Porsche Penske Motorsport breaks through for first IMSA GTP win:Aston Martin team goes back-to-back in GTD PRO at Road America

#7: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr – checkered flag

Race Results

The battle for the season-long Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship played a supporting role at Road America’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend.

The two incoming points leaders in the GTP standings, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R and No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8, encountered trouble before the green flag even flew for Sunday’s 2-hour, 40-minute race. That was of little concern to Felipe Nasr and Matt Campbell, who drove Porsche Penske Motorsport’s No. 7 Porsche 963 to a commanding victory in front of the largest IMSA crowd at Road America since the sanctioning body’s debut race at the venue in 1979.

Campbell built a 10-second lead during his opening stint in the winning car, and Nasr managed the gap during his double-stint to cross the line 4.635 seconds ahead of the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 shared by Colin Braun and Tom Blomqvist.

The path to the first win of the season for the No. 7 Porsche, the 11th in IMSA competition for Campbell and the ninth for Nasr, was made easier when the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 31 Cadillac was forced to start from the back of the GTP field due to Alexander Sims’ crash in the morning warm-up, less than two hours before the race. Sims and Pipo Derani finished sixth Sunday, dropping to second in the standings.

“Obviously, we got a little bit lucky with the No. 31 having an incident in the warm-up,” said Campbell, who claimed his third career victory at Road America – the first in a prototype. “I had such an incredible lack of traffic at the beginning and that’s why the gap got as big as it was at times.

“We’ve been fast on quite a few occasions, but luck has never been on our side. Today we just executed perfectly and it’s nice to get a win on the board after a tough year.”

“I’m just happy everything finally came together this weekend,” added Nasr. “We came close several times this year; the speed was always there, but we had a couple reliability issues, a couple mistakes, and some bad luck. It’s a big relief for the whole team. I know how much work the No. 7 crew has put in, and it was about time, I would say.”

Blomqvist threw all he had into catching the No. 7 Porsche in the closing stages, getting within 1.7 seconds of the leader with eight minutes remaining. But Nasr had a smoother run through traffic in the final laps.

“It was difficult to pass, but the car was working really well, and I was happy that the gap came down,” Blomqvist said. “I chipped away, but obviously they had that gap and were kind of controlling things. Traffic always ebbs and flows, and I guess he got through a little better at the end. But it’s one thing getting close and passing is a completely different matter.”

Acura claimed two positions on the podium, as Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor drove the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 to third place and took over the GTP championship lead by 14 points over Derani and Sims.

There have been six different winners in the seven GTP races so far in 2023. The No. 60 Acura is the only two-time winner.

“We did the fastest lap of the race, which shows we had speed in the car,” Albuquerque said. “We were managing the situation with the championship, but we are happy with P3, though obviously we wanted more.

“Leading the championship is nice; but it means nothing,” he added. “There are still a lot of points to come, and we have seen how quickly things can change in one weekend.”

Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly (No. 25 BMW) dropped to third in the standings after a dismal day at Road America that saw De Phillippi run off track prior to the start, crash on Lap 2 and then make a brief appearance before retiring from the race having run four laps.

The WeatherTech Championship resumes August 25-27 at VIRginia International Raceway with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR featuring the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) and GTD classes. Prototypes rejoin the fray for the TireRack.com Battle On The Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sept 15-17.

#52: PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, ORECA LMP2 07, LMP2: Ben Keating, Paul-Loup Chatin

PR1 Mathiasen Dominates at Road America for First LMP2 Win of Season

Ben Keating is usually a Motul Pole Award contender anytime he qualifies a Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) car. But a rare off session Saturday left the 13-time polesitter fourth on the grid in the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 07 he shares with Paul-Loup Chatin, needing to charge forward in Sunday’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend race at Road America.
Mission accomplished.

Keating produced a storming first stint where he gained two spots by the second lap, took the lead by Lap 4 and placed the car in a strong position. With a lead of nearly half a minute before turning over the car to Chatin, Keating put the No. 52 car in excellent position to bring home a win.

Once Chatin took over past the halfway point of the 2-hour, 40-minute race, he was able to cruise with a 20-plus second lead the majority of the race. He took the checkered flag by 9.517 seconds to deliver his second and Keating’s 20th WeatherTech Championship victory.

Surprisingly, these wins are the first in IMSA for Chatin and Keating since the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona and 2022 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, respectively.

“I had a really good start, didn’t make mistakes, got up to the front,” said Keating. “Our car was better in the race than it was in qualifying. I think I did a lap close to my quali lap with a lot of fuel and on used tires. A great day for the championship.”

Chatin paid tribute to Keating’s efforts: “Ben did, as always, an incredible job. He gave me the car in the best position possible with a great strategy. I just had to finish the job at the end.”

The win was also hugely important in the LMP2 class championship battle. Entering the weekend, George Kurtz and Ben Hanley (No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR ORECA) led Steven Thomas and Mikkel Jensen (No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA) by three points and Keating and Chatin by six. Unofficially, the No. 52 pair of Keating and Chatin now lead the points.

TDS Racing managed to bank a double podium with its ORECA cars, with the No. 35 ORECA (Giedo van der Garde, John Falb) and No. 11 ORECA (Thomas and Jensen) in second and third. It marked a great recovery from a pair of incidents on Friday.

#74: Riley, Ligier JS P320, LMP3: Gar Robinson, Josh Burdon winner checkered flag

Burdon Super-Subs his Way to Riley’s Fourth Straight LMP3 Win

No Felipe Fraga? No problem.

Riley Motorsports called on its Michelin Endurance Cup third driver, Josh Burdon, to substitute for Fraga this weekend at Road America as he had a scheduling conflict.

But just as Fraga did in the previous three points-scoring Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) races this season with Gar Robinson, Burdon put the team’s No. 74 Ligier JS P320 on top of the box.

Sean Creech Motorsport dominated the race, with 18-year-old Nico Pino controlling the pace from the green flag in the No. 33 Ligier JS P320. Upon turning the car over to Joao Barbosa, it looked as though Creech was due to convert its second straight pole at Road America to an elusive victory. Yet for the second straight year, it slipped through their grasp.

After taking over from Robinson, thanks to what he called an efficient car, Burdon quietly and stealthily closed the margin. He went from 10-plus seconds behind earlier in the race to within three tenths of a second with just 36 minutes remaining.

The next lap, it nearly all came unglued. Burdon ran wide exiting the Carousel, but corralled his Ligier to get back on the road while only losing just over two seconds. He later said that was one of several he’d had all race.

Just 15 minutes later, he’d cleared Barbosa and immediately pulled out a gap of 1.805 seconds. He took the checkered flag by 11.785 seconds.

The victory is his third in WeatherTech Championship competition, and Robinson’s 12th.

“I’m extremely happy to deliver my job for the team and points,” said Burdon. “We felt quite confident with the setup we elected to run. We didn’t have the outright fastest car, but it was confidence inspiring. After my few lawnmower excursions, I’m quite happy to bring home a trophy!”

While a hard-luck runner-up, second for Barbosa and Pino equaled their best finish of the season which they also achieved at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Matt Bell and Orey Fidani finished third in the No. 13 AWA Duqueine D08, marking their fourth straight top-five result in as many different positions.

#23: Heart of Racing Team, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, GTD PRO: Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas

No. 23 Aston Martin Team Goes Back-to-Back in GTD PRO

After a season marked by struggles, the Heart of Racing Team has found its stride in the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class.

Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas combined for their second consecutive class victory with an impressive victory from the pole position Sunday in the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America.

It came two weeks after the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 won at Lime Rock Park, ending a run of six races without finishing better than fourth.

“We seem to have found something that’s working very well for us,” Gunn said. “But to be honest, throughout the whole season we’ve had a package that has been quick enough and competitive enough to be at the front, but it just hasn’t clicked. Now things are starting to work.”

Victory happened in part because of another team’s mistake. Gunn took the lead with 24 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race when Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD had to serve a drive-through penalty for exceeding the minimum refueling time on its final pit stop.

“We obviously benefited from the Corvette getting that penalty,” Riberas said. “Today it was definitely very hard to beat them on track. You’ve got to be there to capitalize on these opportunities.”

Prior to Lime Rock, the No. 23 Aston Martin had struggled with its best finish of fourth coming at Long Beach in April. But in recent weeks the program has come to life, with Motul Pole Awards and race wins in two events.

“I feel so proud for this team,” Riberas said. “Things are starting to click for our side. It just feels like everything is starting to feel a bit more natural. Everything is a little bit more enjoyable. The weekends are just fun.”

Riberas started from the No. 1 spot but surrendered the lead to Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette with the Aston’s first pit stop 38 minutes into the race. Gunn regained the lead from Daniel Juncadella and the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with 1 hour 10 minutes left.

Gunn and Garcia battled closely from there, with Garcia regaining the lead shortly before the penalty was issued. When Garcia pitted, Gunn had the No. 23 back in the lead.

The back and forth between Gunn and Garcia proved intense.

“We had a big fight for a few laps, which was very enjoyable,” Gunn said. “Lots of respect. Hopefully that’s not the last battle we have with those guys this year.”

A runner-up finish by Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat helped the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 maintain its lead in the class championship standings. Garcia and Taylor are second in points, while Juncadella and Jules Gounon are third in the No. 79 WeatherTech Mercedes.

The GT classes resume the season in three weeks with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway. USA’s live coverage of the race begins at 2 p.m. ET on Aug. 27.

#1: Paul Miller Racing, BMW M4 GT3, GTD: Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow

No. 1 Paul Miller BMW Team Gets Fourth Win of Season at Road America

The new pavement at Road America created challenges for some teams Sunday. Paul Miller Racing wasn’t among them.

Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers improved their lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) standings with their fourth victory of the season in the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3.

“We came out of the gate strong,” said Snow, who won the Motul Pole Award on Saturday and started Sunday’s race just as strong. “This repave was difficult for a lot of people. Fortunately, it seemed like it really suited the BMW well. It was strong out of the gate.”

Snow and Sellers weathered a stout challenge from the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO co-driven by Frederik Schandorff and Brendan Iribe, but Sellers was able to cross the line 2.261 seconds ahead of Schandorff for the 18th victory of Sellers’ career and 13th of Snow’s.

“The biggest challenge was certainly the racetrack,” Sellers said. “The evolution from practice to qualifying and the race was that everybody gained quite a bit of respect for the track and what needed to be done.”

Mikael Grenier co-drove the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a third-place finish with Mike Skeen.

Snow and Sellers, who won earlier this year at Sebring, Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, lead the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 co-driven by Marco Sorensen and Roman De Angelis in the GTD championship standings.

The key to the dominating performance by Snow and Sellers may have been taking it easy. By not trying to do too much on the track’s new surface, they were able to let the race come to them.

“After qualifying, we felt like we would probably be our own worst enemy should we ask too much or try too hard,” Sellers said. “I have to say in my career, it was one of the races I had to manage the most in terms of pace and comfort and being on-line.”

The WeatherTech Championship resumes August 25-27 at VIRginia International Raceway with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR featuring the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) and GTD classes. Prototypes rejoin the fray for the TireRack.com Battle On The Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sept 15-17.