Corvette Scores Fourth Straight Win; Auberlen Makes History
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor hold on for Corvette Racing’s fourth straight win…
Corvette Racing has scored its fourth consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class victory following late-race drama for Porsche in Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Bill Auberlen, meanwhile, became the winningest driver in IMSA history with a long-awaited victory in GT Daytona.
Antonio Garcia limped the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to the win in the two-hour and 40-minute GT-only contest despite a loose floor on his mid-engined machine.
Garcia took over the lead when the pole-sitting No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Nick Tandy was forced into the pits due to a left-rear tire issue with 18 minutes to go.
Co-driver Fred Makowkecki had rebounded from an early left-rear puncture to take over the lead thanks to a fuel-only stop during the race’s second full course caution.
A pit lane miscue with tightening the right-rear wheel saw Jordan Taylor lose time during the same round of stops but benefitted from misfortunes from both CORE autosport-run Porsches.
The No. 912 car of Earl Bamber battled a loose diffuser, caused by contact with the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi, relegating the defending GTLM champions to a fifth place class finish after multiple stops for repairs.
Tandy and Makowiecki ended up finishing third, despite the Englishman nearly getting around the No. 25 BMW of Bruno Spengler on the final lap.
Up front, it marked Garcia and Taylor’s third win in the last four races and has extended their championship lead.
The No. 4 Corvette of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, who had an off-course excursion with 1 hour and 32 minutes to go, came home fourth in a race that saw nearly every GTLM car hit trouble.
It included the No. 24 BMW, which lost nearly 20 laps in the opening hour due to a mechanical issue.
Auberlen Makes History With 61st IMSA Win
Turner Motorsport claimed top class honors in GT Daytona, with Auberlen and Robby Foley winning for the first time in nearly a year.
Foley led from the early stages of the race before handing over the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 to Auberlen with one hour to go.
While coming under attack from the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher, a mistake by the German under braking into Turn 1 initially dropped him to fourth.
Farnbacher managed to charge his way back to second, getting by the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Bryan Sellers on the final lap through traffic.
Auberlen, meanwhile, became the most successful driver in IMSA competition, with his 61st win.
It marked Turner’s first class win since Motul Petit Le Mans last year when Auberlen tied Scott Pruett with all-time wins at 60.
Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow completed the GTD podium in third, ahead of the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach, who was in the fight for second in the closing laps.
The No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz completed the top-five in class.
RESULTS: Michelin GT Challenge