Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Vautier: JDC-Miller's Daytona 24H podium "bittersweet"

JDC-Miller Motorsports' third-place finish in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours was a "bittersweet" result for the team as the Cadillac squad had the "fastest car", believes Tristan Vautier.

#5 JDC Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi: Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Ben Keating

Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

The JDC-Miller Daytona Prototype international entry shared by Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval and Ben Keating led home the five-strong Cadillac DPi-V.R contingent behind an Acura 1-2, matching the team's best previous Daytona 24 finish achieved in 2020 by Duval, Sebastien Bourdais and Joao Barbosa.

But that was after a full-course yellow period with just under two hours to run cost the team a healthy lead of around 20 seconds.

It was at this point that Acura teams Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing gained a strategic edge as they were able to complete pitstops just before the caution was called, while Westbrook pitted to hand over to Duval during the FCY period.

Duval was able to get back up to second, but was relegated to fourth at the final caution with 30 minutes left on the clock as he came in for a splash of fuel, dropping behind Pipo Derani in the Action Express Racing Cadillac.

The Frenchman managed to repass reigning IMSA DPi champion Derani but was powerless to catch the two Acuras ahead.

"We were in contention the whole way and probably the fastest car all the way to the end, so that’s what makes it feel bittersweet because we thought we could have gotten it," said Vautier, who scored his first podium finish at Daytona since an LMPC class third-place in 2015.

"Big thanks to the team for the hard work over the winter to make us so competitive. We didn’t get a Rolex but we can still celebrate.”

Duval added that he was frustrated with third, feeling “were the only Cadillac able to win the race”.

Vautier believes the JDC crew had the pace to win, but was undone by strategy

Vautier believes the JDC crew had the pace to win, but was undone by strategy

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

“I was able to catch up [after passing Derani] but I was way too far away,” the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours winner said.

“Frustration because I think we had something. The whole team tried everything we could.”

JDC-Miller newcomer Westbrook, who shares the #5 Cadillac with Vautier for the full IMSA season, echoed the sentiments of his team-mates.

“We had a 20-second lead and it was all comfortable," said the 2018 GTLM class winner at Daytona.

“We know with IMSA racing that you can never sit on your laurels. There’s always going to be a yellow.

“It was just bad luck - they didn’t give us the opportunity to pit, the two Acuras did and it changed the nature of the race.

“Up to that point, it looked like we had it covered. I’m just proud of this team getting a podium, it’s a great start to my DPi journey.”

The #31 AXR Cadillac that Derani shared with team newcomer Tristan Nunez and Mike Conway was the only other lead-lap finisher in the DPi class, as both Chip Ganassi Racing cars and its second Ally Racing-entered car all hit trouble.

Action Express Cadillac's pace faded in the latter stages

Action Express Cadillac's pace faded in the latter stages

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

But the car struggled for pace in the closing stages, which Derani had no immediate explanation for.

“We tried and unfortunately it didn’t happen this time,” said the Brazilian.

“At least we were there to put up a good fight at the end, we had no pace after that last restart. We have to analyse why.

“We finished the race flawlessly without any problems. Just a shame, we wanted a little bit more.

“We will focus on Sebring and the championship. Tristan did a great job in his first race with us and I am looking forward to working with him leading up to Sebring.”

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Daytona 24H GTD Pro winner Jaminet explains "crazy" final lap battle
Next article BMW has "a long to do list" after tough IMSA debut for new M4 GT3

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe