LONG BEACH, Calif. – Up front, the Taylor brothers, Ricky and Jordan Taylor, dominated the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Behind them, drama for the GT Le Mans class win ruled the day as Porsche denied Corvette Racing its 100th GT win – with a controversial move from one of the two factory 911 RSRs.
A first lap pass from Ricky Taylor got the No. 10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP into the lead past polesitter Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
Then once Jordan Taylor took over, he defended brilliantly from Joao Barbosa and Dane Cameron the rest of the race in the two Action Express cars. Taylor extended the gap to 2.958 seconds to win the 100-minute race, completing 75 laps of the street circuit.
It was a fully deserved win for the team, the team’s first since Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year. The pair also won at Long Beach last year.
Behind the top three, the pair of Mazda Prototypes posted the best finishes yet in their history, fourth and fifth overall.
Meanwhile in GTLM, a late-race caution with just more than 20 minutes remaining helped bring the pair of Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs to within right behind the two Corvette Racing Corvette C7.Rs.
It was setting up to be a welcome comeback for both Porsches, which were assessed drive-through penalties for speeding during their first and only scheduled pit stops.
And then it went batty.
Antonio Garcia was running second in the No. 3 Corvette but spun coming out of Turn 4, and pancaked the left side of the car at both the left front and left rear suspension points. That took him out of the running.
Then, a broken right front wheel sent John Edwards’ hood of his No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM into the runoff at Turn 1. Edwards got out of the car OK and under his own power.
The Garcia spin promoted the Nos. 912 and 911 Porsches into second and third, but with just over five minutes to go, Fred Makowiecki made a substantially low percentage lunge attempt on leader Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette to spin him around at the hairpin.
Unsurprisingly, following the punt, Makowiecki was assessed a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.
Nick Tandy, in the No. 911 Porsche he shared with Patrick Pilet, snuck through to take the lead, and the win. Milner and Oliver Gavin, who combined with Marcel Fassler won the combined 36 hours of Florida at Daytona and Sebring, ended a cruel and hard luck second in class.
Risi Competizione finished third with Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella in the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE, thus earning that new car its first podium in North America.
PC was less dramatic with JDC/Miller Motorsports, which inherited the pole after PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Robert Alon caused a caution during qualifying and after the session didn’t meet its minimum 10 minutes of green flag run time, taking its second win of the year.
Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson shared the No. 85 Oreca FLM09. The two co-drove with Kenton Koch and Chris Miller to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona to open the season.
The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport car of Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow was second, ahead of the Performance Tech Motorsports entry of Kyle Marcelli and James French in third. Marcelli had a last lap accident that looked worse than it was, as he lost control exiting Turn 8, pancaked the wall, then spun into the wall while putting more power down to knock off the nose cone assembly.
When Colin Braun stopped on course to cause the yellow, it was IMSA’s first full-course caution in three years of racing on the streets of Long Beach.
For only 100 minutes of racing, it was a jam-packed race.