Dane Cameron and Eric Curran survived the late-race drama of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase to lead another 1-2 for Action Express Racing in their Corvette Daytona Prototype. The sister No. 5 car ran a strong race by the hands of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi after battling with the third place Jordan and Ricky Taylor duo.
The Prototype podium was LMP2-free after pit-stop strategy and race contact left the No. 55 Mazda Prototype fifth, just beating Michael Shank Racing’s Jon Pew and Ozz Negri.
The LMPC duo of Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith ran a strong race from the beginning to bring home a valuable class win for the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. Alon and Smith were chased by Colin Braun and Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE Autosport entry. The final step on the podium went to Kyle Marcelli and James French in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca, losing the lead earlier in the race.
The PR/Mathiasen win moves the team to the points lead as the previously leading team of Renger van der Zande failed to finish the race after a late race mechanical failure alongside the No. 85 car of Stephen Simpson. Five cars finished on the lead lap despite several incidents for the LMPC category throughout the race.
Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner and Olvier Gavin surprised with a late-race attack to capture another GTLM win for the marque. Richard Westbrook was able to hold onto second place after nursing a damaged Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT home. A long-awaited podium was celebrated by the No.100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTE of John Edwards and Lucas Luhr.
The Fords, Porsches, and Ferraris fought hard for the top spot throughout the race and were the class of the field. Though he started in pole position, Dirk Mueller’s machine found the grass outside the kink less than satisfactory as his Ford GT sustained front fascia damage. An early pit stop for repairs took the team out of contention and left the lead to Patrick Pilet’s Porsche 911 RSR.
Fast pit stops by the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing crew shifted the momentum to Westbrook’s Ford GT after the first pit sequence, but the real action culminated after the late-race caution caused by the No. 85 and 8 LMPC machines.
Pandemonium in the GTLM class broke out after the field took the green for the final time. Toni Vilander’s Ferrari 488 GTE was fast enough to catch Westbrook’s Ford, even to the point of pushing the Ford down the Morraine Sweep into Turn 5. Contact between the the prancing horse and blue oval pushed Westbrook into Tandy, causing the Porsche to spin and lose all hope of a podium.
Westbrook was able to get ahead as Vilander made contact with the No. 55 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez, but the Ford began to slow after Turn 3. A surprise charge by the No. 4 Corvette easily ate Westbrook’s lead, coming to the checkered flag for Corvette Racing’s 101st win.
Quick work by the pit crew helped Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keeting earn the second win of the season for their No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R in the GT Daytona class. Just behind the Viper, Patrick Lindsey and Jorg Burmeister repeated their best finish of the season in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen continued a strong championship run by finishing third in their No. 63 Ferrari F488 GT3 R.
They’ve proven it before, but the Riley Motorsports pit crew proved again they were a valuable part of the win for the No. 33 Viper. Bleekemolen lead every lap after the first pit cycle an hour into the race.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at Circuit of the Americas May 4 -6 for the Lone Star Le Mans, alongside the FIA World Endurance Championship.