Tudor United SportsCar Championship, GTD Round 4 of 10, Detroit, Michigan
Porsche Earns Third-Consecutive TUDOR GTD Win of Season on Belle Isle
Detroit, Michigan, May 30, 2015. The No. 23 Team Seattle/The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America won its second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class race of the season today. The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic was the third consecutive win for the GTD bespoke 911 GT America in four races run this season. The victory on the temporary street circuit built on Detroit’s Belle Isle Park was the second of the season for the Alex Job Racing-prepared car and its driving combination of Ian James (Phoenix, Arizona) and Mario Farnbacher (Germany). The pair also won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
Porsche 911 GT America
Today may go down as a highlight for Alex Job Racing, the Tavares, Florida-based race team currently celebrating 26 years of preparing and racing Porsche racecars. Earlier in the day, the two-car effort announced they will continue in the TUDOR Championship in 2016 – the first to publicly declare its intentions to do so – and to return with Porsche for a 27th straight season. Both the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing and No. 23 Team Seattle programs have purchased the recently announced Porsche 911 GT3 R to compete with in the GTD class which will follow international GT3 class rules next year.
Like at the No. 23’s first win of the season – the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – strong driving was essential. However, it was on the back of the AJR pit crew where the difference was made. James pitted under green just before the race’s first caution flag. Ultra fast pit work and timing placed the blue-liveried 911 back onto the circuit in the class lead after the remainder of the field pitted under yellow. Despite changing weather conditions, Farnbacher, now behind the wheel, never relinquished the top spot crossing the finish line in the rain.
To add further to the positives of the AJR program’s day, the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) and Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) finished fourth. Like their teammate, the black on white racecar based on the seventh-generation Porsche 911 used intelligent performance behind the wheel and in pit lane to rise into the top-five.
The No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT America, winner of round three of the TUDOR Championship’s GTD class earlier this month in Monterey, California, returned this weekend again in contention for victory. Qualifying as the quickest Porsche, fourth in class, the Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) and Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Georgia) entry ran in the top-five most of the day to finish fifth.
Like the Alex Job machines, Magnus Racing made up a substantial amount of time during the race’s only planned pit stop when owner/driver John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Andy Lally (Dacula, Georgia) made their scheduled driver change. The No. 44 moved into the top-three, but sustained damage in an incident when the track went green following a caution period just past the halfway point. After a second stop to make repairs, the longtime driving pair finished seventh in class.
The No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America was classified in eighth-place at the checkered flag. A late race rainstorm soaked the front straight and entry into turn one. Veteran Jan Heylen (Belgium), having taken the second-stint of the race after Lehi, Utah’s Madison Snow took the green flag and the lead, made contact with the first turn wall of the 2.3-mile, 14-turn track with two-minutes remaining. He was evaluated and released from the infield car center following the incident.
Jens Walther, president/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America: “This is an excellent result for our most enduring customer, Alex Job Racing. At Porsche we are very pleased to see that, in the same day, we can announce that both WeatherTech and Team Seattle will return to Alex Job Racing in 2016 and to do so in the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. To then win and place a second car in the top-four, speaks well of the future.”
Alex Job, Principal, Alex Job Racing: “The strategy was correct, luck backed it up and it really worked for us. Once we got to the lead, Mario did a great job keeping it up at the front. This is a nice second win to go along with the podiums in four races, so a good first quarter of the year.”
Mario Farnbacher, No. 23 Team Seattle/ The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It was very slippery and it was a challenge to keep the car between the walls. The second to the last lap it was raining in the first and last sectors of the track. I was able to take it a little easy as we had a 10-second gap to second place. After the checkered flag I brushed the wall from aquaplaning. Detroit has been good to us. We had our first success here with a second place run last year. This is awesome for the team and for the championship.”
Ian James, No. 23 Team Seattle/ The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "This is a complete team with our race management, pit stops and the whole approach. Mario did a great last stint. We had a little bit of luck today, but we also created some of our own, so a great second win on the season.”
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will now go into its “Le Mans Break” – a down time in North American motorsports to allow teams wishing to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to do so. All classes of the series, including the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class where Porsche North America – the official factory team – and Team Falken Tire contend, will return for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in Watkins Glen, New York, on June 28.
GT Daytona Results
1. No. 23 Ian James (USA)/Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America – 57 laps
2. No. 007 Christina Nielsen (Denmark)/James Davison (Australia), Aston Martin V12 Vantage – 57 laps
3. No. 48 Christopher Haase (Germany)/von Moltke (USA), Audi R8 LMS – 57 laps
4. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (USA)/Leh Keen (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 57 laps
5. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (USA)/Spencer Pumpelly (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 57 laps
7. No. 44 John Potter (USA)/Andy Lally (USA) Porsche 911 GT America – 56 laps
8. No. 58 Jan Heylen (Belgium)/Madison Snow (USA), Porsche 911 GT America – 56 laps
President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club