IMSA: Disappointment for Porsche at Long Beach
Porsche looked likely to repeat its (second round) win at the 12 Hours of Sebring well into round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach in California. The No912 911 RSR driven by Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber qualified on the front row of the grid, behind in third spot on the grid came the sister No911 machine of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
Vanthoor made a good start, leading on lap one of the 100-minute sprint race – the shortest on the IMSA calendar. During a safety car period 38 minutes into race the No912 RSR made a pit stop, with Vanthoor successfully handing over to Bamber. The New Zealander rejoined the race in second place behind a BMW that had pitted earlier, immediately closing the gap to the leader. An inspired overtaking move saw Bamber recapture the lead of the race before pulling clear from the rest of the GTLM field. However, damaged suspension ultimately forced him into retirement.
The second RSR also endured a frustrating race, with Pilet and Tandy never regaining their stride due to various incidents following their first pit stop. The No911 car crossed the line in sixth place in the GTLM class ahead of the sister Porsche. Commenting after the race Patrick Pilet said: “It wasn’t Porsche’s day today. It’s a shame for our teammates in the number 912 car. They drove a great race but unfortunately weren’t rewarded for it. For us the start of the race was pretty hectic. I had a hefty nudge in the second corner when everyone suddenly stopped in front of me. Overtaking is really hard on this circuit so I wanted to conserve as much fuel as possible. That proved to be the right strategy. We had a very short pit stop, but couldn’t make the most of this advantage because when Nick [Tandy] tried to rejoin the race, he was blocked by a car in front of him. Now I’m looking forward to Mid-Ohio.”
Round four of the IMSA SportsCar Championship takes place in Mid-Ohio on 6 May.
|1. Gavin/Milner||Chevrolet Corvette||69 laps|
|2.Westbrook/Briscoe||Ford GT||69 laps|
|3.Hand/Müller||Ford GT||69 laps|
|6. Tandy/Pilet||911 RSR||69 laps|
|7. Vanthoor/Bamber||911 RSR||52 laps|