Porsche fight puts two 911 GT3 cup cars in Watkins Glen top five

Brumos Racing Takes Second Consecutive Podium; Magnus Earns Fourth; Horton Leads

Watkin Glen, N.Y., August 11, 2012 – It was clear from the results that Porsche teams came to Watkins Glen International with a lot of fight in them. Porsches were in the heat of the battle from the first turn to the last of the two-hour Continental Tire 200 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at the famous Upstate New York road course. All three of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars entered in the GT class of the event played major roles with Brumos Racing earning its second consecutive podium finish having just narrowly bested the Magnus Racing Porsche to the checkered flag. Horton Racing, having had a career-best starting spot added to their success by leading a lap before contact with a Daytona Prototype competitor ended their podium run.

#59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3: Andrew Davis, Leh Keen
#59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3: Andrew Davis, Leh Keen

Photo by: Jackie Buys

Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga.) took the green flag in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from the seventh starting position. Having lost their quickest lap in qualifying as a result of a fuel relay problem during Friday’s time trials, Davis was eager to show the strength of the Brumos operation. He wasted little time working his way to the front of the field. When the first caution flag waved just short of the mandatory 30-minutes required for a driver to be in the car to earn championship points, Brumos rolled the dice and left the 2011 GT champion on track. Davis inherited the lead and kept it for 15 laps. When he handed the car over to teammate and fellow 2011 champion Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) it set the stage for a battle royal with the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche for the checkered flag - a struggle that ultimately ended with the Brumos car on the podium in third-position.

“Hats off to the Brumos crew,” said Davis. “They worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks. They gave us a great car. The Brumos No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was working really well. I knew that going in. Turn one was exciting because there was some contact and cars spinning everywhere but being on the inside I had an escape route and was able to get by two of the cars I wanted to get by. Then I just chased down the first two cars and I was picking away at them. I just put my head down on the restart and tried to build the biggest restart I could for Leh because I knew we’d need it. From there it was up to Leh. In the end, it was hair-raising from my seat in the pits watching but Leh did a phenomenal job and was able to hold off a really hard charging Andy Lally. Third’s great. We’re happy with that.”

“A great weekend all-around,” reflected Keen. “This was our fourth podium of the year and two podiums in a row. The guys have been working really hard and we’ve had a really good car the last couple of races. At the end, as it always is here in the Rolex Series, it was a total battle. We were just holding on for the podium. The cars running upfront were real strong so I don’t know if we had a whole lot for them but I was able to hold-on for the podium. It was a crazy race. I got into some contact and was sort of a pinball between some Mazdas but the car was strong and held up fine. I have to give it to Porsche to take those hits. Andrew did a great job. He handed over the car in a good position.”

#44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3: Andy Lally, John Potter
#44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3: Andy Lally, John Potter

Photo by: Jackie Buys

The Magnus machine used strategy and great driving efforts by both driver/owner John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah) and 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) to put themselves into contention for its own second consecutive podium. The 2012 North American Endurance Champions – awarded at the most recent event with victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis – qualified tenth for today’s race. Potter moved the car into seventh by virtue of one of his strongest race stints of the season before handing the car over to Lally just after the 30-minute mark. The team was forced to wait until the green flag waved following the first yellow flag period to ensure that they were past the 30-minute window allowing both Potter and Lally to score full driver points. That stop set them back only temporarily.

Once in the car, Lally went on the attack bringing the battle up to the Brumos Porsche in the closing stages. A late race caution closed the gap even further and, with three minutes remaining in the race, the green flag flew with Lally on the rear-bumper of Keen. The two raced hard but clean with Keen taking a narrow edge at the checkered flag. Magnus Racing earned fourth-place, just behind their Porsche counterpart.

“We definitely didn't have a bad day so no big complaints,” recounted Lally. “The guys made some great strategy calls early. We were just caught out with some bad luck on our second stop. Montreal should be a great race for us so we look forward to it.”

Potter echoed Lally’s thought: “I'm happy with the way our team worked together today. We just didn't have the luck we needed to be on the podium. Overall, it was a decent day and hopefully Montreal will bring us more podiums.”

The nose-to-tail intramural fight for the podium may have been dramatic but it might pale in comparison to the thrill ride of Horton Autosport during the weekend. In qualifying, the California-based team set the standard for Porsches taking third on the grid with Eric Foss (Dallas) driving. Foss’ race would be no less exciting from the start than the Brumos-Magnus battle was at the end. Entering turn-one of the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course “Short Course”, the two championship points leaders made contact just behind the No. 73 Horton Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. As the cars careened off track, Foss kept the throttle down and moved up into second-place. He maintained second for the majority of the first 30-minutes.

#73 Horton Autosport Porsche GT3: Eric Foss, Patrick Lindsey
#73 Horton Autosport Porsche GT3: Eric Foss, Patrick Lindsey

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Having missed the first race of the season the John Horton-owned and managed team had no concern for the point championship and opted to take advantage of the first caution period to make their driver change. The Texan gave the white and red machine over to his teammate Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) who would maintain the car’s strong performance. Lindsey would lead a lap adding to the list of firsts for the team at this weekend’s race. With 16 minutes remaining, the No. 5 Daytona Prototype, not knowing the Horton machine was to his left, made a sudden move directly into Lindsey entering turn six. Lindsey made hard contact first into the inside, driver-side, Armco barrier then spun across the track making a second impact to the outside of the turn. The car’s best race of the season was over. Lindsey was checked at the infield care center and released. Horton would have to settle for 11th despite it being a career-setting weekend.

“This was the one year anniversary of us coming to the Rolex Series,” commented Foss. “It was good to come back to a race we had run before. My opening stint in the car was great. John Horton made some setup changes to the car after qualifying and the car felt great. I was just pacing myself with Boris [Said, pole sitter and early leader] so to be the fastest Porsche out there felt really good. We were stoked. We really thought we had a good shot at the podium today. It is tough in this series so things happen. We’re really happy with how strong we were today but a little frustrated wondering what we have to do to get a break in this series!”

Patrick Lindsey: “The car was fantastic. John did an amazing job of getting the car right for us. Every change was the right move. We had the pace to run with everybody. We were executing on our strategy today which put us right there in the top-five. That’s what we wanted. A little bad luck caught us again. Not much you can say about that [the accident] other than hope it doesn’t happen again. It was a pretty big hit. We’ll just put it behind us and move on to the next race.”

The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series now travels north to Canada for the Montreal 200 At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The two-hour race is scheduled for August 18 with a 7 p.m. (ET) start.

Source: Porsche Motorsport

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Series GRANDAM
Article type Race report
Tags brumos, continental, davis, glen, grand-am, keen, lally, magnus, porsche, potter