Photo: Starworks Motorsport
Starworks Motorsport (Ryan Dalziel, Alex Popow; BMW Riley) brought a 10-point GRAND-AM Rolex Series DP lead over Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing (Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney; Corvette DP) into Road America, the longest permanent road course in the US at 4 miles. Dane Cameron, however, put the Team Sahlen BMW Riley on the pole. The series standings in GT were even tighter with Magnus Racing (Andy Lally, John Potter; Porsche GT3) holding a 4-point lead over Stevenson Motorsports (John Edwards, Robin Liddell, Camaro GT.R).
Cameron led the race from the start, with Memo Rojas (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, BMW Riley) in second and Jordan Taylor (Wayne Taylor Racing, Corvette DP) in third. Leh Keen led GT (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari 458), with Patrick Lindsey (Park Place Racing, Porsche GT3) running second and Ken Wilden (R. Ferri and AIM Motorsport Racing, Ferrari 458) third 5 min into the 3-hr race.
Rojas spun at the 2hr 27 mark, moving Taylor into second and Gustavo Yacaman (Michael Shank Racing, Ford Riley) into P3. Justin Wilson took over from Yacaman during the first round of pit stops. Cameron pitted from the lead shortly thereafter, with Wayne Nonnamaker taking over. Max Angelelli got behind the wheel for Wayne Taylor on the stop cycle.
Leh Keen stayed in the GT-leading Ferrari, but Wilden also remained in car, with his pit crew making a quicker stop of it and getting him out in front of Keen. The Sahlen’s machine remained in the DP lead, Christian Fittipaldi (Action Express, Corvette DP) ran second, and Angelelli third with 1:54 to go. Fittipaldi was out of pit-sequence, having come in early to address a flat-spotted tire.
Fittipaldi stopped at 1:45, with Joao Barbosa taking the wheel. The stop moved Gurney into third behind Angelelli.
Bill Auberlen (Turner Motorsports, BMW M3) took second in GT, passing Keen on track inside 1:30 and taking the fight to Wilden for the lead, side-by-side, at 1:25. At the same time, Angelelli passed Nonnamaker for the DP lead.
Auberlen got past Wilden and then pitted from the lead at 1:19. Nonnamaker and Angelelli pitted in the same time frame, with Gurney assuming the DP lead ahead of Justin Wilson (who replaced Yacaman) and Barbosa. The two Ferraris moved into the GT lead on Auberlen’s stop.
A full-course caution came out at with 1:15 left as the series-leading Starworks machine stopped on track just past pit-out with a blown engine (the same new 4.5-liter BMW power plant that one Indy in its debut). Barbosa led Angelelli and Gurney in DP, with Auberlen in front of Patrick Long (Park Place) and Alessandro Balzan (AIM Motorsport) in GT. Barbosa, already out of sequence, pitted under the yellow, which returned Cameron to P3.
Auberlen pitted from the lead still under yellow, returning Balzan to the front, followed by Andy Lally (Magnus Racing, Porsche GT3) and Anthony Lazzaro (AIM Autosport Team FXDD).
Cameron took P2 from Gurney on the restart and by the 50-min. mark was pushing Angelelli for the lead, taking it just 1 min later. Lally passed Balzan at the some point in the race to take the GT lead. Cameron was pulling away with the lead when his engine failed with 42 min left, leaving an oil slick on track and bringing out a full-course caution.
Brendon Hartley (Starworks, BMW Riley) and Barbosa moved to first and second, having pitted shortly before the caution, followed by Brian Friselle (Action Express, Corvette DP), who was also off-schedule. Similarly, Long and Auberlen moved into P1 and P2 respectively in GT. Auberlen took the lead near 16:30, out-braking Long into Turn 5.
Hartley and Auberlen’s teams were both worried about the fuel their drivers had remaining when the white flag waved with 1 min 21 sec left. Both held on for the win. Angelelli took P2 in DP with Gurney finishing third. Long took second in GT ahead of Auberlen’s Turner teammate, Michael Marsal (BMW M3).