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Albuquerque enjoys "wild" unpredictability of 2023 IMSA title fight

Acura driver Filipe Albuquerque says he's enjoyed the "wild" and unpredictable nature of the IMSA SportsCar Championship's first season of GTP regulations compared to the previous DPi ruleset.

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque

Perry Nelson / Motorsport Images

After Mazda followed Nissan through the exit door at the end of 2021, last season's DPi class was contested exclusively between Cadillac and Acura teams, but the move to all new LMDh cars running spec hybrid systems for 2023 has attracted Porsche and BMW to join the renamed GTP division.

All four manufacturers have won a race this season, with Porsche's 963 LMDh taking three victories, the Acura ARX-06 and Cadillac V-Series.R managing two apiece and BMW M Hybrid V8 breaking through at Watkins Glen.

Albuquerque and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti team-mate Ricky Taylor enter next month's Petit Le Mans season finale three points shy of the championship lead, despite having yet to win a race this season.

They are one of four crews split by just 38 points in the standings, with Action Express Racing's Cadillac of Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims leading the way, the #6 Penske Porsche of Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet trailing them by five points and Team RLL's #25 BMW of Connor Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly also in the mix with 385 points still up for grabs.

Speaking to Autosport, 2021 and 2022 championship runner-up Albuquerque said the shake-up had been refreshing after entering weekends towards the end of the well-matured DPi regulations that began in 2017 fairly confident of how the competitive order would form.

"That’s the curiosity and how wild it is in the first year of a new regulation," Albuquerque said.

"So you don’t know who will be competitive, you don’t know how competitive you will be at each event and reliability [problems] can strike you at any time. And that’s what is happening to all of us.

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

"We go to the last race of the year still with reliability issues being possible, knocking on the door and to take one of the title contenders for the championship. We’ve seen that BMW #24 in Indianapolis having [electrical] problems, so those things happen.

"Especially from a DPi season with Ricky that we knew exactly what to expect at each event; we knew we would be competitive in Daytona, we knew that we were not competitive at all in Long Beach, but then we knew that we were good in Laguna and in Watkins Glen.

"Those things you can be predictive on how to strike it. Now it’s a question mark.

"I think it’s nice. We need to go for the challenge, the show, and that uncertainty of order, unpredictability, it’s good."

Albuquerque added that he's unsure of how the Acura will perform in the decisive 10-hour race at Road Atlanta, where he and Taylor will again be joined by third driver Louis Deletraz, as "by now I think we can expect a great results from everybody".

"We go now to Petit Le Mans not really knowing what who is capable of, exactly like when we were doing on the winter testing," the Portuguese said.

"Whenever you are having a new regulation going on, there is so many question marks that you just keep working hard until you see where the level is. So I do like it.

"But at the end of the day obviously you enjoy when you’re winning and when you did a good car. And I really think that Acura did an amazing car."

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