Third Straight GTLM Victory for Porsche

by Jake Kilshaw

Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet led every lap of the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, taking their third straight GT Le Mans victory in a row for Porsche North America.

At the line, they were 27 seconds clear of the sister 911 RSR, driven by Jorg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber. The #911 car’s lead was helped by a clean race with no yellow flags, allowing Tandy to get a large lead from the getaway.

Pilet now moves into the GTLM championship standings lead, with his team-mate a few points behind having missed some races earlier in the season due to European racing commitments.

A charge late in the race from Pierre Kaffer didn’t pay off, and he was unable to take second place from Porsche on the final lap. He and Giancarlo Fisichella therefore came home third for Risi Competizione, 0.575 seconds behind Bergmeister.

The BMWs of BMW Team RLL finished fourth and fifth, with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr adopting a three-stop strategy that left them to finish where they started. They led Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner by 15 seconds, the German driver having passed the Corvettes at the final stops to take fifth position, despite losing his car’s rear bumper.

Corvette Racing continued to have troubles. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished in sixth after a relatively lonely race, but the #4 car of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner dropped to eighth after a miscalculation required a last-minute ‘splash and dash’ fuel stop.

In between the two C7Rs was Team Falken Tire, the Porsche of Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler finishing a lap down on the leader.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Nick Tandy. “The last time I got to race for a win overall was at Le Mans. It feels something special to see the checkered flag drop on your car after a long grueling race. It might have looked easy at the end, and there at the end it might have been, but the first two stints were really tough.”

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