Monday
Jul112016

Reversing The Order, Whelen Engineering Corvette Conolidates Action Express Racing's Back-to-Back 1-2 Wins

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Eric Curran and Dane Cameron (No. 31 Action Express Racing Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP) captured their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season Sunday in the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, leading Action Express Racing to its second consecutive 1-2 finish. The pair led 66 of the 125 laps in the two-hour and 40-minute race, including the final 36 circuits. Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Action Express Racing Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, started by Christian Fittipaldi) passed Jordan Taylor (No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP, started by Ricky Taylor) for second place in traffic with five minutes remaining. Three minutes later, the third caution period of the race froze the field with Cameron leading his teammate by 17.067 seconds. Curran and Cameron trimmed the points lead of Fittipaldi and Barbosa to four, 220-116, with three races remaining for the Prototype class. The Taylor brothers finished third and are third in the standings with 211 points.

Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe (No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) delivered their third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class victory at the track formerly known as Mosport. A strategic call by the Chip Ganassi Racing team sealed the deal for the duo. After running most of the first half of the race in third or fourth place, the team put fresh Michelin tires on for the final time when they pitted under full-course caution an hour and 20 minutes into the two-hour and 40-minute race. The No. 67 Ford GT was sixth in class following that stop, but as the cars running ahead of them made their final pit stops for fuel and tires under green-flag conditions, Briscoe gradually worked his way to the class lead. Then, with approximately 50 minutes remaining in the race, the Ganassi team brought Briscoe on to pit road for a seven-second splash of fuel only and sent him back on course without losing the lead. That was the difference, as Briscoe maintained a 5-6-second gap to Tommy Milner (No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, started by Oliver Gavin) for the remaining distance and the win. “We were in tire and fuel conservation mode as soon as we left the pits, but needed some help,” Briscoe said. “When everyone else pitted we knew we had the opportunity to take a splash of fuel but not change tires. It was a brilliant call by the team. Tommy was a bit quicker, but I was just trying to hang on and bring it home.” Westbrook and Briscoe now trail Milner and Gavin in the GTLM class standings by five points, 192-187. Gavin and Milner finished second, while their teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) finished third. Garcia started the race from the pole and led throughout his 42-minute opening stint, while Magnussen also led for more than 50 minutes.

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Tuesday
Jul052016

Action Express Racing Goes 1-2 at the WeatherTech Sportscar Sahlen 6 Hours at the Glen!

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Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Action Express Raciing Mustang Sampling/Cider Tree Corvette DP) won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen to take their first victory of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The drivers now have the lead in both the WeatherTech Championship and Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup standings after their victory. Barbosa finished 0.709 seconds ahead of Action Express Racing teammate Dane Cameron (No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP, co-driven by Eric Curran) at the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International circuit. “It was probably one of the fastest-paced races that I’ve done in a while,” Barbosa said. “They did an amazing job with the repaved surface. We were able to keep up the pace for a long time. We did a few changes after qualifying and we really hit it. The team has been working really hard to get a win for the No. 5 car, and we did it in great style. It was a great race, very hard.” The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Curb Records/AERO Ligier JS P2 driven by Olivier Pla, John Pew and Ozz Negri finished third, 1.048 seconds behind.

Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe (No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) finished ahead of teammates Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller (No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) to make it a 1-2 for Ford in the GTLM class at The Glen. The GTLM class battle was between Ford and BMW, as both Porsche and Corvette Racing were relegated to being also-rans due to the BoP numbers. (IMSA didn’t change its BoP specs after Le Mans. Now that it has hard data from The Glen, action is expected to be taken to make the Corvettes and Porsche more competitive.) The win moved the No. 67 teammates to within eight points, 159-151, of GTLM championship co-leaders Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, (No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R). Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner (No. 25 Rahal Letterman Lanigan IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM) finished third. (Ford announced at The Glen that its factory-supported Ford GT GTLM/GTE PRO racing program will run for a minimum of three more years in both IMSA and FIA WEC competition, through the 2019 season. “We wanted to make sure everyone knows that we are committed to sports car racing globally with WEC and IMSA,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and chief technical officer. “The stated goal of our Ford GT program was to win Le Mans, and we’re very proud that we were able to do that in our first year. To commit to a full, four-year assault on both the IMSA and WEC championships shows how serious we are about taking Ford GT racing around the world. We are in motorsport to win races and championships, but just as importantly we are using it to develop our engineering expertise and help develop advancements for production vehicles like EcoBoost engines, advanced aerodynamics and lightweight materials that consumers can use in Ford production vehicles going forward.” The first-year program currently consists of two Ford GT race cars in IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship competition, and two Ford GT race cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship.)

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Sunday
Jun052016

Motor City Mayhem!

VIEW GALLERYJordan and Ricky Taylor (No. 10 WTR Konica Minolta Corvette DP) won Saturday’s 2016 Chevrolet Sports Classic Presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers on Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

It was the second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory at the circuit for the Taylor brothers. Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP) finished second, 1.740 seconds behind. Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez (No. 55 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda Prototype) finished third, giving Mazda Motorsports its first podium finish in IMSA WeatherTech Championship competition.

Renger van der Zande (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09, started by Alex Popow) pressured Colin Braun (No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09, started by Jon Bennett) into making a rare mistake with less than five minutes remaining to win in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class at Detroit for the second consecutive year.

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen (No. 33 ViperExchange.com/Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R) won the GTD class in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey (No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911) finished second and Alessandro Balzan/Christina Nielsen (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3) finished third.