The battle for Prototype championship honours got here right down to a final-stint battle between Nasr’s Motion Categorical Racing Cadillac and Taylor within the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 that had led the standings coming into the Street Atlanta race.
Whoever ended the race forward would take away the championship title.
After surrendering the race result in Harry Tincknell’s eventual race-winning Mazda with simply over 20 minutes remaining within the 10-hour contest, Nasr got here beneath growing stress from Taylor.
The 2-time IMSA champion went for an bold lunge at Flip 10 on the final lap, however arrived too quick and went throughout the gravel, permitting Nasr to reclaim second on nook exit to clinch the crown for himself and full-season team-mate Pipo Derani within the automotive they shared with Mike Conway.
It marked the second IMSA Prototype title in 4 seasons for ex-Components 1 racer Nasr, who is leaving AXR forward of a widely-anticipated transfer to hitch Porsche forward of the German producer’s LMDh effort.
“That was intense,” mentioned Nasr, who beforehand gained the title with Eric Curran in 2018.
“I’m perplexed. I’ve to say we’ve labored onerous for this second – the entire group.
“I’m so pleased with everybody from Whelen Engineering for placing in a fantastic drive as we speak.
“Profitable the race was potential. I acquired a little bit unfortunate with site visitors [when the Mazda passed] after which I noticed the #10 automotive [Taylor] coming. Why does it need to be so onerous?
#31 Motion Categorical Racing Cadillac DPi: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Mike Conway, #60 Meyer Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi: Olivier Pla, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya
Photograph by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
“Coming down into the ultimate nook, I noticed the #10 make a really late transfer and I knew he wasn’t going to make the nook. So, I simply targeted on getting the exit and we acquired the job completed.
“I’ve a lot love and respect for the boys that I work with. This will likely be my last race right here, that offers me a whole lot of feelings too.
“I wish to thank Mike, Pipo and each single member of the group. I wish to thank Cadillac as nicely. They gave us every little thing we would have liked to battle for this championship. I’m simply so pleased.”
Derani, who gained the IMSA Prototype title for the primary time, added: “I simply can’t imagine we’re champions. It was such a troublesome finish to final season and a troublesome starting to this 12 months.
“With a whole lot of perception in God, and in my household, I rebuilt my belief and right here I’m a 2021 IMSA champion. It’s simply unimaginable.”
Taylor and his team-mate within the #10 WTR entry, Filipe Albuquerque, narrowly missed out on making it three titles in a row for Acura, though the pair and their endurance co-driver Alexander Rossi did come away with Michelin Endurance Cup honours.
“I imply, we’re racing actually onerous,” mirrored Taylor.
“The championship actually got here right down to the final nook. After final 12 months, I’m pleased for these guys [AXR]. They deserve it; that they had a fantastic 12 months.
“I hate it for Filipe; he drove such a fantastic stint to go them. I made a little bit mistake on my out lap [after the last pitstop].
“I’m actually bummed, however Daytona is shut. This can be a quick offseason, and we’re a fantastic group.”