Laguna Seca IMSA: Albuquerque/Taylor victorious in WTR Acura

Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor dominated the IMSA WeatherTech series race at the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car event at Laguna Seca on Sunday in their Wayne Taylor Racing Acura.

Laguna Seca IMSA: Albuquerque/Taylor victorious in WTR Acura

Albuquerque led from pole and was almost clipped by Dane Cameron’s Meyer Shank Acura DPi at Turn 1 but clung on to the lead. The race went under yellow almost immediately, however, as GTD racer Ian James spun his Heart of Racing Aston Martin exiting the first corner and collected Jacob Abel’s Acura NSX.

The race resumed with Albuquerque leading Cameron, Kevin Magnussen (Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac), Pipo Derani (Action Express Cadillac), Harry Tincknell (Mazda) and Tristan Vautier’s JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac.

While most of the leaders pitted soon after the half-hour mark, Cameron stayed out and ran a long first stint – his team clearly prepared to roll the dice on fuel strategy. Vautier climbed to fourth, as Tincknell briefly got ahead of Magnussen in the first round of pitstops, but Magnussen repassed him on track and then got ahead of Vautier.

After an hour-long first run, and a brimmed fuel tank, Cameron handed over to Olivier Pla, who rejoined in sixth as the team aimed to make one fewer stop than the opposition. Vautier then suffered a bizarre spin as he entered the pits, dropping the Mustang Sampling car to the tail of DPi.

Pla pitted from the lead with 54 minutes remaining, allowing Taylor to take over at the front, who was well clear of Nasr (in for Derani) and van der Zande (who took over from Magnussen).

Taylor stopped for the final time with 43mins to go, rejoining 10s behind Pla.

All eyes were on the gap as Taylor chased down Pla, who dropped his pace substantially in the final 30 minutes – his task made harder by having to negotiate GTD traffic while doing so. Taylor rocketed past with 25mins remaining, sealing his victory.

Nasr and van der Zande battled for third, well clear of the Mazda of Oliver Jarvis (in for Tincknell) and Loic Duval (who took over from Vautier). Pla's bold fuel gamble bit him hard, as he lost second to Nasr and third to van der Zande in the final 10mins.

Van der Zande muscled his way past Nasr for second in the final moments, making contact several times as he forced his way ahead. That added to Wayne Taylor's joy, as the team's closest title rival lost valuable points.

In LMP2, pole winner Ben Keating slipped back to third at the start, but soon regained the class lead in his PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA. His biggest scare came later in the opening stint, however, came when he sideswiped Frankie Montecalvo’s GTD Lexus while putting a lap on him.

Keating handed over to Mikkel Jensen with a sizable lead over the Dwight Merriman/Ryan Dalziel Era Motorsport ORECA. Dalziel appeared to be taken out in a bizarre last-lap incident on the final lap at the Corkscrew – that almost involved the overall winner too, and fell to last in class after a second spin at the final corner too.

#4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy

#4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Tandy escapes late drama to scoop GTLM win

The all-Corvette battle for GTLM honours was closely matched throughout, with the pole-winning Jordan Taylor/Antonio Garcia leading for the most part ahead of the Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy C8.R.

The pair ran side by side just after half distance as they negotiated traffic, but their final stops proved crucial. Although Tandy locked up as he exited the pits – briefly running across the gravel at Turn 1 at pit-out – he managed to wrest the lead away from Garcia when it mattered.

The only other class contender, Cooper MacNeil/Matt Campbell WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, was never in the hunt all day.

In GTD, Robby Foley’s Turner Motorsports BMW M6 got ahead of pole winner Trent Hindman (Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R) at the first corner. The opening stint of the race was wild, as Richard Heistand’s Audi got into the Lexus of Aaron Telitz, spinning him around, and Till Bechtolsheimer (Acura NSX) spun out Roman De Angelis in the second Aston.

After taking over from Foley, Auberlen extended the BMW’s lead out front, while an all-Porsche battle for second raged between Patrick Long (in for Hindman) and Laurens Vanthoor (sharing the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche with Zacharie Robichon).

Once Vanthoor cleared Long, he chased down Auberlen – who rejoined behind Long when he pitted for the final time. They made contact at the final corner before the BMW got back ahead.

While all this was going on, Vanthoor was now clear out front, running well ahead of the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan of Madison Snow/Bryan Sellers. Long regained third from Auberlen in the closing stages.

Cla Class Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 DPi United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura DPi 118    
2 DPi Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Cadillac DPi 118 14.875  
3 DPi Brazil Felipe Nasr
Brazil Pipo Derani
Cadillac DPi 118 15.392  
4 DPi United States Dane Cameron
France Olivier Pla
Acura DPi 118 25.529  
5 DPi United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Mazda DPi 118 28.503  
6 DPi France Tristan Vautier
France Loic Duval
Cadillac DPi 116 2 laps  
7 LMP2 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
ORECA LMP2 07 116 2 laps  
8 LMP2 Canada John Farano
France Gabriel Aubry
ORECA LMP2 07 115 3 laps  
9 LMP2 United States Thomas Steven
United States Tristan Nunez
ORECA LMP2 07 115 3 laps  
10 LMP2 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
ORECA LMP2 07 115 3 laps  
11 GTLM United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Corvette C8.R 112 6 laps  
12 GTLM Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R 111 7 laps  
13 GTLM United States Cooper MacNeil
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 111 7 laps  
14 GTD Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 GT3 R 107 11 laps  
15 GTD United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 107 11 laps  
16 GTD United States Trent Hindman
United States Patrick Long
Porsche 911 GT3 R 107 11 laps  
17 GTD United States Bill Auberlen
United States Robby Foley
BMW M6 GT3 107 11 laps  
18 GTD Canada Roman De Angelis
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 107 11 laps  
19 GTD United States Aaron Telitz
United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
Lexus RC F GT3 106 12 laps  
20 GTD United States Richard Heistand
United States Jeff Westphal
Audi R8 LMS GT3 106 12 laps  
21 GTD United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Porsche 911 GT3 R 106 12 laps  
22 GTD United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
Acura NSX GT3 106 12 laps  
23 GTD United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Zach Veach
Lexus RC F GT3 105 13 laps  
24 GTD United States Till Bechtolsheimer
United States Marc Miller
Acura NSX GT3 103 15 laps  
25 GTD United Kingdom Ian James
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 0    
26 GTD Germany Mario Farnbacher
United States Jacob Abel
Acura NSX GT3 0    
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Laguna Seca IMSA: Albuquerque sets pole position in WTR Acura
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