Eventual GTC winners Damien Faulkner and Ben Keating lead the long train of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup competitors as the TRG squad won their second race in a row.
Alton, Vir. A great fuel and tire strategy, along with mistake-free driving from Colin Braun (Ovalo, Tex.) and Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) propelled the GT-class CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a second-place finish in the American Le Mans Series' Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway today. In the GTC class, Damien Faulkner (Ireland) and Ben Keating (Port Lavaca, Texas) drove the TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry to its second consecutive class victory in the two-hour, 45-minute, multi-class race. Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) and Cooper MacNeil (Hindsdale, Ill.) used their second-place finish in GTC to build on the point lead for the Alex Job Racing-entered 911 GT3 Cup car.
The race will be televised tomorrow, Sunday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.
Coming from near the back of the field after a disappointing grid position, Braun started the CORE car and moved up as others in the class either made mistakes or lost time in the pits.
"We had planned a particular pace, and I kept on that pace without a mistake," said Braun. "Our alternate fuel and tire strategy put us in position to avoid a tire change when we came in for the last yellow, moving Patrick into first place with 35 minutes to go."
While hoping for his first ALMS victory of 2013, Long was pleased with the results.
"The CORE autosport Porsche was very consistent today but with the recent rule change, we just didn't have enough for the Ferrari down the straightaways. I held him off as long as I could, defending my position, but it was just a matter of time before he got by me. Keeping the Corvettes and BMWs at bay was a major accomplishment in itself." offered Long.
This matched the best finish for Porsche in GT this year. Earlier in the season, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Team Falken Tire Porsche finished in second position. At this event, the Falken Porsche, driven by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Ga.), ran as high as second, but faded to eight in GT at the checkered flag. Sellers said the team performance was good, but they just didn't have the horsepower in a car that is a fusion of 2010 and 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR models.
"It was a rough day for us," reflected Sellers. "The guys were fantastic. We made all the right strategy calls. Great pit stops. We gained positions every single time we came in. We went from fifth to second on the last stop and were in a good position to fight everyone off. We just didn't have the speed or the capability to do it today. We have a lot of work to do going forward to be able to compete with the rest of the cars."
The other GT Porsche entry, the Paul Miller Racing 911 GT3 RSR driven by Marco Holzer (Germany) and Bryce Miller (Summit, N.J.) was running in the top five late in the race when Holzer and GTC class NGT Porsche driver Eduardo Cisneros (Venezuela) came together at high speed and spun each other off the track. The Cisneros car bounced along the guard rail, flipping and then rolling up onto the tire wall. It eventually came to a rest on its wheels on top of the wall. The Paul Miller car spun hard, went off the track and struck the tire wall after the initial contact. Both cars were heavily damaged but the integrity of the Porsche chassis helped ensure neither Cisneros nor Holzer were seriously injured.
After he was cleared and released from the medical compound, Cisneros was thankful that the car took the impact in the right places to prevent any injuries.
"Our Porsche is a tank," said the relieved Venezuelan. "After what I just went through, I am lucky to get through this unscathed."
Holzer had equal praise for the car.
"We know that Porsche builds both race cars and street cars with maximum safety in mind, and I am glad no one was hurt," he said.
GTC - Two in a Row for TRG; Alex Job Racing Closes in on Season Title
Faulkner and Keating put together another great effort in their TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer taking their second straight GTC class win. In the close point championship battle, Bleekemolen and MacNeil earned a second-place finish in their Alex Job Racing Porsche and now have a 13-point lead over Henrique Cisneros (Miami), who finished third with Sean Edwards (Great Britain) in the #30 NGT Porsche.
Afterwards, Faulkner pointed out that, because he and Keating are not in the championship fight because of early-season problems, the pressure is on everyone else.
"We could be very aggressive, as they were the ones that had to worry. Ben had a great opening stint, and our crew got us in and out in first place at the driver change. After our adjustment that helped us get the pole, the TRG Porsche was fast for the rest of the weekend. I want to give special thanks to John Horton, who has engineered our car for the last four races. He has helped turn our season around, now with two wins in a row," said Faulkner.
The Porsches in ALMS GTC, GT and IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama will all compete at the final event of the season, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the week of October 16 - 19, in Braselton, Ga.
GT class finish
1. #62 Matteo Malucelli/Italy; Olivier Beretta/Monaco, Ferrari F458 Italia, 79 laps
2. #06 Patrick Long/ Playa del Rey, CA; Colin Braun/Ovalo, Texas; CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 79 laps
3. #3 Jan Magnussen/Denmark; Antonio Garcia/Spain; Corvette C6 ZR1 - 79 laps
4. #56 Dirk Müller/Germany; Joey Hand, Sacramento, Calif.; BMW Z4 GTE, 79 laps
5. #55 Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, CA; Maxime Martin/Belgium; BMW Z4 GTE, 79 laps
6. #4 Oliver Gavin /England; Tommy Milner/Leesburg, VA; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 - 79 laps
7. #91 Mark Goossens/Belgium; Dominik Farnbacher/Germany; SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R - 79 laps
8. #17 Wolf Henzler/Nürtingen, Germany; Bryan Sellers/Braselton, Ga.; Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 79 laps
9. #93 Jonathan Bomarito/Monterey, Calif.; Kuno Wittmer /Montreal; SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R - 77 laps
10. #23 Townsend Bell, San Luis Obispo, Calif./Bill Sweedler, Westport, Conn.; Ferrari F458 Italia - 67 laps
11. #48 Bryce Miller/Summit, NJ; Marco Holzer/Bobingen, Germany; Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 50 laps
GTC finish- all Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars
1. #66 Damien Faulkner/Mouille, Ireland; Ben Keating/Port Lavaca, Texas; TRG -
2. #22 Jeroen Bleekemolen/Monte Carlo; Cooper MacNeil/Hindsdale, Ill.; Alex Job Racing - 75 laps
3. #30 Sean Edwards/Monte Carlo, Monaco; Henrique Cisneros, Miami; NGT Motorsports - 75 laps
4. #11 Jan Heylen/Tampa, Fla., Mike Hedlund/Woodside, Calif.; JDX Racing - 75 laps
5. #44 Seth Neiman/San Francisco, Calif.; Dion von Moltke/Coral Gables, Fla.; Flying Lizard Motorsports - 75 laps
6. #27 Patrick Dempsey/Malibu, Calif,; Andy Lally, Atlanta; Dempsey Racing - 75 laps
7. #45 Nelson Canache Jr./Venezuela; Spencer Pumpelly/Atlanta, Ga..; Flying Lizard Motorsports - 73 laps
8. #31 Eduardo Cisneros/Miami, Fla., Jakub "Kuba" Giermaziak/Poland; NGT Motorsports - 47 laps
1. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Corvette, 125
2. Dirk Müller, BMW, 109
3. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet, 100
4. Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, SRT Viper, 93
5. Maxime Martin, BMW, 82
6. Bill Auberlen, BMW, 72
7. Jon Edwards, BMW, 62
8. Joanthan Bomarito, Kuno Whittmer, SRT Viper, 61
9. Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli, Ferrari, 56
10. Patrick Long, Porsche, 48
11. Marco Holzer, Bryce Miller, Porsche, 44
12. Tom Kimber-Smith, Porsche, 32
13. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 31
14. Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler, Porsche 31
Manufacturers Points - GT
2. BMW, 134
3. SRT Viper, 123
4. Ferrari, 109
5. Porsche, 95
Driver Points GTC
1. Jeroen Bleekemolen/Cooper MacNeil, Alex Job Racing, 131
2. Henrique Cisneros, NGT, 118 points
3. Spencer Pumpelly/Nelson Canache, Jr., Flying Lizard Motorsports, 115
4. Sean Edwards, 93
5. Jan Heylen/Mike Hedlund, JDX, 88
6. Patrick Dempsey, 87
7. Damien Faulkner/Ben Keating, TRG, 84
8. Andy Lally, 81
9. Dion von Moltke, Flying Lizard Motorsports, 67