Porsche Extends Win Streak With Watkins Glen Victory


A late-race battle between the Porsche GT Team and Corvette Racing went Porsche’s way, culminating in the fourth consecutive victory for the team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s top GT division and keeping the GT Le Mans points standings tight nearing the halfway mark of the 2019 season.

Despite a last-place start, steady progress for the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR shared by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet moved it through the field of eight GTLM competitors.

Helped along by cautions and some attrition — both the No. 4 Corvette C7.R and No. 25 BMW M8 GTE were not running at the finish — the Porsche was in prime position to the take the lead from its sister car with 12 minutes remaining. A splash of fuel for the No. 912 Porsche denied it a third consecutive victory but misfortune for one team car benefitted the other.

Despite the race being close at the halfway point with the top seven cars within 9.5 seconds of each other, just Tandy and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette were on the lead lap at the race’s conclusion, separated by a mere 0.452 seconds after six hours of racing.

The victory propelled Tandy and Pilet into the GTLM championship lead, but only by a single point over Garcia and Jan Magnussen whose strong second-place result kept them from losing excessive ground. Tandy and Pilet also won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, joined then by Frederic Makowiecki.

Despite finishing sixth in class, Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber are also one point out of the lead on the strength of their two victories this season, coming in the most recent races at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio.

Finishing one lap down to the top two cars were Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Ford GTs in the third and fourth positions. With Joey Hand having missed races this year, Dirk Mueller ranks fourth in the standings without his season-long co-driver but is 16 points behind Tandy and Pilet.

John Edwards brought the surviving No. 24 BMW to the checkers in the fifth position, completing the class’ top five ahead of Bamber in sixth. A Lap 1 crash for the No. 4 Corvette and pit lane fire for the No. 25 BMW ended the day early for a quarter of the class.

MSR Extends GTD Championship Lead With Victory

A start from pole for the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Trent Hindman, Justin Marks and Mario Farnbacher set the trio on the path to victory, strengthening Meyer Shank Racing’s grasp on the GT Daytona points lead.

With seven cars on the lead lap at the halfway point and nine at the finish, the GTD battle raged throughout the six-hour race. At the end, it came down to Farnbacher ahead of Bill Auberlen in Turner Motorsports’ BMW M6 GT3. Like GTLM, the GTD gap at the checkers was less than a second with the Acura holding on for the win.

The triumph put Farnbacher and Hindman 16 points ahead of their closest competition in the WeatherTech Championship GTD standings.

Autonation Shank Acura NSX GT3 wins Watkins Glen in GTD
Meyer Shank Racing’s first victory of 2019 came in the third Michelin Endurance Cup contest of the year. | Photo: Richard Dole / IMSA

Auberlen, racing for a victory as he looks to extend his historic win tally in IMSA competition, delivered a strong second-place result for Turner while Toni Vilander completed the class podium for Scuderia Corsa in the WeatherTech-branded No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3.

Katherine Legge added a second MSR Acura to the top four ahead of Jack Hawksworth who finished in the fifth position in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3. The top-five result allowed Hawksworth and co-driver Richard Hesitand to leapfrog sister car co-drivers Frank Montecalvo and Townsend Bell in the championship. The two AIM Vasser Sullivan entries sit second and third, separated by one point after five rounds.

Although the class had 16 cars on the entry list, only 12 were running at the finish. Park Place Motorsports, Paul Miller Racing and Riley Motorsports all experienced in-race retirements while the Audi from Moorespeed was withdrawn from the event after its heavy crash in Friday morning’s practice session that kicked off the third Michelin Endurance Cup weekend of the season.

All four WeatherTech Championship classes will be back in action July 7 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park where the series will return to its standard two-hour, 40-minute duration.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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