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WEC Portimao

Bamber: Cadillac “a step closer” to Toyota in WEC after Portimao

Cadillac Racing ace Earl Bamber believes the second round of the WEC at Portimao revealed the Chip Ganassi Racing team has closed the gap to longtime series dominators Toyota Gazoo Racing.

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

The Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Earl Bamber, Richard Westbrook and Alex Lynn finished fourth in last month in WEC’s eight hour Sebring season-opener, and repeated this achievement in today’s six-hour race at Portimao, after climbing from eighth on the grid in the 11-entry Hypercar class.

The #8 Toyota won the race interrupted by a sole 13-minute safety car period.

The Cadillac was forced into an off-sequence strategy early in the race as Westbrook flat-spotted the front tires when held up by another Hypercar entering pit lane. Double-stinting the tires was planned, and the veteran sports car driver withstood the severe vibration for 25 minutes before returning to pitlane for a fresh set of Michelins.

Bamber climbed in the prototype with 3h38m left and climbed to third before handing off to Lynn with 1h43m left.

Said Bamber: “The car was really good. Obviously for us, the first time on a European circuit. We still have a lot to learn to be honest, but I think we can keep improving. We’ve made a good step forward and I think we’ve made a step closer toward the Toyotas.

“On pure pace and longevity, I’m really forward to Spa where we’ll keep improving and look forward to Le Mans.”

“I was able to move up a bit and stayed in the train,” commented Westbrook. “And then, as expected, the car really came alive toward the end of the stint. Just as we were making that first pit stop, I came in right underneath the Peugeot and I felt like he really over-slowed the car. I was right up his gearbox, lost a bit of front downforce and had a bad lockup.

“I had no idea if it was a flat spot or not, so they filled up and I went out and it was bad. I was really hanging on. We had to abort that second stint after halfway through, so we had to go off-strategy.

“We have some pace in the car.”  

Lynn added: “We got unlucky with the safety car that took a podium away from us, but the car was really quick and we’re just learning more and more. Big thanks to my teammates Richard and Earl for some superstar driving, and I’m looking forward to the next one.”

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