Farnbacher Loles Racing celebrated its first American Le Mans Series win Saturday evening, topping the GT2 class at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, and Richard Westbrook of London, England, took the No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to the head of the class, backed by a strong crew effort and an effective strategy team.
Miller drove the first stint, starting fourth on the GT2 grid. He pitted from sixth and handed off to Westbrook, who returned to the track fifth in class. Despite a penalty for exceeding the pit-lane speed limit, Westbrook moved up to take the class lead just before the halfway mark of the four-hour race, then stopped for a driver change.
Werner drove the last half of the race, returning to the track fifth. He gained three positions on his final stop for fuel and tires, then held second in class until the last minute of the race. He passed the class-leading Ferrari of Mika Salo, who then regained the lead, but braked too late on the fifth turn of the 4.048-mile road course and spun, leaving Werner to take the checkered flag.
Gregory Loles, team owner: "We've been knocking on the door for the last couple of races. Today we put it all together -- an excellent car, terrific driving, perfect pit stops and strategy. I want to thank all our sponsors and Porsche Motorsport for all their support. Congratulations to our crew and engineers, and a special thanks to Mike Evans and Mike Spinti for providing us with superb strategy in their first race with us. We feel now the team is poised for more success."
Bryce Miller: "The Marquis Jet car ran super today, and Farnbacher Loles did a great job to set it up. It was my second race in the RSR, so I haven't paid my dues so much for a result like this. But these two guys have been knocking on the door and it's good to be here and share it with them. They're both world-class drivers and they deserve it and I'm just glad to be a part of it. The last couple of laps were just amazing driving by Dirk."
Dirk Werner: "After the last caution, the tires were right there. I thought, 'Okay on the last lap, you have to try something.' I got a little bit lucky because Mika tried to overtake his teammate, and he [the teammate] couldn't see him, so he brake-checked him and I could dive to the inside. The next three corners were really amazing because Mika was right on my bumper. I think he just wanted to try everything. When he saw an advantage in turn five, he braked even later than I did and he couldn't make it and spun out.
"But that was really an awesome race. The key that put us in the position to win was the pit strategy. We came from fifth to second on the last caution when everybody pitted. Then the car was really good -- nobody other than Mika and I could go the pace in the end. I'm really proud we managed to get our first win in our first ALMS season with Farnbacher Loles."
Richard Westbrook: "I had a lot of issues! I got in the car and the pit-speed limiter wasn't working, so as soon as I left the pits, I got the call from the pit lane saying that I had a penalty. So I had to come in and serve the penalty. Then the guys on the pit wall made a great decision -- because I was last in the queue, they said to come in for fuel. Then I had a really, really good stint. The car was just so good. I think that was the key to our result today -- we had a car that was really, really stable. Our strategy was superb and when I handed over the car to Dirk, the guys did their job. And Dirk's last few laps were amazing."