Patrick Pilet and Wolf Henzler fought tooth and nail over the final spot on the GTLM podium at COTA.
It all started with a tap from the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Prototype and Patrick Pilet went around in his No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR GTLM car just out of the first turn in the middle portion of the race.
It ended with one of the best battles on track during the Tudor United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Pilet regained control of his car and managed to remain ahead of Wolf Henzler in the No. 17 Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR but Henzler took the fight to Pilet. Both drivers took racing lines off of the racing surface in one of the most exciting battles of the race for the lead in the GTLM class.
Henzler gives his take
“I came around turn 1 and I saw Pilet spinning his wheels and leaving, so I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t see it, but obviously he spun and he had contact, I don’t know what happened, but I thought ‘great, it’s my chance’ because the last laps were pretty good, our lap times were good and their lap times were almost the same and I knew I can go for the lead and I had a great battle with him. I think I took the lead twice but he always could take it back, so it was a good battle,” Henzler told motorsport.com
Pilet sees it differently
“The fight was fun maybe for him but not for me because I was hit by a prototype, then he touched me a few times, for me it was too much, especially between two Porsche factory drivers, this should not happen, but anyway, we have no damage hopefully because my rim was [damaged] after contact with him, but hopefully we didn’t have a completely broke rim, but yeah, it’s racing.”
Hard racing, but fair racing
“I mean it was fair, yeah, it was for sure hard, but it was fair,” said Henzler.
“Fair was okay, but you have just some level of aggressiveness, that’s it. Fair was fair, nothing dangerous, but one time I come next to him and he just turn on me and there is no reason but anyway it’s okay, it’s in the past,” Pilet said.
Pilet ended up gaining the upper hand on Henzler, finishing third ahead of Henzler’s fourth place finish, but both drivers were okay after an intense dual.