After a season of disappointment, Team Falken Tire broke through for its first American Le Mans Series victory of the year in the final race of the series.
An inspired final stint by Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy saw the 2010-spec No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR edge out a narrow 0.741 second win over the No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE of Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Bill Auberlen in second.
Tandy and full-season Falken drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler bounced back from a two-lap deficit early in the 1,000-mile/10-hour enduro after making a miscue on tire choice.
“We really started behind the eight-ball,” Sellers said. “But nobody gave up… We were all laughing before we started the race because we expected a little bit more rain. We were strong in the rain. Tandy said, ‘I don’t see how we can’t win.’ We all laughed a little bit. But it ended up being our day.”
A sixth place finish for the No. 3 Corvette Racing C6.R was enough for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia to take the GT drivers’ championship, one race after the factory squad wrapped up the teams’ and manufacturers’ titles.
The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli, Olivier Beretta and Robin Liddell completed the podium in third on Saturday.
GTC class honors went to the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Spencer Pumpelly, Nelson Canache and Madison Snow, with the California-based squad also wrapping up the teams’ championship.
Pumpelly edged out the No. 27 Dempsey Racing entry of Andy Lally by 5.839 seconds for the win. The No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche completed the podium in third.
A fourth place finish in class for Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil was enough for the Alex Job Racing duo to claim the drivers’ championship, despite a scare during its final stop when its Porsche initially failed to refire.
Bleekemolen was running second at the time.
A late-race full course caution for the No. 66 TRG Porsche of Damien Faulkner, who stopped on track while running second in class, set up a 10-lap shootout to the finish.