Road America IMSA: Braun/Bennett win after brave fuel gamble

Colin Braun and Jon Bennett scored a remarkable victory the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship on fuel strategy at Road America in their CORE autosport Oreca LMP2.

Road America IMSA: Braun/Bennett win after brave fuel gamble

Braun and Bennett won a caution-riddled event, having gambled that they could make it on fuel to the finish after their final pitstop.

They beat the #99 JDC-Miller Oreca of Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg, both cars running dry on their in-lap after pushing their fuel mileage to the limit.

Felipe Nasr/Eric Curran had looked set for victory, but Nasr was agonisingly 0.008s behind Simpson at the finish, and only 2.389s short of the win.

Others to gamble on fuel were Jordan Taylor/Renger van der Zande (WTR Cadillac) and Harry Tincknell/Jonathan Bomarito (Mazda), but they were both forced to abort for splash-n-gos in the final five minutes.

Taylor finished fourth, ahead of Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya (Penske Acura) and Pipo Derani/Johannes van Overbeek (ESM Nissan).

Poleman Robert Alon (JDC-Miller Oreca LMP2) led Ricky Taylor at the start, while van der Zande and Montoya collided twice over the opening lap, with the Mazdas of Oliver Jarvis and Tincknell demoting the delayed Montoya.

Gustavo Yacaman spun his #52 Ligier LMP2 into the gravel trap at the end of the opening lap, causing the race’s first full-course yellow. At the restart, Alon held off a run from Taylor, while Montoya was shuffled further back to ninth.

A second full-course yellow was caused when Francesco Piovanetti spun his GTD Ferrari into the wall exiting The Kink. Having pitted just before that yellow flew, Nasr took control at the front in the #31 AXR Cadillac, ahead of Braun, who’d done likewise to take over from gentleman racer Bennett.

Tristan Nunez held third in the #77 Mazda, ahead of Felipe Albuquerque in the #5 AXR Caddy, van der Zande and erstwhile leader Alon. The Penske Acuras were now eighth and ninth, but matters became even worse when Castroneves was tagged into a half spin at the restart in #7.

Alon was then penalised with a drive-thru for hitting pit equipment, dropping him to 12th, and then caused the third full-course yellow when he was punted off at Canada Corner by a GTD NSX.

After that restart, Albuquerque got past Braun for second. Braun then fell to seventh while taking a full fuel load during the next round of stops, with Jarvis’s Mazda up to third.

A final yellow, with just over 40mins to go when Sebastian Saavedra slammed into the wall and parked in pit entry, opened the door to the fuel gamblers.

Taylor, Bomarito, Braun and Simpson all attempted a gamble to the finish, but the yellow they needed never came.

Taylor pitted with five minutes left on the clock, with Bomarito in on the next lap, but Braun and Simpson committed and stayed out to score an unlikely 1-2. Nasr and Curran had to settle for extending their points lead in third.

#67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, GTLM - Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook

#67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, GTLM - Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook

Photo by: Jake Galstad / LAT Images

Ford outlasts BMW for GTLM win

Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe scored a hard-fought GT Le Mans victory in their Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, having survived a clash with a GTD Ferrari and Nick Tandy’s Porsche to grab the win in the closing moments.

As in the overall race, there was a huge fuel gamble taken by the #25 BMW of Connor di Phillippi/Alexander Sims, which short-filled at the penultimate yellow to jump ahead of the #67 Ford.

Westbrook’s battered Ford chased down di Phillippi, and passed him with just two minutes remaining. An out-of-gas di Phillippi wouldn’t even make it back to the pits, never mind the finish, which handed second to the #4 Chevrolet Corvette of Tommy Milner/Oliver Gavin, ahead of the sister Vette of Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen.

Porsche finished fourth and fifth, with Tandy having led after a fortuitously-timed first stop, only to be penalised for contact with Westbrook.

The erstwhile points-leading car of Dirk Muller/Joey Hand had looked favourites to win, but a right-rear suspension part had to be replaced. It finished seventh in class.

#58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, GTD - Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen

#58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, GTD - Patrick Long, Christina Nielsen

Photo by: Jake Galstad / LAT Images

Long and Nielsen win GTD

Patrick Long and Christiana Nielsen won GT Daytona in their Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, ahead of Bryan Sellars/Madison Snow’s Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan.

Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Pier Guidi finished third after a wild race in their Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488, which included numerous bouts of contact with rivals.

Race results:

Pos. Class Num Drivers Car Time/Gap
1 P 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
ORECA LMP2 2:40'44.562
2 P 99 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
South Africa Stephen Simpson
ORECA LMP2 2.389
3 P 31 United States Eric Curran
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Cadillac DPi 2.397
4 P 10 United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Cadillac DPi 10.573
5 P 6 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
United States Dane Cameron
Acura DPi 17.056
6 P 22 Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Johannes van Overbeek
Nissan DPi 21.512
7 P 5 Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Portugal Joao Barbosa
Cadillac DPi 23.862
8 P 55 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
United States Jonathan Bomarito
Mazda DPi 32.276
9 P 2 United States Scott Sharp
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Nissan DPi 33.229
10 P 7 Brazil Helio Castroneves
United States Ricky Taylor
Acura DPi 33.983
11 P 77 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Tristan Nunez
Mazda DPi 34.619
12 P 85 Switzerland Simon Trummer
United States Robert Alon
ORECA LMP2 1 Lap
13 GTLM 67 Australia Ryan Briscoe
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Ford GT 3 Laps
14 GTLM 4 United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Corvette C7.R 3 Laps
15 GTLM 3 Denmark Jan Magnussen
Spain Antonio Garcia
Corvette C7.R 3 Laps
16 GTLM 912 New Zealand Earl Bamber
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR 3 Laps
17 GTLM 911 United Kingdom Nick Tandy
France Patrick Pilet
Porsche 911 RSR 3 Laps
18 GTD 58 United States Patrick Long
Denmark Christina Nielsen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 3 Laps
19 GTD 48 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 3 Laps
20 GTD 63 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United States Cooper MacNeil
Ferrari 488 GT3 3 Laps
21 GTD 96 Finland Markus Palttala
United States Robby Foley
BMW M6 GT3 3 Laps
22 GTD 33 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
United States Ben Keating
Mercedes-AMG GT3 3 Laps
23 GTD 14 Canada Kyle Marcelli
Austria Dominik Baumann
Lexus RC F GT3 3 Laps
24 GTD 86 Portugal Alvaro Parente
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Acura NSX GT3 3 Laps
25 GTD 93 United States Justin Marks
United States Lawson Aschenbach
Acura NSX GT3 3 Laps
26 GTD 44 United States Andy Lally
United States John Potter
Audi R8 LMS GT3 4 Laps
27 GTLM 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
BMW M8 GTE 5 Laps
28 GTLM 66 United States Joey Hand
Germany Dirk Muller
Ford GT 6 Laps
29 GTD 51 Francesco Piovanetti
Ozz Negri
Ferrari 488 GT3 6 Laps
30 GTLM 24 United States John Edwards
Finland Jesse Krohn
BMW M8 GTE 17 Laps
31 P 52 Colombia Gustavo Yacaman
Colombia Sebastian Saavedra
Ligier LMP2 22 Laps
32 GTD 73 Germany Jörg Bergmeister
United States Patrick Lindsey
Porsche 911 GT3 R 30 Laps
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