BRASELTON, Ga. (AP) Nick Tandy teamed with Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche GT Le Mans class car to win the IMSA Petit Le Mans endurance race in an all-day downpour Sunday at Road Atlanta.
Tandy and Pilet became the first GT drivers to claim an overall victory since the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona. They won nearly four months after taking an overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans French endurance race in a Porsche prototype.
The IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season finale ended under caution more than two hours ahead of its scheduled 10-hour time limit because of a lack of visibility in rainy conditions as night began to fall. It also included a 1-hour, 5-minute red flag because of track conditions.
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Pilet and Tandy benefited from the wet conditions to take the overall lead five different times. Tandy took the lead for good with 27 minutes remaining in what turned out to be a 7-hour, 51-minute race. The victory gave Pilet the GT Le Mans season title.
”It means a lot,” Pilet said. ”It’s a lot of work, especially since I was with Porsche since 2008. It’s really a championship I love. It was a fight with Corvette and the BMWs, and all the manufacturers really pushed us. I’m so happy now, just trying to enjoy the moment, and looking backward to what we have achieved, it’s really amazing.”
John Edwards, Lucas Luhr and Jens Klingmann finished second in the No. 24 BMW, also a GT entry.
The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP team of Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais finished third overall and won the Prototype class. It was the second victory of the season for the trio after a victory in the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March and it gave Fittipaldi and Barbosa their second consecutive season class title.
”It was an awesome day for the whole team,” Fittipaldi said. ”The whole thing starts back at the workshop. In two years, this car has only missed one lap and that was under reasons not under our control. Myself, Joao and Seb just try to execute as much as we can with what they prepare for us. It’s all about teamwork in this racing. I can’t say how happy we are with two championships in a row.”
Scott Pruett, IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Joey Hand finished second in the Prototype class and fourth overall in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP, one spot ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP driven by Max Papis, Dane Cameron and Eric Curran.
The No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team of Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer won the Prototype Challenge class after winning earlier this season in the Rolex 24 and the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Prototype Challenge season championship went to Colin Braun and Jon Bennett for the second consecutive year in the No. 54 CORE autosport entry.
Patrick Lindsey, Spencer Pumpelly and Madison Snow combined to take the GT Daytona class victory in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche, while Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler took the class championship with a fourth-place finish in the No. 63 Ferrari. Bell and Sweedler beat Christina Nielsen – looking to become the first woman to win a major sports car endurance racing championship – by two points.