|July 7, 2019|
IMSA Wire Service
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – It doesn’t matter which side
of the border they’re on, there is no stopping Porsche right now in
the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The hottest manufacturer currently in the WeatherTech
Championship, Porsche scored a record fifth consecutive
GT Le Mans (GTLM) class win Sunday in the Mobil 1 SportsCar
Grand Prix presented by Acura with Earl Bamber and Laurens
Vanthoor co-driving the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911
RSR to the victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The five straight wins is a record in GTLM, besting a string of
four straight from Corvette Racing (2014) and Ford Chip
Ganassi Racing (2018). Porsche also won four consecutive
races in 2015.
It was the third win of the season for Bamber and Vanthoor,
following wins at the Long Beach street circuit in April and
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May. The team’s No. 911
Porsche 911 RSR and drivers Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet
won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by
Advance Auto Parts in March and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of
The Glen last weekend.
“Sometimes even to our frustration, until the manufacturer
championship is won, they don’t care if they win or we win,”
said Vanthoor of the Porsche team. “That’s the reality. That’s
the main goal for Porsche even though we’re race drivers, we
want to win ourselves. We want to beat each other to be even
more exciting during the season. We’re obviously fighting for
the same thing, but at the moment we work together and the
main thing is a Porsche wins.”
It was a two-car battle for much of the race between the No. 912
Porsche and No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Jesse Krohn
and John Edwards. Krohn started from the pole and led the race’s
opening 45 laps before losing the lead to Bamber on a series of
green flag pit stops. The only other car to lead a lap was the
third-place finishing No. 911 of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet
which led one lap on that same series of stops. The No. 912 led a
of class-high 69 laps.
Edwards had one shot at Bamber on a late-race restart with 15
minutes remaining but finished 1.208 seconds back in second in
his No. 24 BMW. The No. 911 Porsche finished third, 2.177 seconds
“We’re going to keep pushing, it’s a tight championship right now,
but I think we’re carrying some momentum,” said Bamber. “The
BMW set a super, super quick pace so hats off to them. They were
solid all day long. It was a really, really tough race. Hats off to the
team, it was mainly strategy and quick pit stops. I think it’s
something special to say Porsche making five in a row, that’s a
little bit of history there.”
With the win Bamber and Vanthoor vaulted to the top of the GTLM
standings, jumping their teammates to take a four-point lead,
186-182. Running third in points, but losing significant ground
following a seventh-place finish is the defending class champion
No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia and
Auberlen Closes to Within One of All-Time IMSA Win Record
Following Victory with Foley, Turner Motorsport BMW at CTMP
Bill Auberlen is one win closer to making IMSA history.
Entering this weekend’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented
by Acura at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the IMSA veteran had
58 IMSA victories to his name, two behind record-holder Scott Pruett.
Auberlen halved that gap on Sunday with a victory in the IMSA
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class
co-driving with Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport
BMW M6 GT3.
Foley qualified the car on pole and from the drop of the green flag,
the writing was on the wall that it was Turner’s day. He and Auberlen
would end up leading 107 of the race’s 113 laps and with both
essentially controlling the pace during their stints. Even after a
restart before the final 15 minutes of the race, Auberlen didn’t
experience any pressure and was able to glide to Turner’s first
victory since Watkins Glen last year.
“That was a big part of my focus for so long, that I think it sort of
took over my mind-frame on how to win races,” said Auberlen of
his win count. “Now we’ve put that aside. Will [Turner, team owner] said let’s go for the championship. Now that we switched gears, we’re
on a roll here. We should have, could have, would have, won a lot
of races this year. But we didn’t. The luck seems to be going our
way a little bit now.
“I’ll tell you what makes it a lot easier is when you have a teammate
who qualifies it on the pole and gives it to you with the lead. It’s so
easy. Robby is the up-and-coming guy that’s going to be somebody
to reckon with. He’s going to be taking somebody’s seat here soon.
He’s so good, so keep your eyes on Robby.”
While it was Auberlen’s 59th IMSA win, Sunday delivered Foley’s
first career victory in IMSA’s top-tier series. The pair are also now
in a three-way tie for third place in the championship standings
after Sunday’s win and a runner-up finish last week at the Sahlen’s
Six Hours of The Glen.
“It’s nice to start at the front,” said Foley. “It’s a good feeling because
you can kind of dictate what happens to an extent. You dictate the
pace. The Turner guys gave us an amazing car. They’ve been
flawless all year. It’s been tough to have a fast car at every track
and not have the results to show it. These guys deserve this today.
For me, my first win? Yeah, it’s been a while since I won a race, so
it feels nice. I’d been on a bit of a bad luck streak. To get number one
is good. Once the first one happens, they get rolling, so we’ll see.”
Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher collected their third
consecutive podium, finishing second, and expanded their
championship lead to 19 points, 151-132, over the No. 12 AIM
Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 duo of Frank Montecalvo and
Townsend Bell. Bell and Montecalvo finished third on Sunday to
round out the GTD podium.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship
is the first GT showdown of the season. The two hour, 40-minute
Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park will feature only the
GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GTD classes and is scheduled for the
weekend of July 18-20. The race goes green on Saturday, July 20
at 3:10 p.m. ET live on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com,
with the NBCSN broadcast scheduled for 10 p.m.