Porsche North America pairing Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy made history at Petit Le Mans by leading a GTLM-class 1-2 overall result – defeating all the Prototype class machines despite huge downforce and horsepower shortcomings.
Remarkably the BMW Z4 of John Edwards, Lucas Luhr and Jens Klingmann finished second overall – also in front of the entire prototype pack.
The win by the Porsche squad was the first time a GT-based car has won overall at Petit Le Mans and the first overall win in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
While a GT-spec car never won in the history of the American Le Mans Series, they have previously tasted success in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Victories were scored by the Dodge Viper team in 2000, Corvette Racing in 2001 and The Racer’s Group Porsche in 2003.
In a race that was red flagged for 65 minutes due to rain, Tandy made a barnstorming charge the rear of the grid after being forced to start from the back of the grid due to a ride height infringement in qualifying.
This year’s Le Mans winner charged to the front of the GTLM pack before handing over to TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM championship leader, Pilet.
The Frenchman continued to move forward and enjoyed a stint in the overall lead. When Tandy climbed back aboard for his final stint the Brit chased the two class-leading Corvettes and then set his sights on the Prototype race leader, Eric Curran.
Thirteen minutes before the race was finally called due to the ongoing weather issues, Tandy moved into the race lead which he held until the the flag was flown after seven hours and 51 minutes of the scheduled 10 hour journey.
The victory clinched the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM championship for Pilet.
Teammate Richard Lietz got to enjoy the spoils of victory – being presented with a trophy in the post-race ceremonies – despite not doing a lap in the shortened race today.
At one stage late in the race, six of the top seven cars were GTLM machine as Michelin’s partner teams from Porsche, Corvette, BMW and Ferrari took advantage of their strong performing wet weather tires.
Corvette drivers Tommy Milner and Jan Magnussen also had stints in the overall race lead on Michelin wet tires.
With rain falling throughout the day, the race was interrupted by 10 full course yellow periods plus the red flag stoppage.
Other class victories went to Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais in the Prototype class – clinching the championship for Barbosa and Fittipaldi for the second year in a row.
The PC race win went to Tom Kimber-Smith, Andrew Palmer and Mike Guasch with CORE autosport’s Jon Bennett and Colin Braun taking the championship.
Spencer Pumpelly, Patrick Lindsey and Madison Snow took the GT Daytona class win aboard their Porsche with Ferrari aces Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell taking the championship.