Porsche took the pole position, set a qualifying lap record and backed it up with a 1-2 overall finish in Sunday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
This is the first win for the new Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Taking the win were drivers Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner. They were followed across the finish by their teammates, the pole sitter Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and IMSA newcomer Laurens Vanthoor.
Finishing third were BMW Team RLL’s Martin Tomczyk and John Edwards. Tomczyk withstood a tremendous charge by Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia over the final 10 minutes to claim the final podium spot. The fourth place finish helps Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen extend their WeatherTech GTLM class championship lead.
A bold gamble on fuel strategy nearly paid-off for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team as Richard Westbrook turned in a stunning 86 lap, one hour 22-minute opening stint before handing off to co-driver Ryan Briscoe who pitted for a splash of fuel in the final minutes to drop from a podium position to finish fifth.
GTs run caution free
The entire two-hour, 40-minute race ran caution free, the first in the WeatherTech Championship since Virginia International Raceway in 2015. Ironically, both were GT only events featuring the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes.
BMW, Corvette, Ford, and both Porsches led the race at various stages. All of the teams competing in the GTLM class, the only WeatherTech Championship class permitting open tire competition, have chosen Michelin as their tire partner.
“The ultra-long stints by the Ford GT (86 and 87 laps) and Porsche team where both cars went 74 laps each on their final stints certainly demonstrated that our tires are up to the task on a fast and difficult circuit that provides no rest for drivers or tires,” said Ken Payne, technical director, motorsport, Michelin North America,
Drivers must start the race on their qualifying tires, meaning that Westbrook’s Ford GT had actually completed 98 green flag laps by the end of his mega-stint.
“The range and performance of our tires enabled all of our Michelin technical partner teams to take on very aggressive race strategies and deliver fast and consistent lap after lap for the entire race,” said Payne.
“We congratulate our friends at Porsche and the entire Porsche GT Team on their impressive and well deserved first victory for the new Porsche 911 RSR.”
The next stop on the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI on Sunday, August 6 and broadcast on FS1 at 2:30pm EDT.