The second-to-last IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race for 2016 is in the books, the Lone Star Le Mans, from a hot Circuit of The Americas for the last sprint race of the year of two hours, 40 minutes.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP was back on top for its third win of the year, Jordan Taylor surviving both the heat and a late spin with about 40 minutes to go to take the car’s first win since the streets of Detroit at Belle Isle Park back in June. Jordan Taylor shared the car with brother Ricky Taylor.
Per Ricky Taylor to IMSA Radio, the spin was down to a “little bobble with traction control,” but Jordan Taylor completed a “Danny Sullivan spin-and-win” for the victory.
This win ends the run of wins for Action Express Racing, which had won the last three races overall at Watkins Glen International, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America – all of which were 1-2 finishes.
Still, the pair of cars finished second and third with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering-backed entry of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran ahead of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling-backed entry of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
Unofficially, the No. 31 car went from one point down to one point up over the No. 5 car, and the No. 10 car has closed to within seven points, per IMSA Radio.
Other class winners included Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09, PC), Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki (No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, GTLM) and Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, GTD).
Contact between a couple of leading contenders in the championships, in both the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes, made for big story lines in the race.
Early on, just 13 minutes into the event, the pair of Action Express Racing Corvette DPs collided. Curran’s No. 31 Corvette collided with Fittipaldi’s No. 5 car. For that contact, the No. 31 car – which entered just one point down to the No. 5 – was assessed a drive-through penalty.
Meanwhile in GT Le Mans, the polesitting No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook reporting a broken steering arm from contact with their title rivals, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, and lost time and positions as a result. Unofficially, the No. 4 car finished fifth in class and the No. 67 car was ninth and last in class.
A late pass occurred in Prototype Challenge as van der Zande in the No. 8 car got by James French in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 for the lead and win. French, co-driving with Nick Boulle, was in a rare position to close the race with Kyle Marcelli on Pirelli World Challenge duty at Sonoma Raceway in a CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Tom Kimber-Smith got by French for second in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car, which kept the distance relatively close to the No. 8 car from a points standpoint.
There was also a dramatic finish in GTD behind the class-winning No. 96 Turner BMW. The No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R slowed on the final lap with a potential fuel shortage, which promoted the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow) and No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan) higher up on the podium.
More to follow.