we can be very proud at winning the championship. To have done it with Alex as my teammate and Peter as a boss, we had a lot of fun doing it. Racing in America, in my opinion, is the best in the world, with the best of multi-class racing and dog fights at every restart. It’s a true battle of survival. Of course today, winning the race would have been a nice one, and it’s a shame we didn’t. Petit Le Mans is one of the best races of the calendar, and maybe the world. But that’s racing. We’re staying here until Tuesday, because we have the series banquet Monday. I can’t wait to celebrate with my Starworks friends.”
Starworks Motorsports took full advantage of the four practice sessions of the 19th annual Petit Le Mans, making faster lap times with every run. Alex Popow qualified the No. 8 Oreca in second position, just six hundredths off of pole position. In order to score points, Alex Popow had to run for three hours, and the team made the decision to complete that task first. Popow ran an impressive three hours and ten minutes before the car started to suffer brake issues. When second driver David Heinemeier Hansson took over for his stint, the problem became worse, forcing the team to take the car back to the garage for repairs. The car returned with van der Zande at the wheel, where he was able to compete his first lap of the race under caution. It was under the caution lap that van der Zande completed his minimum drive time, and the following caution lap, he celebrated his championship win over the radio with team owner Peter Baron and Alex Popow. Unfortunately, with less than three hours to go, the left front brake pad exploded, causing too much damage for the car to continue. The team still celebrated a season well done, with eight podiums and four wins in the eleven race season.
The closing event of the 2016 season, Petit Le Mans is a fan favorite on the IMSA WeatherTech Calendar, hosted at Road Atlanta, just north of Atlanta, Georgia. The road course offers great elevation changes and sweeping corners through the hills of Braselton, Georgia. Race fans can watch from almost anywhere on the track for ten hours of competition, as teams and drivers make the final fights for their championship titles.
As the finest sports car race series in North America, the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship offers teams, drivers and fans the best show in the sport with multi-class, multi-manufacturer racing. The series visits the best tracks in the United States and Canada to create an eleven event race schedule. Comprised of sprint and endurance races, the WeatherTech Championship