Continental Tire Beyond the Podium explores the post-race news and notes from both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races from last weekend at Lime Rock Park.
***Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner gave Corvette Racing its historic 100th victory. Eighty-two of the wins were achieved in ALMS competition, nine in the WeatherTech Championship, one in Grand-Am and eight at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Pratt & Miller squad additionally boasts ten class victories in the Twelve Hours of Sebring and three at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including an overall win in 2001.
***An accident by the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen, who was hit by a Prototype Challenge car early in the race, saw her and co-driver Alessandro Balzan’s GTD championship lead nearly cut in half, after salvaging a 11th place class finish. The pairing now hold only 13-point lead over Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally and John Potter, who made a big points gain with their second class win of the season.
***The No. 23 The Heart of Racing/AJR Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher looked to capitalize on Scuderia Corsa’s misfortunes but hit trouble of its own, when Riberas and the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen collided while battling for second, resulting in steering damage to the Porsche and a 14th place result.
***Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow, who scored their third PC victory in the last four races, have increased their lead in the championship to 17 points over Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon, of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports.
***Porsche showed improved form with the 2015 WEC-spec Michelin medium tire compound but had an unlucky race, with both Porsche North America entries colliding with BMWs, ending the day for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. A fuel supply issue cost the No. 911 car valuable time en route to a 6th place class finish.
***Joerg Bergmeister’s streak of wins or podium at Lime Rock came to an end on Saturday with the German’s 10th place class finish in GTD in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Bergmeister had six wins in his last eight races at the track, and two second place finishes to his credit prior to the weekend.
***It was another nightmare race for CORE autosport, which recorded a DNF after multiple incidents, including a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infraction and suspension failure caused from contact with a GTD car, that ultimately resulted in the retirement. Colin Braun had scored pole but the team elected to start Jon Bennett again, resulting in the car starting from the rear of the PC field.
***The No. 7 Starworks Oreca FLM09 of Jose Gutierrez and Sean Rayhall finished seventh in class after an early strong showing by the Mexican driver. The third Starworks entry, which was upgraded and prepped in just four days, will return for the Road America and COTA rounds with Gutierrez and Gustavo Yacaman.
Continental Tire Challenge:
***The race went caution-free for the first time in Continental Tire Challenge history since the 2013 GS race at Lime Rock. “I’m shocked that we didn’t have a caution,” race winner Scott Maxwell said. “We had 18 different strategies coming into the race, and none of them called for an all-green race.”
***Mazda swept the ST class podium, in a dominant performance for the MX-5s that saw Freedom Autosport’s Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer take top honors. Late addition Terry Borcheller gave Alara Racing a runner-up finish, ahead of the sister No. 26 Freedom car in third.
***Spencer Pumpelly and Nick Galante’s ST championship lead has been reduce from 16 to 7 points, over winners McCumbee and McAleer, following the RS1 Racing pairing’s fourth place finish in class, as the best of the non-Mazdas.
***Four drivers: Pumpelly, Robin Liddell, Stephen Simpson and Corey Lewis, pulled double duty between the Continental Tire Challenge and WeatherTech Championship races on Saturday, with temperatures in excess of 90 degrees.
***Next up for both series is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America on Aug. 5-7.
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report