CJ Wilson Racing has broken through for its first overall Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win in Saturday’s rain-affected Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway.
Marc Miller took the No. 33 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport to a 3.973-second victory over the GS championship-leading No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Billy Johnson, in a race that was overshadowed by extreme weather.
Heavy rain, thunder and lightning resulted in a 52-minute red flag period, which turned the scope of the two-hour and 30-minute race upside down.
The race restarted with 46 minutes to go, in drying conditions, but with the majority of teams on Continental wet tires.
The changing conditions suited Miller’s Porsche, which started from second on the grid in the hands of co-driver Danny Burkett and led prior to the race’s only full-course caution and eventual red.
It marked Miller, Burkett and the team’s first GS class victory and Burkett’s first in the Continental Tire Challenge altogether.
A late-race battle between Johnson and Trent Hindman went in favor of the Multimatic pairing of Johnson and co-driver Scott Maxwell, who saw their three-race win streak end.
Hindman and co-driver Cameron Cassels completed the GS podium in third in their No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche.
The ST class saw a dominant run for the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si of Chad Gilsinger and Ryan Eversley, who also claimed their first class victory of the season.
Eversley edged out the No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman of Greg Liefooghe by 4.086 seconds for he and Gilsinger’s first class win since Road America 2015.
It came after an early race spin for Gilsinger, while in the class lead, during the sudden downpour, which handed the top spot to their sister, class pole-sitting No. 92 Honda, which finished sixth.
The 2nd place class result for Liefooghe and co-driver Ari Balogh was instated following a post-race audit of the scoring system, which found their car had lost a lap during the red flay period.
It therefore pushed the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche of Eric Foss to third and the No. 73 MINI JCW of Derek Jones and Mat Pombo off the podium to fourth in class.
Two other cars, the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and No. 38 Next Level European Porsche, were also added one-lap post race and moved up the finishing order.
Many teams were caught out just 15 minutes into the race when rain descended upon the 3.27-mile circuit, leading to a number of spins and off-course excursions.
Conditions worsened over the next 15 minutes to prompt a red flag, the first of the season.
RESULTS: Oak Tree Grand Prix