Utah: Porsche Motorsport race report

PORSCHE 911 GT3 CUP TEAM WINS 2007 ROLEX GRAND-AM GT SERIES DRIVERS AND TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS; PORSCHE WINS GT MANUFACTURERS TITLE, CONTINUES STREAK TOOELE, Utah -- September 17 -- Dirk Werner (Germany), teaming with rookie Bryce Miller (USA) and...

PORSCHE 911 GT3 CUP TEAM WINS 2007 ROLEX GRAND-AM GT SERIES DRIVERS AND TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS; PORSCHE WINS GT MANUFACTURERS TITLE, CONTINUES STREAK

TOOELE, Utah -- September 17 -- Dirk Werner (Germany), teaming with rookie Bryce Miller (USA) and Wolf Henzler (Germany), clinched the 2007 Rolex Grand-Am GT Series drivers championship in the #87 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports IPC/Marquis Jet Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car with a third-place finish at Saturday's Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park.

The final race of the season also saw Porsche clinch the GT Manufacturers Championship and Farnbacher Loles wrap up the GT Team Championship. Porsche has won the GT manufacturers title seven times of the eight years the series has been in existence.

For Porsche, the titles strengthened its leadership in the Rolex Grand-Am GT series since its beginning in 2000 (includes GT, and the former SGS, GTS, and GTU class designations). Porsche has the most class wins in the history of Grand-Am (all classes), the most wins in the GT class, GT poles, and the most GT podium finishes (by more than 100 finishes). More than 90 percent of these records have been set by Porsche 911 race vehicles -- including the Porsche 911 Turbo, the Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS, and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

The Werner/Miller/Henzler Porsche finished third after running in the top five throughout the entire race. Their third-place finish wrapped up GT driver's championship for Werner - who finished 10 points (375-365) ahead of the Pontiac team of Collins and Edwards, who finished first in the Utah event.

Werner ran the final stint for the team, running the final 17 laps of the Sunchaser 1000. It marked his 10th podium finish of 2007 and fifth straight for Werner and Miller. The pair scored one win -- at Virginia International Raceway; a fact that emphasizes how important consistent, high finishes are in the final standings.

Edwards, Collins and Miller all jumped past Porsche drivers Andy Lally and RJ Valentine in the final points standings with their first and third-place finishes. Lally/Valentine, who came into the race tied for second in the championship point standings, were in the hunt until their #66 TRG CRG/Maxter Porsche 911 GT3 expired on Lap 27. The duo finished 23rd in class, but ended the season tied for fifth in points with five class victories.

"I had mixed emotions when I saw the No. 66 (with championship contenders Andy Lally and RJ Valentine) go out," Werner said. "Obviously, they were competition for the championship, but they were also running a Porsche, so I hoped we wouldn't have the same problems. However, I thought 'Here's my chance.' I knew we could win the championship."

The Ian Baas/Leh Keen/Dominik Farnbacher Porsche 911 GT3 Cup earned second as the final round of pit stops cycled through. Looking for his first victory of his career, Farnbacher was happy to give his co-drivers and the No. 85 team its first podium finish since Mexico City early in the year, and the car's highest finish of the season.

"It was definitely a good season," Farnbacher said. "When we had 16 laps to go, I thought we might have had a chance for this victory. We kept getting closer. There were some lapped cars in front of us, and on that last lap, one of the cars left us some space and I went for it. We made some contact and I went spinning, but we still finished second. We wish we could have won a race, so not getting one is disappointing, but we are happy for Dirk winning the championship."

Bryce Miller, whose father -- Paul Miller - is a Porsche dealer in New Jersey and former IMSA racer - finished fourth in the point standings (363 points), joining Werner in every race following the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"It's an incredible feeling to be a part of this team and winning this (team) championship in my first full season in this series, as well as the team's first season," Miller said. "It's quite an accomplishment. We just have been around great people all year. The chemistry of our team has been very solid. It's great to be able to share the same success with such a great group of people."

-credit: porsche motorsport

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Ian Baas , Wolf Henzler , Paul Miller , Lehman Keen , Dominik Farnbacher , Dirk Werner , Bryce Miller