LIVE: 2015 Petit Le Mans


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will decide the championship winners in all four classes of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship today, with the ten hour race at Road Atlanta closing what’s been a thrilling season of North American sportscar racing.

The Checkered Flag will be providing you with updates throughout the race, courtesy of Jake KilshawConnor Jackson and Adam Johnson.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:46

Hello and welcome to The Checkered Flag’s live coverage of 2015 Petit Le Mans!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:47

This is the eighteenth running of the 10 hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA. 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:51

Today’s race closes the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship season, and the championships in all four classes will be decided.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:52

Heading into this race, Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante lead Prototype, whilst Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are out front in Prototype Challenge.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:52

Patrick Pilet is the championship leader in GT Le Mans, and Christina Nielsen leads in GT Daytona by a single point.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:54

Read TCF’s qualifying report here: http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2015/10/richard-westbrook-secures-petit-le-mans-pole/

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:55

Richard Westbrook put his VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP on pole position.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:56

Despite John Pew’s crash during practice, Michael Shank Racing will be entering the race, having had their car repaired at the nearby Elan Motorsports shop. The car is continuing to run the special Justin Wilson tribute livery this weekend.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:56

Performance Tech Motorsports have failed to make it to the grid. Conor Daly crashed their PC car beyond repair during practice and so their weekend has ended sooner than expected.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201515:58

Whilst Porsche North America had put their two cars on pole and second position in GTLM, they will start from the back of the grid. For the #911 car, they failed the ride height test, whereas the #912 car which was on pole but crashed during qualifying didn’t go to post-session inspection.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:02

Championship leaders VisitFlorida.com Racing will start from overall pole position, whilst PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports will lead the PC field, thanks Tom Kimber-Smith’s impressive qualifying performance.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:03

Due to the penalties given to the Porsche teams, it will be the #4 Corvette beginning from GTLM pole, whilst Riley Motorsports’ #93 car begins out front in GTD.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:05

What makes this interesting is that the championship leaders in all but the top class all start from very far down the field, making their tasks even more difficult.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:06

The rain is pouring down in Georgia. This could make for interesting strategy calls.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:08

The third-placed #01 Chip Ganassi Racing DP has failed to show itself on the grid.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:09

Safety car lights are out. 10 hours of racing will begin soon!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:10

Joey Hand will start from pitlane in the #01 Chip Ganassi car.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:10

And we are green!!!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:11

Westbrook leads into turn one

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:11

VERY low visibility

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:11

Green flag for the GT start, Gavin leads

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:13

#11 RSR Racing now leading in PC.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:14

Alex Popow drove into pitlane but didn’t stop.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:14

A PC car is on the side of the track at T4, and a Ben Keating’s Viper is sent spinning by it, into the wall.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:14

FULL COURSE CAUTION after 3m34 of running.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:16

Class leaders:

P – Westbrook #90 

PC – Kimber-Smith #52

GTLM – Gavin #4

GTD – Lawrence #93

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:18

It was the #11 RSR Racing car of Chris Cumming that spun at the Esses, it enters the pits with heavy damage. 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:19

Keating’s #33 Viper didn’t fare too well, either. The rear end if very damaged and the bumper has been completely torn off.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:21

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:25

Your class top threes are: 

P – #90, #5, #31
PC – #52, #16, #85
GTLM – #4, #24, #62
GTD – #93, #22, #73
Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:26

It’s been a polarising first part of the race for Riley Motorsports. One car leads the GTD class, the other is in the pitlane with heavy damage.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:27

Green flag!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:27

Westbrook once again leads Fittipaldi

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:28

Gavin passes Nunez, as the GT cars move past the prototypes

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:29

There’s an outside chance that something other than a Prototype class car could win. The GTLM front-runners aren’t too far off the P pace.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:31

The #33 is back in the gravel, following its repair job.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201516:34

I’ll hand you over to Adam Johnson who will continue the live coverage for the next stint.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:35

Adam Johnson locking in here on TCF after a chaotic start to the Petit Le Mans 2015 – and we’re barely 30 minutes in! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:36

Oliver Gavin leads GTLM in the #4 Corvette, and isn’t far off overall P pace – but he hasn’t got time to think about a shock victory, as Lucas Luhr’s #24 BMW hounds the big yellow ‘Vette. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:38

The Porsche duo of Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy are on a tear – moving past Antonio Garcia and chasing down the top two in GTLM. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:39

Drama in GTLM – just as Luhr takes the lead from Gavin, the #912 Porsche has hit pit road with Bamber potentially rolling the strategy dice? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:39

No tires, just fuel for Bamber. We’ll see how that strategy goes – just 28 minutes in, a puzzling call? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:41

Tandy up to SECOND now in GTLM, and only Ricky Taylor in the P class Corvette DP is faster than him right now – across all the classes! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:42

Yes, you did read that right – Tandy was faster than EVERY other car on the track last lap bar the Prototype car of Taylor, including the top three overall! And he’s taken the GTLM lead in the blink of an eye! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:42

Give that kid Tandy a cookie at the end of his stint – he seems pretty tasty! Wonder what he could do in the LMP1 Porsche…? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:44

Bamber’s early pit stop has been explained – tape on the car was causing water temperature issues. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:46

Remember, Tandy’s co-driver Patrick Pilet is your GTLM point leader going into today by just 3 points – and with points given out also at halfway, Tandy is giving that car a huge boost towards the GTLM title! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:47

#70 Mazda P car of Tristan Nunez in and out of pit road – serious visibility issues, de-mister not working as planned. Seems to please Radio Le Mans pit reporter Shea Adam though, claiming that the Mazda ‘smells like french fries’ every time it leaves pit road. We’ll take your word for it…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:50

Correction – points are awarded at halfway for the North American Endurance Cup, which includes this race as well as the Rolex 24 Hours, 12 Hours of Sebring and Six Hours of the Glen. Points for the overall TUDOR United Sportscar Championship are only awarded at the conclusion of the race. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:51

Both Prototype Mazdas suffering bad visibility issues with mist on the windscreens. The DeltaWing also encountered issues with that, but their solution of a battery-powered hairdryer appears to be working so far. Very A-Team! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:54

Top 4 is Prototype cars, then the GTLM top 4 are 5th through 8th overall. Top running LMPC car is Tom Kimber-Smith way down in 12th place overall. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:56

Tandy’s mind-bending stint continues – he’s now FIFTEEN seconds clear in the GTLM lead, lapping in the 1:30s bracket, and is currently the fastest car on the track. Yes, faster even than ALL the Prototypes! Anyone have any idea what he had for breakfast? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201516:58

Remember, the Porsches are using a very specific style of Michelin wet tire, and it’s working well right now – Tandy still flying, and hunting down the P class #10 Chevrolet of Ricky Taylor for 4th overall! 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:00

In Prototype then, Richard Westbrook is leading strongly over title rival Christian Fittipaldi in Prototype class, with Dane Cameron third. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:04

#912 Porsche buried deep in the gravel! Hearing reports of a tire down…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:05

‘What do you want me to do?’ Bamber exasperatedly asks his crew. ‘Try and get out?’ is the rather dry reply from his team – you don’t say, guys, but that Porsche looks fairly well buried. Full Course Yellow. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:05

Dane Cameron in the #31 P car is in the pit lane for fuel only – but did they get in just before the FCY came out? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:06

Replays are conclusive – left-rear tire gone down on the Porsche is what sent it off at Turn 1. 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:07

Closer views show damage to the wheel itself on Bamber’s #912 car – the plot thickens. Contact from another car? 

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:09

We come to the end of the first hour under FCY – your class leaders after just under 1/10th distance in the 2015 Petit Le Mans: 

P – Westbrook
PC – Kimber-Smith
GTLM – Tandy
GTD – Lawrence

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:11
Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:12

Mass activity on pit lane – P and PC in first, GTLM and GTD in next lap.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:13

Bamber has done what his team so bluntly told him to – got out of the gravel, and made it back to the pits.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:14

The #912 team has done well to turn around that Porsche and get new Michelin rubber on it, but they don’t get out ahead of the safety car, meaning another lap lost. Ground to make up – anyone got a cloning machine to put a second Nick Tandy in there?

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:16

Three cars stayed out under these pitstops – Dane Cameron, Oz Negri, and Katherine Legge. All of those will stay out, get a wave-around to gain lost laps back, THEN pit in.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:18

Bamber has dropped 3 laps overall. Never mind guys, still got nine hours to go to make those laps back up!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:19

#63 Ferrari in GTD on pit lane, Jeff Seagal jumping back in after an opening stint by Bill Sweedler – after Seagal had already started the race then put Sweedler in early. Confused?

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:19

Green flag back out, let’s get back racing!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:20

Oliver Gavin has put the #4 Corvette back up into 2nd, past the #24 BMW now in the hands of John Edwards.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201517:21

Proof just how wet it is at Road Atlanta.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:21

Ricky Taylor in trouble – Joey Hand in the #01 Ganassi Ford DP passes him at the final turn, and Nick ‘Stingray*’ Tandy is hounding the black #10 Chevrolet now.

* – one for the Gerry Anderson fans in here!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:23

As that picture proves, it’s ‘English Bank Holiday’ wet out there at Road Atlanta – excellent driving all around from everyone to keep it clean, and Tandy’s performance so far is positively physics-bending!

Paul Hensby October 3, 201517:23

*not to be confused with Gary Anderson, the darts player of course ;)

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:24

Battle for 2nd in GTLM is an aggressive sandwich, with Corvettes in the bread role and BMWs as the filling. Gavin leads Edwards, Auberlen holding off Garcia.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:26

Auberlen and Edwards now lead Gavin and Garcia, as the BMW vs Corvette battle continues – all of this happening far behind Tandy though, which should be the BMW’s primary concern for the championship picture!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:27

A stop-and-hold penalty for the #912 Porsche – did Bamber walk under a ladder on his way to the garage this morning? Things going from bad to worse for those guys, in stark contrast to Tandy’s flying run.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:29

Nervous moments as the #54 LMPC car spins at the top of the esses, and remains parked on the race surface in a very dangerous area. Eventually Jon Bennett manages to get the car back going, and excellent evasive driving from the rest of the field to avoid the stricken PC car.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:31

More drama at turn 1 – Oliver Gavin’s Corvette is nosed in! Drama in GTLM, the yellow missile was running 4th in class.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:32

He’s in the grass as opposed to the gravel though, and Gavin is inching carefully out of grass.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:33

Nice job by Gavin to extract that car out of the grass, although a lack of yellow flags was a bit of a worry. Gavin ran wide into Turn 1 and slid off up the hill, whacking the tire barrier with the left-side of the car. All systems look okay on that car for now, and no need for an FCY.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:34

Also, in the P championship – Westbrook has regained the lead from Dane Cameron, after Cameron took the lead under the last FCY. Westbrook is your point leader going in to today, so this powerhouse drive so far is putting the #90 car one step closer to the 2015 P class title.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:35

#73 Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly leads GTD – just – over long-time leader in the early going Cameron Lawrence in the #93 Viper.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201517:36

Richard Westbrook has regained the lead in the P class.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:36

This is where wet conditions get VERY interesting. Drivers potentially looking for a dry line to emerge; looks optimistic for now, but as soon as a dry line emerges and teams feel like they can dive onto dry tires, it becomes a game of bluff. Who blinks first?

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:38

Replay of the lead change – Westbrook going 3-wide through the middle down the hill into Turn 10, and slices up the inside of Cameron. Awesome move!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:40

Two great championship drives so far from Westbrook and Tandy respectively – both helping their respective teams towards the titles in their classes. Goes without saying that the job isn’t even close to being done though…

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:42

Westbrook now has almost a 6 second gap as the #5 takes second place in the overall standings

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:42

Speaking of Tandy, the #911 has now moved up to 4th overall past Joey Hand’s P class car. Still managing to make such tough conditions look like a Sunday drive down a quiet B-road!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:43

Dramas for the Turner Motorsport GTD BMW – spun into the grass at Turn 5, but the yellow and blue machine rejoins safely in the hands of Michael Marsal.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201517:44

Time for a driver change of ourselves – Connor Jackson jumps in to the fray here on our TCF live blog!

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:45

Off goes #17 of Wolf Henzler runs wide as he grass tracks in the final sector

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:47

The #93 Dodge Viper GT3-R has taken the GTD lead, he’s still yet to pit

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:48

Meanwhile Nick Tandy continues to build his GTLM lead. He now has a 28 second lead over the #25 

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:54

As the rain continues to poor the drivers settle for a long race

Connor Jackson October 3, 201517:58

Change of position in the GTLM class, as the #17 Team Falken Tire takes fourth from Pierre Kaffer in the #62

Paul Hensby October 3, 201517:58

Nick Tandy is driving another strong race, and is up to third overall in the #911 Porsche.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:00

Drama as Christian Fittipaldi runs into the Gravel at turn 5. Full Course Yellow

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:02

He continued, but retook a position from one of the back markers. What will happen to #5 Corvette DP now

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:03

All of this has allowed Nicky Tandy in the #911 Porsche to take second overall

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:04

It turns out the Full Course Yellow was for track conditions as almost all the Prototype cars pit

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:06

The track dryers are on the circuit at turn 10a as the field pass

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:08

It’s now most of the GTLM cars in, as many drag race each other down the pit lane

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:10

As we approach the end of the second hour, the order has been turned on its head. Dane Cameron currently leads in the overall settings in the #31 Action Express Racing

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:13

8 Hours to Go: Leaders

P – #31 – Corvette DP

PC – #88 – Starworks Motorsport

GTLM – #911 – Porsche 911 RSR

GTD – #93 – Dodge Viper GT3-R

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:15

The #911 has kept the lead in GTLM, but the pitstops have meant they slip to sixth in the overall standings

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:17

Green Flag – We’re racing again

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:18

But on the restart, the #17 Falken Tire spins on the restart as the entire field are forced to go either side of him. He continues, but at the back.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:22

The #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing does the same as he spins on the main straight. The team tell him to reverse on the main straight, he eventually recovers as a Full Course Yellow is called.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:23

The pits are closed as the cars crawl round under the yellow.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:25

Under the Yellows, the Marshals have come out on track, sweeping the mud off the track

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:29

The race director has gone out to assess the state of the circuit. Looks like racing may be limited for a little while

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:31

There’s concern over a river at turn 4, with a trench being dug as to drain the water off

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:33

A pit stop from the #93 Riley Motorsport who’s leading GTD.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:34

That puts Townsend Bell in the #63 Scuderia Corsa into the GTD lead. That could have an affect on the championship

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:36

The #93 had issues selecting first gear. But could they be thinking an hour and a half into the future, as they look to extend their fuel stint

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:40

While the top four stay out. The other Prototype car of the #60 Michael Shank Racing decides to pit

Connor Jackson October 3, 201518:42

With 7 and a Half Hours left, it’s time to welcome back TCF’s TUDOR Championship expert – Jake Kilshaw

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:44

We’re a quarter of the way through the race, and it’s certainly been an exciting one so far!

Paul Hensby October 3, 201518:46

Dane Cameron remains in the lead as the FCY remains due to the conditions.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:46

Green flag!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:46

Cameron leads Taylor and Bourdais from the line.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:47

Rockenfeller spins the #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing car, hitting the wall on the restart and beaching his car in the grass.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:48

Remember – his co-drivers were leading the championship heading into this race. It goes without saying, this seriously damages their chances!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:48

Full Course Caution 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:48

He’s attempting to rejoin, only just missing Cameron’s #31 car, and then spinning in the grass again.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:49

Meanwhile, John Falb has crashed the #88 Starworks Motorsport PC entry as well.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:51

Falb is out of the car and OK

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:52

Correction: Rockenfeller didn’t hit the wall, just picked up a lot of grass.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:52

He’s got the car back underway, amusingly covered in grass.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:56

Starworks’ #88 car is on the truck and heading back to the paddock.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:56

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201518:58

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:03

Still under yellow, let’s remind ourselves of the top threes:

P – #31, #10, #5

PC – #52, #16, #85

GTLM – #24, #911, #17

GTD – #63, #48, #64

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:04

The #90 VisitFlorida.com is heading into the pits. No handling problems, just “junk” in the air vents etc.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:17

It’s confirmed – Jon Bennett and Colin Braun win the 2015 Prototype Challenge championship!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:17

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:17

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201519:21

I’ll hand you back over to Adam Johnson for the restart, which looks to be any minute now.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:21

Right, I’m back. Did I miss anything? Oh…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:22

Strap yourselves in folks and get the snacks in, a tough race just got a helluva lot tougher! Back to green after a lengthy yellow, and conditions so bad Jordan Taylor describes his race as ‘just surviving’.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:24

Sebastian Bourdais has moved the second AX Racing car up to 2nd, past the struggling JT. With the issues for the VisitFlorida.com #90 car, it looks to be between the AX cars for the 2015 P class title!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:25

GTLM leader John Edwards showing how difficult conditions are out there, sliding it rallycross style through the Esses – best have spare underpants in the ready teams!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:26

It’s a battle of pure bravery – Patrick Pilet in the #912 Porsche trying to take a swing at Edwards, but he nearly looses it too! Whoever finds grip where there is none will be your GTLM leader!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:28

Excellent pass from Pilet to retake GTLM class lead, channelling the spirit of Nigel Mansell at Donington 1998! Fantastic stuff!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:29

Good work for Porsche too over in GTD, with Robert Renauer completing a remarkable comeback to take the lead in that class – from 7th on the restart!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:34

We’re under FCY again, and it’s the #60 Ligier that’s gone in hard with John Pew at the wheel. Bits of bodywork everywhere – bodywork that let’s not forget got fixed and back into the race after a huge shunt in night practice. Just not their weekend at all!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:35

Good to see Pew out of the car and OK – the poor #60 Ligier doesn’t look good at all. Not been Michael Shank Racing’s year at all.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:37

Also got the #85 PC car around at Turn 10. You can’t appreciate just how difficult the conditions are out there, and the drivers are working so hard to keep this race going. Shame Pew and the #60 car, still in the awesome Justin Wilson tribute livery, doesn’t look like it will be going much further.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:38
Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:42

Lot of drivers and pundits on Twitter advocating a red flag of the race. Seems like IMSA are desperate to keep this thing going, and their hard work should be praised. Straw poll from the drivers in the cars right now would be interesting…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:45

Well here we go again – the green flag drops, and the drivers head out through hell and high water once again!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:45

Unsurprisingly, Dane Cameron jumps out to a big lead off the restart. He’s the only one who can see where he’s going!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:47

AX Racing still running 1-2, and the two other Prototypes near them contending are the Wayne Taylor Racing #10 Chevy and the Chip Ganassi Racing #01 Ford, the latter in the hands of Indycar champion Scott Dixon. A man who makes the most difficult of conditions look effortless – can Indycar’s Iceman carve a way to victory through the flood planes?

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:49

Corvettes on the comeback trail in GTLM, as Tommy Milner moves up into 3rd past John Edwards.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:49

Pitstops underway for the #25 BMW in GTLM also – Werner out, and Augusto Farfus behind the wheel now.

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:50

Meanwhile down in the super-close GTD battle, point-leading car #007 TRG Aston Martin in the hands of Kuno Wittmer is up to 5th place in class now. Remember, co-driver Christina Nielson is gunning for a slice of history…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:51

Edwards rotates at Turn 11 in the #24 BMW, gets it back going. Give that a 6.5…

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:53

Leading #31 Chevrolet in P class in and out of pit lane, Eric Curran now behind the wheel and Dane Cameron presumably having a well-earned snack and rest. Solid drive by Cameron – the championship is theirs for the taking, but in such conditions and with such a long way to go nothing is guaranteed!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:53

Their teammates in the #5 car now lead, with Bourdais putting in a rock-solid job. Don’t believe the F1 hype – despite his unlucky stint there, Bourdais remains a world-class talent, and is a man used to wrapping up titles that go down to the wire!

Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:54
Adam Johnson October 3, 201519:58

So as an enthralling race is not even close to half distance, time for me to step aside and let the Master of Ceremonies Jake Kilshaw back into the hot (or rather, wet) seat! 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:00

Yes, it’s certainly surprising we’re not even halfway through yet!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:00

But of course that’s a good thing – more racing can only be positive!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:01

So, we’ve got Sebastien Bourdais out front overall, leading Jordan Taylor by 1.4 seconds. Scott Dixon is in third, ahead of a bunch of GTLM cars.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:03

The laptime difference between the top P and GTLM runners is still barely a couple of seconds, so six of our nine runners on the lead lap are GTLM

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:03

Pilet is the most successful of the GTLM drivers at the moment, leading Milner’s Corvette.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:04

In PC, it’s Andrew Palmer, in the #52 car that leads, whilst Marc Goossens’ #93 Riley Motorsports Dodge still heads the GTD field.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:06

Complain about the rain all you want, but you’ve got to admit it’s keeping us on our toes! Predicting the result would be foolish.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:11

Pilet has pitted from GTLM lead, handing that position and 4th overall to Milner.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:12

Other cars heading into the pitlane, including Dixon and Henzler.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:13

Jordan Taylor and Bourdais are also pitting.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:14

The stop for the #10 Wayne Taylor car was long, but it’s back underway.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:15

GTLM leads the race after Prototype pitstops. The top three are Milner, Magnussen and Edwards.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:16

Taylor was passed by Curran in the pitstops. It’s an Action Express 1-2, but only in Prototype, as GTLM cars lead.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:17

Yes, there have been four cautions so far, but remember – there were 13 last year!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:19

John Edwards is pitting from third overall in the #24 BMW. Jens Klingmann steps in to the car.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:20

Pilet has overtaken Bourdais on track!!!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:21

It might not be too rare to see a Corvette DP 1-2, but we’ve currently got a Corvette GTLM 1-2. Milner leads Magnussen by 1.2 seconds.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:22

Taylor (the Jordan variety) has overtaken Curran for fifth overall, and second in P. Bourdais leads the class.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:24

Billy Johnson takes a very wide line in the #97 GTD BMW. Looks to be as a result of contact with PC #85 of Goikhberg.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:27

#4 Corvette leads from absolute lead, swapping places with the sister #3

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:30

In the Corvette camp, Milner has been replaced by Gavin, and Magnussen by Garcia. 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:31

Leading now is Pilet’s #911 Porsche, whilst Bourdais has just passed Garcia on the pit exit, moving his P car into second.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:31

Gavin and Garcia sit third and fourth, whilst J Taylor is fifth.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:32

We can now say that the #911 car is leading laps on raw pace, not just due to pit stop cycles. We might see a GTLM winner tonight. You heard it here first!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:34

Drive through penalty for the #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing makes their race even more miserable still. The reason is cited as “leaving pit box with equipment”.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:35

Pilet has a lead of 20 seconds over Bourdais, but he lapped four seconds slower last time round.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201520:35

Talking of the #90

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:35

Joel Miller spins the #07 Mazda at turn one, but rejoins. Whilst trying to avoid him, Memo Rojas spins as well. 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:35

Full Course Caution whilst the DeltaWing recovers. 

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201520:37

Connor Jackson is on live blog duties now, whilst I get started on what will be a packed mid-race report.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201520:37

The reason for the latest caution…

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:38

The Full Course Yellow means that Bourdais has stopped catching Pilet in the #911, can he continue the momentum after the track is cleared 

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:39

Memo Rojas is now out of the DeltaWing, he seems to be uninjured

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:41

The #0 has now caused the seventh FCY this race.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:43

There’s intrigue arising as it seems the Prototypes will be called into the pits first. However; we still have a GTLM leading

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:44

Confusion throughout the field as to whether the GTLM or the Prototypes should be called in first. No  action for the moment

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:47

Some Prototypes are in, the leader; #5, stays out though

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:50

Many of the GTLM and GTD’s are now in, but like the Prototypes, the leaders stay out, including the leader #911 Porsche 911 RSR

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:52

We may be approaching the half way point, but we’ve still got 11 cars from 2 classes on the lead lap. This is long away from being over!

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:54

The rain is apparently easing up. However; it may be too early to count your chickens, the track is still soaked

Connor Jackson October 3, 201520:56

While the Yellow flag remains, we’ve got the trucks on track drying the circuit

Paul Hensby October 3, 201520:57

Drying the circuit is maybe pushing it a bit… making it less wet maybe… #ImpossibleToMakeItDryIfItsRaining ;)

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:03

Class Leaders:
P – #5 Action Express Racing

PC – #52 Mathiasen Motorsport

GTLM – #911 Porsche 911 RSR

GTD – #44 Magnus Racing

Paul Hensby October 3, 201521:03

Looks like they are trying to get the DeltaWing back out!

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:04

GREEN GREEN GREEN

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:05

Pilet in the #911 pulls away. He’s using the clear air to his advantage

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:07

Prototypes continuing to struggle as the GTLM’s charge through the order

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:08

Disaster for Christina Neilsen as she’s fallen from second to eighth in the GTD class over the course of one lap.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:10

It’s all change as the Prototypes are now coming into their own. Third place Jordan Taylor in the #10 is now 3 seconds quicker than the #911 leader

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:12

Neilson pits, she’s out of the car. Brandon Davies takes over in the #007 TRG-AMR

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:13

We have a new Leader; the #5 Corvette DP of Bourdais now in front

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:14

Jordan Taylor in the #10 follows him through, only 1.5 seconds down and running quicker. The battle is on!

Paul Hensby October 3, 201521:16

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:18

In GTD, Andy Lally in the #44 Magnus Racing, Porsche leads by a comfortable 14 seconds

Paul Hensby October 3, 201521:20

A weather warning of what’s coming from Wayne Taylor Racing…

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:22

In these conditions, the Prototypes are thriving as the battle for the lead is now a two horse race between the leading #5 and the #10

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:23

There’s a call from some for the race to be stopped now we’re at the half way point. The weathers improving… for now

Paul Hensby October 3, 201521:23

Marino Franchitti has said it well…

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201521:24

Missed the first half of the race? Where have you been? Catch up with our midway report here: http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2015/10/petit-le-mans-midway-gtlm-porsche-pilet-leads/

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:25

FULL COURSE YELLOW … for the eighth time

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:27

No incident, but the weather is variable. How long will they continue

Paul Hensby October 3, 201521:33

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:33

It could be tight in GTD’s as the championship contenders are equal on points

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:33

RED FLAG…. This may not be perminant

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:35

RED FLAG…. This may not be permanent

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:37

Cars are lining up in the pits… we’ll keep you posted, so stay right here!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201521:37

Remember, this is a red flag, not the chequered. Cars are returned to the pit lane, but under Parc Ferme conditions so teams are forbidden from working on them. The clock is still running, too. We’re just shy of 4h30 remaining.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:47

The track is quiet now. Trucks are trying to clear the water, but the oncoming storm is here. This may take some time…

Connor Jackson October 3, 201521:54

We’ve got the officials driving around the track. Maybe a sign … maybe …

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:06

A reminder of the Current Order:

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:06

Still under Red Flag Here

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:22

IMSA is beginning the track cleaning process, engines will start in 15 minutes.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:24

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:24

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:24

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:25

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:30

The peace has been broken as engines can be heard once again at Road Atlanta

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:31

Drivers sprinting to the cars as they rev themselves up for the second half of the race

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:37

After an Hour of Red Flag, we might get going soon, as the Marshals finish their trenches

Connor Jackson October 3, 201522:38

As the race gets going, we’ll hand back to Jake Kilshaw, who is also raring to go

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:39

It looks like the rain has calmed down a little bit as we go back under yellow with 3h30 remaining.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:40

The leaders (#5, #10) pit.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:40

They’re going for driver changes. Which might sound pointless, but the same driver has to start after the red flag as was in previously.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:41

Taylor gives up a position to Dixon on the pit exit.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:41

Andy Lally leads, in the #44 Magnus Racing car. Yes, that’s a GTD car out front!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:43

Nick Tandy is into the #911. He was lightning fast early in the race, so he’ll likely be able to keep up with his team-mate’s pace from before the red.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:45

Eric Curran will probably take the green flag as the leader, in the #31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. By this, he and Cameron would be leading the provisional championship.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:47

A reminder of the most surprising moment of the race so far, when Mike Rockenfeller ruined VisitFlorida.com Racing’s championship hopes.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:47

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:48

GREEN!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:48

Overall leaders are Curran, Gavin and Garcia.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:49

And now that’s changed to Curran, Barbosa and Angelelli.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:49

Guasch leads PC by a lap over Yount.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:50

Gavin, Garcia and Farfus are in the GTLM top three.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:50

And in GTD, it’s Lally, Pumpelly and Keen that lead.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:51

Tandy, even in traffic, put in a fantastic first lap time, and is up to third in GTLM, fourth overall.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:52

The #54 car is off the track, with Lazzaro behind the wheel. FULL COURSE CAUTION after barely four minutes of racing.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:52

That’s the team that won the PC championship earlier.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201522:56

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:57

As it runs, the #31 team of Curran and Cameron would win the Prototype standings with 309 points. VisitFlorida.com Racing would still get 306 points, tied with the #5 car.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201522:59

In GT Daytona, #63 Scuderia Corsa would win on 281, whilst Nielsen (#007 TRG-AMR) would be second on 279. Paul Miller Racing in third on 277.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201523:05

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:09

And in GTLM, Pilet is leading currently on 310 points for the #911. #25 BMW is on 305, whilst the #3 Corvette is on 302.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:12

Three hours of the race remaining, and we’re still under yellow.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:19

Lights out on the safety car – back to green this time round!

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:19

GREEN

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:20

Another strong start for Curran in the lead. Nick Tandy sits second, 2.2s behind.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:21

Barbosa is second in Prototype, but 15 seconds behind the leader and seventh overall.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:21

It’s fair to say that Tandy has driven an incredible race today.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:22

Kimber-Smith leads Popow in PC, whilst Lally is ahead of Pumpelly in GTD.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:23

#912 Porsche into the barriers at turn one, with Makowiecki behind the wheel.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:24

Curran is 8.8 seconds ahead of Tandy, and lapped 0.8s faster last time around.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:25

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:25

Looks like Makowiecki made it back onto the track, though.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:26

Nope, he’s gone into the pits instead. Earl Bamber takes over.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:27

Pumpelly has overtaken Lally for GTD lead.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:32

A long stop for the #3 Corvette, Magnussen back in the car as it finally exits pitlane.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:35

Tandy is moving closer and closer to Curran for the lead.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:35

Tandy has passed Curran for the OVERALL LEAD.

Paul Hensby October 3, 201523:37

I think we know who Ryan Dalziel is supporting today…

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:39

Tandy has now increased his lead almost ten seconds, with Curran’s lap times plummeting with the worsening conditions.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:40

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:41

Oliver Gavin on IMSA Radio: “The track is an accident waiting to happen. It’s lethal. I’m gobsmacked nobody’s had a titanic crash. Surely safety is more important. I’m more than perplexed by some of the decision taken here today.”

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:43

Rockenfeller pits the #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing car and hands it to Westbrook.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:44

Tandy could be in a case of winning both Le Mans and Petit Le Mans outright in the same year.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:45

Full tank of fuel for the #31. Curran swaps over, hands the 2nd placed car to Cameron.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201523:45

We’ve got a new leader in PC as the #52 Mathiasen Motorsport team takes the lead

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:45

FULL COURSE CAUTION

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:46

The FCY was for Bruno Junquiera in the #11 RSR Racing car, spinning and crashing.

Jake Kilshaw October 3, 201523:46

It’s over to Connor Jackson for the next shift…

Connor Jackson October 3, 201523:48

The field calms down once again as the #11 is tended to.

Connor Jackson October 3, 201523:50

As for the order, Tandy leads in the #911 as fellow GTLM racer, the #24 BMW Team RLL behind

Connor Jackson October 3, 201523:53

P – #5 Action Express Racing

PC – #52 Mathias Motorsport

GTLM – #911 Porsche RSR

GTD – #73 Park Place Motorsports

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:02

The audience are still out there as the cars gear up for the restart

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:02

THE CHEQUERED FLAG IS OUT. RACE ENDS

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:03

Nick Tandy takes the overall victory, even in a GTLM car.

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:04

The flag appeared to take everyone by surprise

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:07

The cars enter the pits as Tandy realises he’s just won the 2015 Petit Le Mans

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:12

Tandy and Pilet lead the celebrations in the pit lane

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:16

Tandy: “Clearly a lot of Rain helps us a lot”

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:17

Prototype

#05 – Action Express Racing

#01 – Chip Ganassi Racing

#31 – Action Express Racing

Prototype Challenge

#52 – Mathiasen Motorsport

#8 – Starworks Motorsport

#16 – BAR1 Motorsports

GTLM

#911 – Porsche 911 RSR

#24 – BMW Team RLL

#4 – Corvette Racing

GTD

#73 – Park Place Motorsport

#44 – Magnus Racing

#93 – Riley Motorsport

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:18

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:20

The Full Course Yellow and the multiple stoppages meant that 9 cars eventually finished on the lead lap.

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:28

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:28

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:28

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:28

Connor Jackson October 4, 201500:30

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:32

Read the race report here: http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2015/10/gtlm-porsche-wins-petit-le-mans/

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:32

Keep checking The Checkered Flag over the coming days, as we’ll have more coverage of what was a bizarre, surprising but exciting race.

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:33

Thank you very much for following our live coverage today!

Jake Kilshaw October 4, 201500:34

And thank you also to Connor Jackson, Adam Johnson and Paul Hensby for helping out with the coverage.