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IMSA Long Beach: Porsche 963 takes first win as Taylor crashes

Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet took the new Porsche 963's maiden win in the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Long Beach after Ricky Taylor crashed out trying to grab victory.

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet

Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

The #6 Penske Porsche started sixth but ran the whole race on one set of tyres to save time in pitstops and avoid the slow tyre warm-up process, which proved a winning strategy in a wild 100-minute race around the 1.968-mile Californian street course.

The pole-winning Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06 was expected to dominate and Filipe Albuquerque duly led the opening laps, but an issue at the pitstop cost 12s and prompted a charge back to the front from Taylor that was highlighted by an amazing duel with the #7 Porsche and #25 BMW. Having dispensed with them, Taylor caught race leader Jaminet only to crash out trying to pass him at Turn 1 with just two laps to go.

At the start, Sebastien Bourdais (Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R) snapped sideways on cold tyres approaching Turn 1 and hit the inside wall before spinning into the run-off. Behind him, the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8 of Nick Yelloly was unable to avoid tagging Tom Blomqvist's Meyer Shank Acura into a spin.

In the chaos, the opportunistic Tandy was “in the right place at the right time” and leapt up to second, ahead of BMWs of Yelloly and Augusto Farfus, Felipe Nasr’s #7 Porsche and Alexander Sims (Action Express Cadillac). Significantly, the #60 Meyer Shank car fell off the lead lap as Blomqvist struggled to restart the car after its spin. Bourdais couldn’t restart at all, as the impact had registered a safety protocol in the complex electronics and refused to fire up the engine.

After this false start, the race properly got going with 90 minutes left on the clock, with Albuquerque leading Tandy, Yelloly and Farfus. Sims pitted the Action Express car to switch over to Pipo Derani in a bold, but ultimately doomed, strategy play.

With the tyres taking over 10 laps for the GTP cars to get up to a good operating temperature, Albuquerque took time before he put the hammer down and pulled away out front. At one-third distance, he led by 4s but soon saw his lead evaporate as the obstinate Derani was determined to stay on the lead lap.

Bourdais crashed into Turn 1 at the start

Bourdais crashed into Turn 1 at the start

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Tandy inherited the lead when Albuquerque came in to hand over to Taylor, who took an age to rejoin as his car became stuck in neutral. When he did, he was then hit by the Pfaff Porsche as he struggled to warm-up his tires.

Tandy pitted in response but Porsche opted not to change tyres, and Jaminet rejoined 13s in front after the WTR Acura’s delay.  The BMWs were last to pit, and after the pitstop cycle played out, there was a Porsche 1-2 with Jaminet’s #6 car leading Matt Campbell in the #7.

Derani spoiled the Porsche party by grabbing second from Campbell at Turn 5 and chased down Jaminet for the lead, but Jaminet held firm and Derani dropped back to sixth when he stopped again with 30 minutes to go.

Conor De Phillippi, who relayed Yelloly, attacked Campbell for second at Turn 5 with 22 minutes to go, but overshot and was forced to spin-turn the car. That handed third to Taylor, who wasted no time in pressuring Campbell at Turn 5.

Nose-to-tail contact sent a chunk of the Porsche’s bodywork flying and allowed De Phillippi to close, before Taylor passed Campbell by cutting the apex curb at Turn 9, and De Phillippi followed through.

Jaminet had 8s in hand with eight minutes remaining, but his older tyres meant he was no match for Taylor who caught up with three minutes on the clock.

Two laps from the finish, Taylor lunged to Jaminet's inside at Turn 1 only to sail into the tyres. That gifted Jaminet the win under yellows, ahead of De Phillippi and Campbell.

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Lexus wins GTD class

With no LMP2 or LMP3 cars in action, GTD was the sole secondary class at Long Beach.

Jack Hawksworth grabbed the lead at the start in his Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F, taking an early advantage over impressive pole-winner Marco Sorensen in the non-Pro #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage. Patrick Pilet ran third in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, ahead of Ross Gunn's Pro Heart of Racing Aston and Antonio Garcia’s factory-run Corvette C8.R.

Sorensen was the first to pit after 35 minutes, to hand over to Roman De Angelis, but he got stuck in traffic and dropped behind the #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW of Madison Snow/Bryan Sellers.

Hawksworth relayed to Ben Barnicoat, and he rejoined with a 7s lead over Klaus Bachler in the Pfaff Porsche, and Jordan Taylor's Corvette. Taylor barged past Bachler for second at Turn 5 with 40 minutes remaining.

Sellers led the non-pro GTD class, but De Angelis was a constant shadow as they finished in the same order.

IMSA Long Beach race results (78 laps)

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Time
1 GTP 6 United Kingdom Nick Tandy
France Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 963  
2 GTP 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United Kingdom Nick Yelloly
BMW M Hybrid V8 0.903
3 GTP 7 Australia Matt Campbell
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Porsche 963 2.904
4 GTP 24 Austria Philipp Eng
Brazil Augusto Farfus
BMW M Hybrid V8 3.692
5 GTP 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
Cadillac V-Series.R 56.151
6 GTP 60 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United States Colin Braun
Acura ARX-06 1 lap
7 GTP 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura ARX-06 2 laps
8 GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Lexus RC F GT3 5 laps
9 GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R GTD 5 laps
10 GTD PRO 9 Austria Klaus Bachler
France Patrick Pilet
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 5 laps
11 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
BMW M4 GT3 5 laps
12 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 5 laps
13 GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 5 laps
14 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
Lexus RC F GT3 5 laps
15 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
Canada Mikael Grenier
Mercedes AMG GT3 6 laps
16 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Mercedes AMG GT3 6 laps
17 GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
McLaren 720S GT3 EVO 6 laps
18 GTD 78 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
Italy Loris Spinelli
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 6 laps
19 GTD 96 United States Patrick Gallagher
United States Robby Foley
BMW M4 GT3 6 laps
20 GTD 66 Sheena Monk
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Acura NSX GT3 6 laps
21 GTD 77 United States Alan Brynjolfsson
United States Trent Hindman
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 6 laps
22 GTD PRO 79 Spain Daniel Juncadella
France Jules Gounon
Mercedes AMG GT3 6 laps
23 GTD 97 United States Bill Auberlen
Chandler Hull
BMW M4 GT3 6 laps
24 GTD 91 Alan Metni
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 7 laps
25 GTD 92 United States Alec Udell
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 7 laps
26 GTP 01 France Sébastien Bourdais
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Cadillac V-Series.R  
27 GTD 80 PJ Hyett
Seb Priaulx
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)  
28 GTD 93 United States Ashton Harrison
Germany Mario Farnbacher
Acura NSX GT3  

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