Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA, USA – Nissan has finished the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on a high note with victory in the final race of the season at the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Scott Sharp, Brendon Hartley and Ryan Dalziel took the win after the ESM team dominated the 10-hour event. The Nissan entries qualified second and third and battled with the Penske Racing team, which made its debut in preparation for its full-time return in 2018.
Issues for Penske enabled ESM to take control and, in the closing stages of the race, it was looking like the team was set to clinch a 1-2 finish with the No.22 Nissan Onroak entry of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani and Bruno Senna holding the lead.
A late race drive-through penalty for contact sadly pushed the No.22 off the podium back to fourth place, but Hartley was able to take the win in only his second drive for the team.
The No. 2 car led 140 of 402 laps, and combined with the 152 laps led by the No. 22, Nissan-powered machines led an incredible 73 percent of the 20th running of Petit Le Mans.
The race-winning Nissan Onroak DPi also had a small delay with an alternator issue late in the race, but quick work by the crew put the No. 2 entry back in contention for the race win.
“When we lost the lead in the pits from the alternator issue, I thought the race was over,” Dalziel said.
“Sometimes things are meant to work for you, and today was one of those days. The No. 2 definitely car needed it. I'm bummed we didn't get a 1-2 finish.
“For sure the team earned it. Overall, this was a great way to end the season for Nissan NISMO, Ed Brown, and the whole team. We're going to enjoy this one until Daytona.”
Nissan’s first season in IMSA competition proved highly successful with the team taking two victories and the No. 2 and No. 22 entries finishing fifth and sixth in the team championship.
All four lead drivers, Sharp, Dalziel, Derani and van Overbeek, have re-signed to return for the 2018 season which will kick off at the “Roar Before the 24” test in Daytona in January.
Nissan also took victory in the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge on Friday at Petit Le Mans with Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo claiming victory in the ST class with their Nissan Altima.