TUDOR Championship: Spirit of Daytona powers to victory at The Glen

The Spirit of Daytona team celebrate its victory at Watkins Glen.

Michael Levitt

A late-race restart was all that Richard Westbrook needed on Alex Brundle, as the Spirit of Daytona Racing driver broke through to claim victory in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

The No. 90 Corvette DP powered by Brundle’s OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan on the second-to-final restart with 12 minutes to go, which immediately went back to yellow following an accident by Scott Pruett and Renger van der Zande.

It set up a one lap shootout (with 8 seconds left on the clock) but Brundle’s P2 car wasn’t a match for the power of the DP, which dashed away at the restart again. Despite Brundle’s valiant effort, Westbrook edged out a 0.877 gap at the checkered flag.

The GM factory driver and Michael Valiante scored their first TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory and the first for the Troy Filis-led organization since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2012.

Brundle and co-drivers Ho-Pin Tung and Gustavo Yacaman, which all led at portions of the race in a breakout performance for the French squad, had to settle for second, largely due to the power deficit in P2-based cars.

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi completed the podium in third, with the sister No. 9 Action Express entry of Burt and Brian Frisselle and Jon Fogarty in fourth.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli rebounded for a top-five after a mid-race penalty due to Angelelli existing a closed pit. It put the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP one lap down and unable to challenge for the win.

Prototype Challenge class honors went to CORE autosport’s Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and James Gue, which continued their undefeated record in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The No. 54 Oreca FLM09 didn’t miss a beat throughout the race, which saw the trio finish an impressive sixth overall and only five laps behind the overall race-winning Spirit of Daytona entry.

It marked the Morgan Brady-led CORE squad’s fourth class victory in five races, including wins at Daytona and Sebring, while also extending Braun and Bennett’s lead in the PC championship standings.

The No. 88 BAR1 Motorsports entry of Doug Bieldefeld, David Cheng and Martin Plowman scored a surprise season-best second place result, in what turned into a race of attrition for the remainder of the class.

Plowman made up considerable ground in the closing stages following a mammoth 3.5-hour stint and benefitted from late-race accidents for Van der Zande’s No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry, which lost its brakes, and the No. 08 RSR Racing entry of Alex Tagliani, who collided with Tracy Krohn.

The No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports duo of Gunnar Jeannette and Frankie Montecalvo completed the podium in third after leading the race early until suffering a broken steering arm after contact with a GT car. 

Corvette Racing took over the GT Le Mans championship lead with its third consecutive class win. 

Antonio Garcia drove the No. 4 Corvette C7.R to victory following a dominant run for he and co-driver Jan Magnussen.

Garcia edged out the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R of Marc Goossens after the fourth and final full-course caution period of the race.

The No. 93 Viper of Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer completed the class podium in third following a late charge, and also benefitting from a late-race penalty for the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, which dropped it out of podium contention.

All four of the Viper drivers led the race at one point, in what marked a turnaround race for the Bill Riley-led factory squad, which is the only team to have podiumed in all three TP NAEC races to date. 

Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, however, came home in fourth, with the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz rounding out the top-five in class.

The class pole-sitting No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx had a miserable race after suffering three punctures as well as being handed a stop-and-hold plus 75-second penalty for contact with a PC car in the third hour.

The BMW Team RLL pairing came home 10th, losing the championship lead to Magnussen and Garcia as a result.

GT Daytona class honors went to Turner Motorsport’s Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala, which enjoyed an equally dominant run in their No. 94 BMW Z4 GT3.

Cameron, who took over the lead from the pole-sitting No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America on the opening lap, held control of the race for all but 14 minutes due to pit stops.

It marked the team’s second class win in the last three races.

The No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Townsend Bell came home second in class, extending their lead not only in the season-long title race but also the Patron Endurance Cup.

Magnus Racing’s John Potter, Andy Lally and Sebastian Asch finished third, displacing the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America, which had been fighting for podium contention.