It was championship-defining day in the GT ranks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as Magnus Racing scored its first Rolex Sports Car Series class win of the season and regained the points lead.
A gutsy call to stretch the fuel on the No. 44 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Andy Lally was rewarded with victory for he and co-driver John Potter. Lally, who led the final 26 laps, finished less than one-second ahead of the No. 93 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 of Billy Johnson and Michael Marsal, who scored a season-high second, while also gambling on fuel.
Two late-race yellows played into both cars’ advantages.
“The last yellow, I had my heart in my throat,” Lally said. “I knew we were going to be close. [Engineer Lars Giersing] played out a great strategy. We really didn’t have the pace on these guys. We went [with the] yellow map pretty much from the get-go. I had to drive a little wide and hold a couple of guys back when we were on that map. But we were able to go a few more laps than everybody else.
“When it got down to it at the end there, I was actually hoping it had stayed green. Lars wasn’t sure we were going to make it or not. But when the last yellow came, it was kind of a blessing but I also knew they would be coming for us. We had four manufacturers between the Corvette, the BMW, the Audi and the Ferrari coming. We were able to hold them off, get a good restart and bring it home.”
It not only marked Magnus’ first win of the year but also the first for Porsche in the production-based ranks. Lally and Potter now sit 8 points ahead of Scuderia Corsa’s Alessandro Balzan, who salvaged a 5th place result after getting hit by the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette of Eric Curran late in the running.
Curran and Boris Said completed the podium in third, while the No. 73 Magnus Racing Porsche of Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey came home fourth in class.
Mazda scored its eighth consecutive victory in GX, with the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda6 of Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long edging out the Spencer Pumpelly and Dr. Jim Norman-driven No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman by less than 5 seconds.
The No. 11 SDR Lotus Evora GX, making its series debut, completed the podium after early-race transmission problems for the pole-sitting No. 00 Visit Florida Racing Mazda, which came home in a distant fourth.