Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante won the rainy Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen under caution for their second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory of the year. Westbrook and Valiante moved into the season lead, five points ahead of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
Joey Hand and Scott Pruett were second in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley, and Barbosa and Fittipaldi followed in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP. The No. 8 Starworks Prototype Challenge driven by Renger van der Zande, Alex Popow and Mike Hedlund was fourth overall and first in the class.
In GT Le Mans, Wolf Henzler nursed the No. 17 Team Falken Porsche 911 RSR home on fumes, counting on the fuel-saving caution period to give him enough gas to complete the race. He teamed with Bryan Sellers. In GT Daytona, the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R driven by Al Carter, Cameron Lawrence and Marc Goossens topped the field.
Westbrook took the lead in the final 15 minutes when Joey Hand made a final splash for fuel in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, which took the car he and Scott Pruett shared out of the lead. Hand still finished second with Scott Pruett but will rue the stop, which came just before the final caution.
Ganassi had a spell in the lead thanks to brilliant pit timing, calling Hand in just as the course went yellow, while Wayne Taylor Racing also moved into contention.
“I don’t know if we had the pace the other leaders had today,” Valiante said, “but we tried to keep our heads down and stay out of trouble.”
“It was super fun out there, especially when it was raining out there and we were on slicks. I think the officials did a great job today, with the red flagging and the standing water. They made some great tough calls today.”
Hand survived a near miss when Ricky Taylor spun the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP on the wet track exiting Turn 10 in the final hour, then smacked a barrier. There was slight damage to the Riley-Ford but not enough to take it out of contention.
Fuel mileage was also a storyline in the GT Le Mans class, with the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR car making it home on fumes to score an emotional first victory of the year. The win, achieved by Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler, occurs in the first race since it was announced in mid-May that Falken would be withdrawing its support of the Walker Racing program at year’s end. Patrick Pilet took the lead early on as many in the GTLM class struggled to get the power down on the damp track.
Oliver Gavin spun his #4 Corvette, tagging the second works Porsche of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber in the process and forcing repairs at the 911’s first stop. That took the Corvette out of the race, preventing the Gavin/Tommy Milner pairing from scoring another endurance race win after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago. Around the hour and 20-minute mark, Pilet came under pressure from John Edwards in the RLL BMW. Pilet was firm in his defence but was powerless to deny Edwards diving up the inside into the inner loop. But two hours later it all went wrong for Edwards as, having just taken the wheel back from Lucas Luhr, he locked up on cold tyres at Turn 6 and crashed out of the race.
After the restart, the class settled down again with the second Corvette of Tommy Milner leading for a couple of hours save for pitstops. Henzler was second and Bill Auberlen in the other BMW was third when the red flag came out. In a frantic run to the finish after the restart, Milner crashed in the wet and handed Henzler a lead he would not lose. Bamber fought back to second while Auberlen slipped to third. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished fourth after a relatively uneventful day, save for one off-course moment, and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella completed the top five.
Driver Bryan Sellers noted the same: “When we tested here we thought we were going to be very strong for the race and then when we came back, it didn’t look like we were going to be that good,” he said. “We struggled in the wet; we struggled in the dry; it just seemed like we were missing a little bit. However, once the race came around, we were able to get things going in the right direction and when we hit the momentum swing in the middle of the race, we were in good shape.”
“There’s always a turning point in the race and you’re thinking, ‘this is possible; we can do this,’” declared Sellers. “I was thinking just before Wolf got in at the end, ‘we had a real chance to win…and that we were strong enough to win.’ You know, we made sure to ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s,’ and we could make it happen. Add a little bit of luck, and we came away with the win. P1 is always great,” Sellers continued. When you win, it’s good for everybody; the drivers, the crew. A victory lets everybody see what they’ve accomplished; what Falken is capable of doing. Right now, the crew guys … they’re still working. Wolf and I get to spray the champagne, but winning for the crew is always one of the best things for me.”
Meanwhile, GT Daytona was a race-long roller coaster ride between all 11 cars in class, but ultimately saw the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R score its second win in three Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races this year, having also won at Daytona. Patron Endurance Cup points leaders Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence were joined by Marc Goossens in the ViperExchange.com entry.
The final caution that occurred with 10 minutes to go changed the complexion of the race in class. Lawrence’s mid-race stint on slicks as the rain intensified helped put the No. 93 car into win position, and Goossens took over the lead from Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America just after the five-hour mark. In the final 16 minutes of green flag running, Goossens led Farnbacher before Farnbacher ran off course at the toe of the boot in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
Farnbacher’s off course moment was the second incident in the final 10 minutes, and came after Kuno Wittmer crashed on the front straight in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3. Wittmer’s accident brought out the final caution flag of the race. Wittmer and Christina Nielsen fought through a lack of power during the race, and Wittmer, like Lawrence, managed to run one stint in the fifth hour on dry weather slicks before the rain intensified. They were classified 10th.
The late-race drama promoted the No. 44 Magnus Porsche of Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried to second in class and the overall class points-leading No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS of Dion von Moltke, Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller to third. The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, and No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Leh Keen, Cooper MacNeil and Andrew Davis, completed the top five.
Round seven of the TUSC moves across the border to Bowmanville, Ontario, for the two-hour and 40-minute Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, set for July 10-12, and featuring P, PC and GTLM classes.
IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – c Results:
01. Richard Westbrook/Michael Valiante, Corvette DP
02. Joey Hand/Scott Pruett, Riley DP Ford EcoBoost
03. Christian Fittipaldi/Joao Barbosa/Max Papis, Corvette DP
04. Mike Hedlund/Alex Popow/Renger van der Zande, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
05. Mike Guasch/Tom Kimber-Smith/Andrew Palmer, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
06. Daniel Burkett/Matt McMurry/Martin Plowman, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
07. Jon Bennett/Colin Braun/James Gue, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
08. Dane Cameron/Max Papis/Eric Curran, Corvette DP
09. Mikhail Goikhberg/Rusty Mitchell/Chris Miller, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
10. Bryan Sellers/Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911 RSR
11. Earl Bamber/Nick Tandy/Joerg Bergmeister, Porsche 911 RSR
12. Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner, BMW Z4 GTLM
13. Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia, Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
14. Pierre Kaffer/Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari F458 Italia
15. Patrick Pilet/Earl Bamber/Nick Tandy, Porsche 911 RSR
16. Al Carter/Cameron Lawrence/Marc Goossens, Dodge Viper SRT
17. John Potter/Andy Lally/Marco Seefried, Porsche 911 GT America
18. Christopher Haase/Dion von Moltke/Bryce Miller, Audi R8 LMS
19. Bill Sweedler/Townsend Bell, Ferrari 458 Italia
20. Cooper MacNeil/Leh Keen/Andrew Davis, Porsche 911 GT America
21. Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen, Dodge Viper SRT
22. Mario Farnbacher/Ian James, Porsche 911 GT America
23. Madison Snow/Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT America
24. Michael Marsal/Markus Palttala, BMW Z4
25. Kuno Wittmer/Christina Nielsen, Aston Martin V12 Vantage
26. Patrick Lindsey/Spencer Pumpelly, Porsche 911 GT America
27. Tom Long/Joel Miller/Ben Devlin, Mazda
28. Ricky Taylor/Jordan Taylor/Max Angelelli, Corvette DP
29. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner, Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
30. Bruno Junqueira/Chris Cumming, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
31. Conor Daly/James French/Jerome Mee, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet
32. Oswaldo Negri/John Pew, Ligier JS P2 Honda HPD
33. Memo Rojas/Katherine Legge, DeltaWing DWC13 Elan
34. John Edwards/Lucas Luhr, BMW Z4 GTLM