Austin, Texas. The day began with Porsche announcing plans that the sports car marque will field a two-car factory team named Porsche North America throughout next year’s inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Damien Faulkner (Ireland), driving the #66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup GTC class racer, took the wheel for the final stint from starting pilot Ben Keating (Port Lavaca, Tex.) and staged an epic battle with Sean Edwards (Great Britain) before scoring TRG’s first win of the year. The race was a highlight of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) debut weekend at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Edwards’ co-driver, Henrique Cisneros (Miami) led from the first lap of the race in the #30 NGT Porsche, with Edwards maintaining first place until the final part of the race.
“Ben [Keating] started the car and ran a great stint, giving me a perfect car with great track position. We planned our strategy around no yellow flags, and that turned out to be the case. I caught Edwards a couple of times, but he’s a tough competitor. Fortunately, I finally got by him near the end,” said Faulkner.
Keating, who scored his first-ever ALMS win, had more than 60 guests from his hometown of Port Lacava, Tex., and made the most of the week at COTA.
“Our car was fast both for qualifying and the race. I thought it was great when Damien earned the pole, but winning the race was gratifying for both the drivers and the TRG team,” said Keating.
Finishing third was the Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.)/Patrick Dempsey (Malibu) – the team’s second ALMS podium.
“The challenge here is that you always feel like you are in traffic,” said Dempsey. “I had a good start but then lost a lot of positions in traffic. It just got us out of position but our strategist, Lars Giersing, made a good call early on. We had some difficulty with the pit stop but in the end we finally just had some luck come our way, which was very nice.”
The Alex Job Racing Porsche experienced mechanical issues, however drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.)/Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco) maintained their first place position in the championship points chase by virtue of their sixth place finish.
In the GT class, the three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries finished a tough day in Austin with the #17 Team Falken Tire entry driven by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (Brasleton, Ga.) taking the checkered flag in seventh. Bryce Miller (Summit, N.J.) and Marco Holzer (Germany) drove the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche to ninth while the CORE autosport #06 was raced to tenth by Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) and Colin Braun (Ovalo, Texas).
The next round of the ALMS championship season will take place at Virginia International Raceway on October 5th.
Porsche Cars North America