Petit Le Mans IMSA: Mazda wins race, AXR Cadillac takes title

A tense final couple of hours saw Harry Tincknell claim Petit Le Mans victory for Mazda in the team’s final IMSA race, while Felipe Nasr held off a hard-charging Ricky Taylor to claim the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title for himself and Pipo Derani.

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Green flag stops around the 100min-to-go mark left the Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Juan Pablo Montoya barely leading ahead of Nasr in the Action Express Racing Cadillac, but the other Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, now with Taylor at the wheel, fell off the track on cold tires on his out lap, and dropped to fourth.

Then Nasr dived past Montoya at Turn 1 and edged away, with the MSR driver left to fend off the Mazda driven by Oliver Jarvis. Kamui Kobayashi ran fifth in the second AXR Cadillac, ahead of the JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac driven by Sebastien Bourdais.

The next round of stops saw Jarvis hand off to Tincknell who got held up by traffic on his out-lap and briefly dropped a whole lap behind the AXR leader, but when Meyer Shank Racing replaced Montoya with Helio Castroneves, Tincknell had the pace to ensure the MSR car came out behind him. Tincknell then pulled away from the four-time Indy 500 winner to try and hunt down Nasr.

With 54mins to go, Castroneves pitted off-sequence and it was a long stop that allowed Renger van der Zande in the Ganassi Cadillac into fifth. IMSA Radio reported that the #60 car’s floor was damaged, and the car was sent back to the paddock, where it joined another Prototype retirement, the JDC-Miller car which had retired half an hour earlier with a fractured exhaust manifold.

With 50mins to go, attention turned once more to the lead battle as Tincknell was all over the rear of Nasr’s Cadillac, and with 37mins to go they pitted together, 1sec apart.

The AXR team changed only Nasr’s rears, and he dropped it on his out lap, but was saved from losing track position to Tincknell because the Mazda had made its previous stop earlier so required more fuel. That also persuaded Multimatic to change all four tires on the RT24-P. Taylor was another driver who had a mild off exiting the pits, so the efforts of the WTR team getting him out ahead of the Mazda were nullified.

With half an hour to go, Nasr’s lead was 4.3sec, while Tincknell had six seconds in hand over Taylor who had a four second margin over Kobayashi.

Then with under 22mins to go, Tincknell closed on Nasr when the ex-F1 driver got held up by GT traffic in Turn 6 and then pounced up the inside at Turn 7 and boxed the Cadillac in behind another GT car. Tincknell didn’t immediately escape – suffering the same traffic issues – but eventually eased clear to claim victory for himself, Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito on Mazda's farewell.

Meanwhile, Nasr had to watch his mirrors for his title rival Taylor with 15mins to go. Whoever finished ahead would win the championship, and blue-and-black WTR Acura was only 1.5sec down.

It became a real nail-biter as the trio made their way through traffic, occasionally Nasr looking like he might be able to reclaim the lead. But he played it smart when traffic finally separated him from the lead Mazda with two laps to go and he focused on holding off Taylor.

Taylor made an impossible dive down the inside of the AXR Caddy at the Turn 10 chicane on the final lap but outbraked himself and went skipping over the sandtrap. As he rejoined the track, Nasr regained his runner-up spot and so sealed the title for himself and Derani.

Kobayashi brought home the second AXR Cadillac in fourth ahead of the lapped Ganassi car.

GTLM: Corvette trouble gives Porsche 1-2

A tough battle between Nick Tandy’s Corvette C8.R and the Porsche 911 RSRs of Kevin Estre and Mathieu Jaminet saw contact that sent Estre to the pits off-sequence for a checkover. That meant that when his rivals stopped, Estre was left with a 15sec lead, but Jaminet fell away from Tandy’s tail leaving Augusto Farfus’ BMW M8 as the ’Vette’s primary chaser.

However, following the final round of stops, Estre’s lead was down to 5.5sec, and Jaminet was up to third, ahead of Farfus. But Tandy dropped to 7.5sec behind Estre with 30mins to go.

As he was defending from Jaminet with 10mins to go, Tandy had contact with the leading Mazda, which broke the car’s right-front suspension and he had to limp to the pits and retire.

Thus WeatherTech Racing scored a surprise 1-2, but Estre eased off the gas to allow the full-time car, the #79 of Jaminet, Matt Campbell and Cooper MacNeil, to take the win.

GTD: Aston wins, Pfaff gets title

Ross Gunn’s Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 started the final couple of hours leading Laurens Vanthoor in the Pfaff Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, chased by Daniel Morad in the Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, Spencer Pumpelly’s Magnus with Archangel Motorsport Acura NSX GT3 and Zach Veach in the #12 Lexus RC F of Vasser Sullivan Racing.

Trent Hindman was pulled in slightly early, so Wright Motorsports could install Jan Heylen in the car. That wasn’t the golden bullet that could overcome the car that hadn’t handled right since its earlier troubles, and instead the class looked like a pure duel between Gunn and Vanthoor.

With a half hour to go, it was the Aston Martin ahead by a handsome margin of 15sec, with Vanthoor 40sec ahead of Veach who had 12sec in hand over Morad. Gunn held on to take the win in the car he shares with Ian James and Roman de Angelis, but second was good enough for Vanthoor and Pfaff teammate Zach Robichon to claim GTD title honors.

Lally had an off that dropped him to sixth behind Heylen, who was a lap down.

LMP2 and LMP3: Tower, Riley take class wins

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports looked as if it would win LMP2, with Mikkel Jensen putting in a brilliant couple of stints in the car he shares with Ben Keating and Scott Huffaker. But a post-race penalty allowed Tower Motorsport trio Gabriel Aubry, John Farano and James French to take the victory.

In LMP3, Felipe Fraga, together with Gar Robinson and Scott Andrews, ensured Riley Motorsports remained ahead of the Jr III Racing driven by Garett Grist, Spencer Pigot and Art Balogh.

Race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 DPi 55 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
United States Jonathan Bomarito
Mazda DPi 410  
2 DPi 31 Brazil Felipe Nasr
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Brazil Pipo Derani
Cadillac DPi 410 3.297
3 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Alexander Rossi
Acura DPi 410 3.702
4 DPi 48 United States Jimmie Johnson
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
France Simon Pagenaud
Cadillac DPi 410 30.681
5 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Denmark Kevin Magnussen
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Cadillac DPi 409 1 Lap
6 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
France Gabriel Aubry
United States James French
ORECA LMP2 07 407 3 Laps
7 LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
ORECA LMP2 07 407 3 Laps
8 LMP2 11 United States Thomas Steven
United States Tristan Nunez
United States Thomas Merrill
ORECA LMP2 07 406 4 Laps
9 LMP2 22 United States Jim McGuire
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
United Kingdom Guy Smith
ORECA LMP2 07 405 5 Laps
10 DPi 60 United States Dane Cameron
Brazil Helio Castroneves
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
Acura DPi 399 11 Laps
11 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Australia Scott Andrews
Ligier JS P320 391 19 Laps
12 LMP3 30 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
United States Spencer Pigot
Ligier JS P320 390 20 Laps
13 GTLM 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
France Mathieu Jaminet
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 390 20 Laps
14 GTLM 97 France Kevin Estre
Denmark Michael Christensen
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 390 20 Laps
15 GTLM 24 United States John Edwards
Finland Jesse Krohn
Brazil Augusto Farfus
BMW M8 GTE 389 21 Laps
16 LMP3 91 United States Jim Cox
United States Dylan Murry
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Ligier JS P320 387 23 Laps
  GTLM 4 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
Corvette C8.R 381 29 Laps
18 LMP3 40 Todd Archer
Canada James Vance
United States Max Hanratty
Duqueine D08 381 29 Laps
19 GTD 23 Canada Roman De Angelis
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
United Kingdom Ian James
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 378 32 Laps
20 GTD 9 Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Germany Lars Kern
Porsche 911 GT3 R 378 32 Laps
21 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Zach Veach
United States Robert Megennis
Lexus RC F GT3 377 33 Laps
22 GTD 28 Canada Daniel Morad
United States Michael de Quesada
Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 377 33 Laps
23 GTD 16 United States Trent Hindman
United States Patrick Long
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 376 34 Laps
24 GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Acura NSX GT3 376 34 Laps
25 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
United States Corey Lewis
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 365 45 Laps
26 GTD 88 United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United States Andrew Davis
Porsche 911 GT3 R 359 51 Laps
27 LMP3 7 Peru Rodrigo Pflucker
United States Mark Kvamme
Stefan Rzadzinski
Duqueine D08 356 54 Laps
  DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
France Loic Duval
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 341 69 Laps
29 LMP3 2 Germany Niklas Krütten
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Andrew Meyrick
Ligier JS P320 308 102 Laps
30 GTD 42 United States Don Yount
United States Jaden Conwright
Benja Hites
Audi R8 LMS GT3 286 124 Laps
  LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States George Kurtz
United States Colin Braun
Ligier JS P320 285 125 Laps
  GTLM 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
Austria Philipp Eng
Canada Bruno Spengler
BMW M8 GTE 281 129 Laps
  LMP3 83 United Kingdom Matthew Bell
United States Naveen Rao
Josh Skelton
Duqueine D08 244 166 Laps
  LMP3 38 Dan Goldburg
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Malthe Jakobsen
Ligier JS P320 208 202 Laps
  LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Josh Burdon
United States Oliver Askew
Ligier JS P320 153 257 Laps
  GTLM 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Corvette C8.R 150 260 Laps
  GTD 96 United States Bill Auberlen
United States Robby Foley
Australia Aidan Read
BMW M6 GT3 150 260 Laps
  GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Germany Maro Engel
Mercedes-AMG GT3 147 263 Laps
  GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
McLaren 720S GT3 146 264 Laps
  GTD 19 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
France Franck Perera
Italy Michele Beretta
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 146 264 Laps
  GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United States Guy Cosmo
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 146 264 Laps
  GTD 14 United States Aaron Telitz
United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United States Kyle Kirkwood
Lexus RC F GT3 146 264 Laps
  LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Kyle Tilley
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
ORECA LMP2 07 21 389 Laps
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