Porsche dominates IMSA GTLM race at VIR; Bell, Sweedler score GTD win


DANVILLE, Va. – Porsche North America’s pair of Porsche 911 RSRs dominated the Oak Tree Grand Prix, Round 8 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, in a largely uneventful and caution-free two-hour and 40-minute GT class-only race at Virginia International Raceway.

The No. 911 car driven by polesitter Nick Tandy and teammate Patrick Pilet won their third straight reason, in the process vaulting Pilet into the GT Le Mans class championship lead.

Adding to the field day for the team was the sister No. 912 car of Joerg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber finishing second, with Bamber offering an impassioned defense against Pierre Kaffer in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia. Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella finished third, thus making the VIR podium identical to the one at Road America from two weeks ago.

As it was at Road America, the BMWs and Corvettes lacked competitiveness, for two primary reasons.

In GT Daytona, Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler picked up their first win of the season in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, and closed on championship leader Christina Nielsen in the process. Nielsen and Kuno Wittmer finished second in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for their third straight podium.

As for the winning Ferrari, Sweedler delivered a dynamic opening stint where he caught and passed polesitter Dion von Moltke in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS for the lead.

The Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing pair of Mario Farnbacher and Ian James completed the podium in the No. 23 Porsche 911 GT America.

After a stretch of five race weekends in the last nine weekends dating to Watkins Glen in late June, IMSA’s TUDOR Championship now has a month off before the series reconvenes at Circuit of the Americas in mid-September.