Photo: Risi Competizione
The prototype classes got the weekend off, with the two GT classes – GT Le Mans and GT Daytona -- squaring off on their own. Seven different driver combinations were within 30 points of the top it GTLM, with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (#3 Corvette Racing C7.R) on top followed by the two SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-Rs.
Magnussen went off track in practice, colliding with the #911 Porsche North America 911 RSR piloted by Richard Lietz which had left the track in the same spot shortly before. Neither driver could participate in the race. Jordan Taylor replaced Magnussen. Michael Christensen will start the #912 Porsche and then finish in the #911.
GTD was even tighter, the top seven entrants separated by just 25 points. Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler led in the #555 AIM Autosport REVO Ferrari Italia 458, with Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil in the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 just 3 points back.
Pierre Kaffer (#62 Risi Competitzione Ferrari 458 Italia) started on pole and was dueling for first place during Lap 1 with Dominic Farnbacher in the #91 Viper when he left the track and fell back, leaving Farnbacher in the lead. Andy Priaulx (#54 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE) ran second. Jan Heylen (#58 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America) held the early lead in GTD.
With 2 hr 19 min to go (out of 2:45) the top two GTLM machines remained in place, with the #93 Viper piloted by Kuno Wittmer running third. As the race progressed Bryan Sellers (#17 Team Falken Porsche 911 RSR) moved to the front and retained the lead with 1:10 to go when he pitted and handed the car over to Wolf Henzler.
Henzler had to properly execute one of most racers’ least favorite dual tasks: conserve fuel to make it to the finish while retaining the lead. A caution with 12 min to go ensured he’d make it to the checkers, but it also closed the field and put Giancarlo Fisichella in the #62 Ferrari right on his tail.
The green flag flew with 6 min left and Fisichella immediately began to apply pressure. Henzler held him off until their final trip through Turn 11 (of 18), the first part of a tight double right-hander exiting onto the back straight, when Fisichella took the lead and held it to the finish line, claiming Risi’s second straight GTLM victory. Henzler was the second car across the line, followed by John Edwards in the #56 BMW.
Dane Cameron drove the #94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 to its fourth GTD victory of the season, finishing 1.42 sec ahead of Alessandro Balzan in the #63 Scuderia Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.