Porsche claimed its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season with a 1-2 finish today at Circuit of The Americas.
The race was a heartache for the Risi Competizione squad of Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella who dominated the event only to suffer electric problems and hand over the lead late in the race.
Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki took their first ever series victory over Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
Virginia International Raceway victors Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia took third place.
“First of all, Fred did a fantastic job in the first stint, so did the whole team,” Bamber said.
“We came out in the third position after the restart. In the long run, we could pace everyone. We didn’t have the straight line speed, but the second pit stop we just did a fantastic job. Then the Ferarri went away. In the middle of the stint, we had a really strong car from managing the tires. Unfortunately we didn’t have as big of a fight as we hoped, but we got a 1-2 for Porsche.”
The victory today was a great fightback for Porsche who has struggled so far throughout 2016. The fight today also included a huge battle with the Risi car with more paint being swapped – continuing the rivalry which became “heated” at VIR.
“For me, there is nothing personal, but lets say the #62 likes to race hard and race aggressive,” Bamber said.
“Certainly the racing was a bit cleaner this weekend and the IMSA officials are doing a great job trying to police us and let us race as free as possible. That’s important, because drivers knowing they can race each other hard gives a great product.
“I think the Ferrari was a bit unlucky today, they were really racing strong and probably should have come away with the win. Hopefully they have a stronger result at Petit.”
Ford’s challenge for success took a blow. The No. 67 Ford GT sat on the pole and ran top four for much of the front part of the race before on-track contact with the No. 4 Corvette caused damage to the steering rack, which cost the team 13 laps in the garage. The ninth place finish causes the team to be unofficially 11 points out of the championship lead going into the finale at Road Atlanta.
The No. 66 Ford GT spun after contact with a BMW on the first lap, causing it to lose most of a lap to the leaders. The team battled back to finish sixth.
Championship leaders Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin took a fifth place finish.
— Michelin Alley (@MichelinAlley) September 17, 2016
— Porsche Motorsport (@PorscheRaces) September 17, 2016