The Cadillac DPi-V.Rs have had 15 kilograms added for the Detroit race this weekend, whereas at Mid-Ohio the cars ran 10kg lighter than they had at Laguna Seca. Van der Zande, who shares the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac with Sebastien Bourdais, said it was time for IMSA to make the BoP changes track-specific.
“The last street track was in Long Beach and we did very well, especially Sebastien had a race that was amazing,” said the 36-year-old Dutch ace. “I think we’re going confident into the second street race of the year. I think the Cadillac has always been doing well at Detroit.
“We, obviously, have a bit of a BoP hit with 15 kilos. The car is really on edge with the weight, so that 15 kilos might not sound like too much, but it is that little extra that has killed us in the past. That was at tracks like Road America. I don’t know how it’s going to hit us in Detroit…
“There is more than car balance when you put weight into play. Tire degradation goes up, you’re losing grip over a stint.
“I think it doesn’t make sense for me to go into detail of BoP because it’s such a sensitive topic, but at the end of the day I can’t really follow what IMSA’s doing because in Ohio we were not the fastest car and now we’re getting extra weight on the car. We’re getting hit by BoP.
“If this means that we’re going to get track-independent BOPs, that would be really good. But that would be something they have not announced yet. If it goes into a track-independent BOP, then I’m super-happy with it because that’s exactly what we need. You can’t compare a street track with Mosport. We’re going to Watkins Glen, which is all high speed. Mosport is all high speed. But you can’t compare it with Long Beach, where your first gear is not short enough for that hairpin. Same with Detroit.”
Van der Zande said it was “hard to say” what difference the weight will have on his car in Detroit but pointed out the basics – “the braking performance is less, the cornering speed is less, the tire degradation is more.”
He insisted that he’s not looking for special allowances from IMSA for the Cadillacs, but said equally that Acura also shouldn’t be favored, and he believes the governing body has got it right in the past.
“I want to have a competitive BoP with the other brand that we race against,” he said. “I don’t ask for a better BOP, but they should not get a better BOP than us. It should be equal, then everybody should not complain and be happy. IMSA had it right for quite a few races, especially last year. I felt that it was very even.
“I think this year they mismatched sometimes and it’s because they look at it from event to event and not track independent. That’s my personal feeling. I hope they really start looking at track to track.
“We’ve raced with the same cars for many years with all the different tracks, so we know what we’re going to get. IMSA should be able to see that as well.”
Van der Zande expanded on his theme, stating: “If you look at Sebring, they [Acura] looked quite equal. Daytona, they kind of popped up at the end of the race, but before that it looked very equal.
“Then you look at Long Beach and they were nowhere. We don’t like that, either. If you see Long Beach that we were at an advantage and you look at Detroit and we might be at an advantage again, they might have made the right call. We’ll see.
“But if it’s wrong in Detroit, you can’ go to Watkins Glen and say well, it was wrong in Detroit so let’s change it for Watkins Glen to make it equal. It’s a different animal, Watkins Glen from Detroit. That’s what I said about track-independent BOP. It makes more sense to do it that way.
“Mosport is a road course and Sebring is a road course as well, but with the bumpiness I think the Cadillac is doing very well. But on a smooth track, the Acura is doing better. Every track is a little different and I think they should be able to fine-tune it because we’re going there every year with the same car.”