Austin IMSA: Taylors dominate, Corvette wins decimated GTLM class

Jordan and Ricky Taylor dominated the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Circuit of the Americas in their WTR Cadillac, while the GTLM class hit the self-destruct button at the very first corner.

From the start, WTR’s Ricky Taylor led Johannes van Overbeek’s ESM Nissan and the Action Express-run Cadillacs of Eric Curran and Christian Fittipaldi. Taylor pulled away out front at the rate of one second per lap.

Van Overbeek was soon forced to pit for a new nose after he was driven into by the wayward GTD-class Mercedes of Kenny Habul, dropping the #22 ESM Nissan to 14th.

The #5 AXR Cadillac got past the #31 car by the time of the second full-course yellow, an hour into the race. They battled furiously over second, but had nothing for either Taylor – who could pull away as they chose.

"That was the best car I've ever had," said Ricky Taylor. "Being able to control the race like that was an amazing feeling."

The battle for second was settled when the #5 car of Barbosa needed pushing down the pitlane having run out of fuel.

That promoted Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel to third in the #2 ESM Nissan, although Dalziel had to work for it against the #85 JDC-Miller Oreca LMP2 of Misha Goikberg/Stephen Simpson.

Late drama struck the third-placed #2 Nissan when it caught fire with just 15 minutes to go, and after a few more laps of Dalziel nursing it, he pulled off in a huge cloud of smoke, which put the race under a final full-course yellow with just eight minutes remaining.

The Fittipaldi/Barbosa Cadillac also had to battle past Simpson in the closing laps, and was promoted to third in a Cadillac 1-2-3.

The Marc Goossens/Renger van der Zande Multimatic/Riley lost a likely fifth-place finish in the final 25 minutes with a power steering issue, which instead went to the delayed #22 ESM Nissan.

Drama-packed GTLM fight falls to Corvette

A chaotic first corner took out a number of leading lights in the GTLM class, as both Fords ganged up on the sole Ferrari, spinning it around on the exit of Turn 1. The rotating Risi Ferrari of the hapless Giancarlo Fisichella was collected by the #4 Corvette of Tommy Milner and the #912 Porsche of Wolf Henzler.

“All I saw was a red Ferrari sideways in front of me,” rued Milner. “I [hit] it going backwards across the track.”

With both Fords and the Ferrari out of the equation, that allowed BMW to hold an early 1-2 with its M6s, John Edwards leading Alexander Sims, with Patrick Pilet’s #911 Porsche next up.

Pilet passed Sims for second in class on lap 15, and grabbed the lead from Edwards just before the second full-course yellow.

The #24 BMW, with Martin Tomczyk in for Edwards, regained the lead in the pitstops, but the #25 sister car – now driven by Bill Auberlen – pulled away before the fuel hose was disengaged and received a penalty.

The frontrunning #911 Porsche of Dirk Werner (in for Pilet) was then assaulted by a GTD-class Lexus, spinning it around and losing 13s to the #24 BMW – but both Tomczyk and Werner were stung by a penalty for running through the red light at the end of pitlane.

This all played into the hands of Corvette, whose #3 car of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia took over a huge lead, with the #25 BMW promoted back to second with the #24 BMW in third and the #911 Porsche fourth.

Magnussen said: "Fantastic result, staying out of trouble. Really happy."

Bleekemolen stars in GTD

In GTD, the polesitting Alegra Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet/Daniel Morad led the #48 Lamborghini of Madison Snow/Bryan Sellers, but the car to watch as the race rolled towards its final hour was the #33 Mercedes of Ben Keating and the remarkable Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Bleekemolen outbraked Sellars and Morad in successive laps to grab the lead, and then gapped them by 3.5s on the next tour!

Alessandro Balzan drove a stout final stint in his Ferrari 488 to grab second from Sellars, and Tristan Vautier stole third by lunging past Sellars at Turn 1 on the final restart.

James French and Pato O’Ward dominated the three-car PC class.

Austin results

1 united_states  Jordan Taylor 
united_states  Ricky Taylor 
Cadillac DPi 73  
2 united_states  Dane Cameron 
united_states  Eric Curran 
Cadillac DPi 73  
3 brazil  Christian Fittipaldi 
portugal  Joao Barbosa 
Cadillac DPi 73  
4 canada  Mikhail Goikhberg 
south_africa  Stephen Simpson 
5 united_states  Ed Brown 
united_states  Johannes van Overbeek
Nissan DPi 72 1 lap 
6 united_states  James French 
united_states  Patricio O'Ward 
ORECA FLM09 72 1 lap 
7 denmark  Jan Magnussen 
spain  Antonio Garcia 
Corvette C7.R 71 2 laps 
8 united_states  Bill Auberlen 
united_kingdom  Alexander Sims 
BMW M6 GTLM 71 2 laps 
9 united_states  Nicholas Boulle 
united_kingdom  Stefan Wilson 
ORECA FLM09 71 2 laps 
10 united_states  John Edwards 
germany  Martin Tomczyk 
BMW M6 GTLM 71 2 laps 
11 france  Patrick Pilet 
germany  Dirk Werner 
Porsche 911 RSR 71 2 laps 
12 united_states  Joey Hand 
germany  Dirk Müller 
Ford GT 70 3 laps 
13 netherlands  Jeroen Bleekemolen 
united_states  Ben Keating 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 laps 
14 denmark  Christina Nielsen 
italy  Alessandro Balzan 
Ferrari 488 GT3 69 4 laps 
15 australia  Kenny Habul 
france  Tristan Vautier 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 laps 
16 united_states  Bryan Sellers 
united_states  Madison Snow 
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 69 4 laps 
17 united_states  Bret Curtis 
germany  Jens Klingmann 
BMW M6 GT3 69 4 laps 
18 united_states  Cooper MacNeil 
united_states  Gunnar Jeannette 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 laps 
19 canada  Daniel Morad 
france  Mathieu Jaminet 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 69 4 laps 
20 germany  Jörg Bergmeister 
united_states  Patrick Lindsey 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 69 4 laps 
21 united_states  Lawson Aschenbach 
united_states  Andrew Davis 
Audi R8 LMS GT3 69 4 laps 
22 united_states  Scott Pruett 
united_states  Sage Karam 
Lexus RCF GT3 69 4 laps 
23 united_states  Jeff Segal 
brazil  Oswaldo Negri Jr. 
Acura NSX GT3 69 4 laps 
24 united_states  Dan Knox 
united_states  Mike Skeen 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 laps 
25 united_kingdom  Jack Hawksworth 
united_states  Robert Alon 
Lexus RCF GT3 69 4 laps 
26 united_states  Jon Bennett 
united_states  Colin Braun 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 69 4 laps 
27 united_states  Andy Lally 
united_kingdom  Katherine Legge 
Acura NSX GT3 69 4 laps 
28 united_states  Scott Sharp 
united_kingdom  Ryan Dalziel 
Nissan DPi 68 5 laps 
29 united_states  Parker Chase 
united_states  Harry Gottsacker 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 68 5 laps 
30 belgium  Marc Goossens 
netherlands  Renger van der Zande 
Multimatic/Riley LMP2 63 10 laps 
31 australia  Ryan Briscoe 
united_kingdom  Richard Westbrook 
Ford GT 63 10 laps 
32 united_states  Don Yount 
united_states  Buddy Rice 
ORECA FLM09 52 21 laps 
33 united_states  Tom Long 
united_states  Joel Miller 
Mazda DPi 52 21 laps 
34 italy  Marco Bonanomi 
mexico  Jose Gutierrez 
Ligier LMP2 43 30 laps 
35 united_kingdom  Oliver Gavin 
united_states  Tommy Milner 
Corvette C7.R 41 32 laps 
36 united_states  Jonathan Bomarito 
united_states  Tristan Nunez 
Mazda DPi 27 46 laps 
37 united_states  Corey Lewis 
netherlands  Jeroen Mul 
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 22 51 laps 
38 belgium  Laurens Vanthoor 
germany  Wolf Henzler 
Porsche 911 RSR 10 63 laps 
39 italy  Giancarlo Fisichella 
finland  Toni Vilander 
Ferrari 488 GTE 1 72 laps 
Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IMSA
Event Austin
Track Circuit of the Americas
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Scott Sharp , Christian Fittipaldi , Eric Curran , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Stephen Simpson , Ricky Taylor
Article type Race report