The weather in New York state didn’t play ball at all over the weekend, what with the wind damaging one team’s canopy, and the rain, conditions on track were difficult. So much so that Oliver Gavin, recent winner of the LM GTE Pro class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, made two mistakes that put paid to hopes of a win with the #4 Corvette C7.R car that had led the field for part of the race.
The atrocious conditions caused several spins and nine safety car periods. The race even finished with the yellow flag on the full circuit. There was absolute carnage in the prototype class: Ricky Taylor, whose brother Jordan won in LM GTE Pro at Le Mans with Corvette, crashed into the tyre barrier and damaged the Corvette DP run by their team-owner father Wayne Taylor.
Only three prototypes managed a good race. Richard Westbrook, who has been on the Le Mans podium with Corvette Racing and Michael Valiante won the race in Visitflorida.com’s #90 Corvette DP. This was their second win of the season making them the first crew so far to clock up two wins. Meanwhile, Joey Hand and Scott Pruett, who took over the lead with 15 minutes to go had to be content with second place after a last minute pit stop. João Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, who won the 12 Hours of Sebring with Le Mans-born Sébastien Bourdais, complete the podium despite a penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Bad luck too in the first hour of the race for Michael Shank Racing’s #60 Ligier JS P2 involved in a collision with Bruno Junqueria’s #11 Formula Le Mans in the PC class. The other PC class entrants took advantage of the problems encountered by the more powerful P-class prototypes and the four Formula Le Mans finished in 4th to 7th place. LM P2 winner at Le Mans, Starworks Motorsports took first place in PC for the second time running.
However there was no two in a row for Corvette Racing in GTLM. They could not equal their magnificent win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which they managed despite the absence of the second car, eliminated in the practice session. The official Chevrolet team in fourth place missed out on the podium crowned by the #17 Porsche 911 from Team Falken driven by Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler, who didn’t get to drive at Le Mans as his Porsche’s engine gave up right at the beginning of the race. Team Falken remained on track while their rivals made a last pit stop under yellow flag.
Porsche ended up with a one-two at the Glen, with second place for the #912 Porsche 911 driven by Jörg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the German constructor. The second place was all the more satisfying given that the Kiwi driver’s progress had been hampered by the #25 BMW when Bill Auberlen went into a spin early in the race. Earl Bamber’s Le Mans teammate, Nick Tandy, came sixth in the class with Patrick Pilet.
Riley Motorsport’s GTD win with the #93 Viper is consolation for their retirement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is the second class victory of 2015 for Al Carter, Cameron Lawrence and Marc Goossens, season-opener winners in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Marco Seefried finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Patrick Dempsey and Patrick Long but this time round his teammates were Andy Lally and John Potter. In a repeat of Le Mans, Audi claimed third place overall, thanks to Christopher Haase, Dion von Moltke and Bryce Miller, who reinforce their position as leaders of the class in the championship.
The next rendezvous for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is 10-12 July in Bowmanville, Ontario at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, also known as Mosport.