VisitFlorida.com Racing wins rain-soaked Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
VisitFlorida.com Racing broke through to become the first repeat winner in the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, following Sunday’s wet and wild Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
The No. 90 Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook took the checkered flag of the rain-soaked race under caution, following a series of late-race yellows and a red flag for numerous incidents, as well as track flooding.
Westbrook inherited the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining when the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Joey Hand pitted for a fuel-only stop, just moments prior to a crash by the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, which brought out the race-ending caution.
It marked back-to-back victories for Westbrook and co-driver Michael Valiante at Watkins Glen, which has seen the pairing take over the Prototype class championship lead.
Despite the late-race stop, Hand and Scott Pruett came home second, with the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi completing the overall and P class podium in third.
Barbosa briefly led in the final hour, following a heavy crash for the then-leading No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Ricky Taylor, who went off at Turn 10 and saw Hand spin his Riley-Ford in avoidance.
Taylor was one of three P class cars to not finish the race, with the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda dropping out after suspension issues with two hours to go and the DeltaWing encountering early-race gearbox woes.
The race also saw a 14-minute red flag period in the fifth hour for track flooding, following heavy rain.
The Prototype Challenge class saw Starworks Motorsport collect its second consecutive win, following a hard-fought battle for top honors in the closing stages.
Renger van der Zande held off a hard-charging No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Tom Kimber-Smith for the win.
The Dutchman exchanged the lead with the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports entry of Martin Plowman, which had led with all three of its drivers but faded in the wet final 30 minutes.
Plowman, Daniel Burkett and Matt McMurry came home third, behind PR1/Mathisen’s Kimber-Smith, Mike Guasch and Andrew Palmer, who have closed to within one point of CORE autosport in the title race.
Van der Zande shared the winning Starworks entry with Mike Hedlund and Alex Popow, who both collected their first class victories of the season.
The No. 54 CORE car of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and James Gue finished fourth after not contending all race, leaving the four-time and defending class champions still winless this season.
Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler took their Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR to its first win of the season in GT Le Mans.
The pair of drivers survived a chaotic race after starting seventh, avoiding any sort of issues, and then surviving one final scare on fuel in the final 10 minutes.
Henzler made it into the lead after the five-hour mark, when Oliver Gavin in the class-leading No. 4 Corvette C7.R reported understeer and broken steering, and stopped on driver’s right exiting Turn 1.
That took the Corvette out of the race, preventing the Gavin/Tommy Milner pairing from scoring another endurance race win after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago.
Meanwhile Henzler was due to hold off fellow Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber, or hope his car had enough fuel, before the final yellow occurred for two GT Daytona class cars off course in the final 10 minutes.
The win means Falken has won a race in either the American Le Mans Series or TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at least once in each of the last five years.
Bamber took the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR past Bill Auberlen in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE within the final 16 minutes for second.
GT Daytona was a race-long roller coaster ride between all 11 cars in class, but ultimately saw the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R score its second win in three Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races this year, having also won at Daytona.
Patron Endurance Cup points leaders Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence were joined by Marc Goossens in the ViperExchange.com entry.
The final caution that occurred with 10 minutes to go changed the complexion of the race in class.
Lawrence’s mid-race stint on slicks as the rain intensified helped put the No. 93 car into win position, and Goossens took over the lead from Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America just after the five-hour mark.
In the final 16 minutes of green flag running, Goossens led Farnbacher before Farnbacher ran off course at the toe of the boot in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
Farnbacher’s off course moment was the second incident in the final 10 minutes, and came after Wittmer crashed on the front straight.
The late-race drama promoted the No. 44 Magnus Porsche of Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried to second in class and the overall class points-leading No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS of Dion von Moltke, Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller to third.
Unofficially, the Werner/Auberlen and Magnussen/Garcia pairings are tied on 157 points apiece in GTLM, with a 12-point lead over the Risi Ferrari and second BMW lineups.
In GTD, von Moltke and Haase have a 10-point lead on Keen and MacNeil.