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IMSA Watkins Glen: Porsche snatches last-gasp win from BMW

Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet snatched victory in IMSA SportsCar Championship’s action-packed Watkins Glen six-hour race, denying BMW its first GTP win since 1986 in the closing moments.

#6: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Jaminet passed Connor De Phillippi’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run BMW with just six minutes of the six-hour race remaining. The race went full-course yellow just moments later, as a BMW GTD car somersaulted on the approach to the final corner.

The fifth round of America’s premier sportscar series began with the prototype classes starting in championship order, after the multi-car shunt that halted the LMP2/P3 session and led to the GTP session being abandoned due to heavy rain. The 57-car entry was the largest here since 1984.

Nick Tandy (#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963) led Pipo Derani (#31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R), as Augusto Farfus spun the #24 BMW M Hybrid V8 out of sixth place at the first corner. The right-front corner of the car was wrecked in the impact with the barrier, putting it out of the race. “My fault, I just lost the rear,” Farfus admitted.

Officials then green-flagged the GTD field, despite the stationary BMW on the track at Turn 1, but fortunately the stacked field of 20 cars, many of them two-wide, managed to avoid hitting it. The race went full-course yellow moments later.

Soon after the restart, the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 of Louis Deletraz required a new left-rear tyre after being black-flagged by IMSA for a low-pressure warning. More opening-hour drama included Derani getting clipped by Mark Kvamme’s High Class Racing LMP2 car.

That didn’t cause a caution, but it wasn't long as LMP2 frontrunner Salih Yoluc (Towe Motorsports) harpooned Ben Keating (PR1 Mathiasen) at the final corner, causing Steven Thomas (TDS Racing) to hit the barrier in avoidance. He then reversed into the middle of the track at the blind corner, causing some near misses.

#25: BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Hybrid V8, GTP: Connor De Phillippi, Nick Yelloly

#25: BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Hybrid V8, GTP: Connor De Phillippi, Nick Yelloly

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Matt Campbell picked up the lead as he’d pitted the #7 963 before the yellow, heading Tandy in a Porsche 1-2, while the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Colin Braun vaulted to third by not taking tyres but was then penalised with a drive-through for pitlane speeding.

Just inside the second hour the third FCY flew when Sebastien Bourdais crashed the Chip Ganassi Racing Caddy out of fourth after misjudging a lapping move on a Porsche GTD car and was smashed from behind by the close-following De Phillippi’s #25 BMW.

At the bottom of the second hour, the leading Porsches swapped places, with Mathieu Jaminet (in for Tandy) passing Felipe Nasr (in for Campbell) after the #6 pitted earlier than the #7.

Before the 2h30m point, the #7 Porsche pulled into pitlane from second place with a failing hybrid system and went behind the wall, elevating the #10 Acura up to second.

But that spot appeared to be cursed, as Filipe Albuquerque’s left-rear wheel flew off at the Inner Loop just a few minutes later. He lost a lap after taking the shortcut back to the pits, which promoted the #60 Acura to second and the #31 Cadillac to third. The remaining #25 BMW was in fourth, despite a half spin for Yelloly after contacting a GTD Lamborghini just before half distance.

The P2 curse continued when the #60 suffered a right-rear puncture, while more bad news for Acura was the #10 being penalised for failing to adhere to the minimum refuelling time. The leading #6 Porsche also received a scare when race control announced a warning for “failing to adhere to powertrain parameters”.

The next major incident was a four-car pile-up at Turn 6 in the fourth hour, as the #38 LMP3 of Alex Kirby ploughed into the rear of GTD Pro contending #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli, which collected the #42 Lambo of Rob Ferriol and the #01 Ganassi Cadillac of Renger van der Zande, who was running fifth overall.

#5: JDC Miller MotorSports, Porsche 963, GTP: Tijmen van der Helm, Mike Rockenfeller

#5: JDC Miller MotorSports, Porsche 963, GTP: Tijmen van der Helm, Mike Rockenfeller

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

At the restart with just over two hours remaining, Jack Aitken benefited from the timing of the yellow to lead in the #31 AXR Caddy from Braun in the #60 Acura, Tandy and Yelloly. Ten minutes into the stint, Yelloly jumped past Tandy for third, while Aitken battled for the lead with Braun.

De Phillippi took over the #25 BMW from Yelloly and a rapid penultimate pitstop meant he rejoined in the lead, while Tandy passed Derani for second with 75m on the clock. The #60 Acura slipped back to fourth, with Tom Blomqvist taking over from Braun despite a shoulder injury inflicted by sharing a seat with his team-mate.

In the closing stages, De Phillippi was unable to unleash the BMW’s pace that it had packed all weekend, pulling away to lead by over 7s from Jaminet, Derani and Blomqvist. But Jaminet responded in the final stages in a desperate final push as the 963 came into its own.

Jaminet grabbed the lead with a wild move in traffic with just six minutes remaining, as De Phillippi got stuck behind the GTD-leading Lexus.

The race ended under yellow when Bill Auberlen rolled his Turner Motorsports BMW M4 just moments later.

Derani finished third, ahead of Blomqvist. The JDC Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 of Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm finished fifth, ahead of the Ganassi Caddy, while the #10 Acura went off at Turn 9 in the closing hour and retired in the pits.

#04: Crowdstrike Racing by APR, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: George Kurtz, Ben Hanley, Nolan Siegel

#04: Crowdstrike Racing by APR, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: George Kurtz, Ben Hanley, Nolan Siegel

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Crowdstrike wins LMP2, Riley tops P3

LMP2 was a fierce duel as usual, with the Crowdstrike Racing machine of George Kurtz/Ben Hanley/Nolan Siegel beating Era Motorsport (sharing with Indy NXT star Christian Rasmussen and Dwight Merriman) and the PR1 Mathiasen entry of Ben Keating/Paul-Loup Chatin/Alex Quinn).

In LMP3, Felipe Fraga (sharing the #74 Riley entry with Gar Robinson and Josh Burdon) traded paint in a battle for the lead with Garret Grist (AWA, partnered by Dakota Dickerson and Dylan Murry, the latter a late sub after Ari Balogh’s qualifying crash) across the closing hours. Fraga just came out on top.

#12: Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, GTD: Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo, Parker Thompson, #14: Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, GTD PRO: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

#12: Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, GTD: Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo, Parker Thompson, #14: Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, GTD PRO: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Lexus claims GTD double

In GTD, Loris Spinelli (Forte Racing) led an early Lamborghini 1-2 ahead of Jordan Pepper’s Iron Lynx entry. Daniel Serra’s Risi Ferrari ran third, ahead of the Lexus duo of Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth, with the #14 methodically working its way through the order to the head of the field after Ben Barnicoat took over.

Iron Dames spent a spell in the lead of Pro-Am GTD after a brilliant stint from Doriane Pin, but the Lamborghini was black-flagged due to being below the minimum tyre pressure requirement, a fate that also befell other frontrunners including the Risi Ferrari and Forte Lambo.

With two hours remaining, Pro Barnicoat headed Parker Thompson (sharing the sister #12 Lexus with Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo).

But there was disaster for the Hawksworth/Barnicoat car, as it was pinged for speeding in its final pitstop. That handed the overall GTD win to Telitz, while the Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor inherited the GTD Pro lead, bouncing back from a drive-through penalty when a tyre was left behind in a pitstop, and it was hit along the pitlane by an Aston Martin.

But a charging Hawksworth pulled off a late lunge to pass Garcia in The Boot, bringing Serra’s Ferrari past him too.

Hawksworth just held off Serra in the closing laps to ensure a double Lexus victory.

IMSA Watkins Glen 6 Hours - race results

Cla   Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Time
1   GTP 6 United Kingdom Nick Tandy
France Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 963 201  
2   GTP 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United Kingdom Nick Yelloly
BMW M Hybrid V8 201 2.120
3   GTP 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
United Kingdom Jack Aitken
Cadillac V-Series.R 201 14.198
4   GTP 60 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United States Colin Braun
Acura ARX-06 201 22.541
5   GTP 5 Netherlands Tijmen van der Helm
Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Porsche 963 199 2 laps
6   GTP 01 France Sébastien Bourdais
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Cadillac V-Series.R 197 4 laps
7   LMP2 04 United States George Kurtz
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Nolan Siegel
ORECA LMP2 07 196 5 laps
8   LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Christian Rasmussen
ORECA LMP2 07 196 5 laps
9   LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
France Paul-Loup Chatin
Alex Quinn
ORECA LMP2 07 196 5 laps
10   LMP2 35 United States John Falb
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
United States Josh Pierson
ORECA LMP2 07 195 6 laps
11   LMP2 8 Turkey Salih Yoluc
United States Kyffin Simpson
United Kingdom Will Stevens
ORECA LMP2 07 195 6 laps
12   LMP2 88 Argentina Luis Perez Companc
France Lilou Wadoux
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
ORECA LMP2 07 193 8 laps
13   LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Australia Josh Burdon
Ligier JS P320 189 12 laps
14   LMP3 30 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
United States Dakota Dickerson
Ligier JS P320 189 12 laps
15   LMP3 17 Canada Anthony Mantella
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
Argentina Nicolás Varrone
Duqueine D08 189 12 laps
16   LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Colombia Gabby Chaves
Glenn van
Ligier JS P320 188 13 laps
17   LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Germany Lars Kern
Duqueine D08 188 13 laps
18   LMP3 4 Seth Lucas
Tonis Kasemets
United States Trenton Estep
Ligier JS P320 187 14 laps
19   LMP3 33 Portugal Joao Barbosa
Chile Nicolas Pino
United States Lance Willsey
Ligier JS P320 187 14 laps
20   LMP3 54 Jason Rabe
Andrew Pinkerton
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Ligier JS P320 185 16 laps
21   GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
Canada Parker Thompson
Lexus RC F GT3 183 18 laps
22   GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Lexus RC F GT3 183 18 laps
23   GTD PRO 62 Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 296 GT3 183 18 laps
24   GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R GTD 183 18 laps
25   GTD PRO 79 Spain Daniel Juncadella
France Jules Gounon
Mercedes AMG GT3 183 18 laps
26   GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
United States Corey Lewis
BMW M4 GT3 183 18 laps
27   GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 183 18 laps
28   GTD PRO 023 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 183 18 laps
29   GTD 66 Sheena Monk
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United States Marc Miller
Acura NSX GT3 183 18 laps
30   GTD PRO 9 Austria Klaus Bachler
France Patrick Pilet
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 183 18 laps
31   GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Denmark Marco Sorensen
United Kingdom Ian James
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 183 18 laps
32   GTD 23 Onofrio Triarsi
Charles Scardina
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 296 GT3 183 18 laps
33   GTD 78 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
Italy Loris Spinelli
Patrick Liddy
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 183 18 laps
34   GTD 93 United States Ashton Harrison
Costa Rica Danny Formal
Canada Kyle Marcelli
Acura NSX GT3 183 18 laps
35   GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 183 18 laps
36   GTD 92 United States David Brule
United States Alec Udell
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 183 18 laps
37   LMP3 85 United States Till Bechtolsheimer
Daniel Goldburg
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Duqueine D08 182 19 laps
38   GTD 77 United States Alan Brynjolfsson
United States Trent Hindman
United States Maxwell Root
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 182 19 laps
39   GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
Canada Mikael Grenier
United States Kenton Koch
Mercedes AMG GT3 182 19 laps
40   LMP2 11 United States Thomas Steven
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
ORECA LMP2 07 182 19 laps
41   GTD 96 United States Patrick Gallagher
United States Robby Foley
United States Michael Dinan
BMW M4 GT3 182 19 laps
42   GTD 80 United States PJ Hyett
Seb Priaulx
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 182 19 laps
43   GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
McLaren 720S GT3 EVO 182 19 laps
44   GTD 83 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
France Doriane Pin
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 182 19 laps
45   GTD 91 Alan Metni
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
Australia Jaxon Evans
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 181 20 laps
46   GTD PRO 95 United States Bill Auberlen
United States Chandler Hull
United States John Edwards
BMW M4 GT3 179 22 laps
47   GTP 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Acura ARX-06 176 25 laps
48   GTD 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 296 GT3 158 43 laps
49   GTD PRO 61 France Simon Mann
Spain Miguel Molina
Belgium Ulysse De Pauw
Ferrari 296 GT3 134 67 laps
50   LMP3 38 Christopher Allen
Connor Bloum
Alex Kirby
Ligier JS P320 109 92 laps
51   GTD PRO 63 Italy Andrea Caldarelli
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 108 93 laps
52   GTD 42 United States Jaden Conwright
Luke Berkeley
United States Rob Ferriol
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 105 96 laps
53   GTP 7 Australia Matt Campbell
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Porsche 963 100 101 laps
54   LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
ORECA LMP2 07 60 141 laps
55   GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Italy Raffaele Marciello
Netherlands Indy Dontje
Mercedes AMG GT3 32 169 laps
56   LMP2 51 United States Eric Lux
Canada Devlin DeFrancesco
Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
ORECA LMP2 07 7 194 laps
57   GTP 24 Austria Philipp Eng
Brazil Augusto Farfus
BMW M Hybrid V8 0  

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