Earl Bamber captures Porsche Supercup title; Ammermuller, Perez win COTA Sunday races


AUSTIN – Michael Ammermuller has won the second Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race of the weekend at Circuit of the Americas, the lone two-race weekend in the series this year, following a titanic scrap with Phillip Eng.

Meanwhile Earl Bamber (pictured) has secured the Porsche Supercup season championship after finishing just behind Ammermuller in second. Eng made it back to third after a four-way battle in the final three laps shook up the race order.

Eng started fourth but made it to second by the end of the first lap; Bamber took a defensive line across the road from pole and Nicki Thiim, the Saturday winner who’d started third on Sunday, was spun exiting Turn 1.

Bamber led from Eng and Ammermuller (who started second) at the end of the first lap, but Eng made it through to the lead by the end of Lap 2. Bamber needed only to focus on the championship and not the race win considering he entered with a 14-point lead to Kuba Giermaziak (137-123).

Ammermuller made it through to second and from there hounded Eng the remainder of the race.

Eng lost the gap when he ran wide on Lap 10 exiting Turn 12, but Ammermuller was unable to seize the opportunity and take the win.

The drama was amplified on Lap 11 of the 14-lap, 30-minute race. Exiting Turn 11 and heading onto the backstraight, there was a four-wide scrap as Eng (No. 12), Ammermuller (4), Bamber (19) and a stealthily closing Ben Barker (15) all ran side-by-side down the straight.

Ammermuller emerged ahead after the action, and Bamber made it through to second with Barker to third and Eng to fourth. Eng made it back to third to secure the podium finish.

For Ammermuller, the former Red Bull protégé, it was his first race win of the season, coming by a margin of victory of 1.198 seconds to Bamber.

Bamber, who won twice this year at Spain and Belgium, has captured the championship by an unofficial margin of 23 points to Giermaziak. Giermaziak finished seventh, hanging on for dear life with a car that had right rear bumper damage.

In the preceding Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trofeo North America race, Ricardo Perez confirmed the win and the championship in an incident-marred 25-minute race.

Perez won from Scott Tucker, a name familiar to U.S. sports car aficionados from his Level 5 Motorsports operation, and Mark McKenzie. Tucker was making his first race weekend appearance since being part of the winning driver lineup in the Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January; McKenzie rounded off the weekend with a second podium after winning on Saturday. James Weiland won the CS class, ending seventh overall.

The race ended under yellow flag conditions following a massive shunt for driver Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 Ferrari of Long Island entry through the Esses. Imperato got out under his own power, but the accident with seven minutes remaining meant the end of the race.