Earl Bamber held on to take GT Le Mans class honors in Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, in a hard-fought street fight.
The Kiwi, with a damaged No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, came out 4.473 seconds ahead of a smoking No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen, who limped home to finish second after last-lap contact with Dirk Mueller’s No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
Mueller, who benefited from a well-timed early race yellow, assumed the lead following the one-and-only round of pit stops after making a green flag stop.
The German, however, lost the spot to Bamber on Lap 37 when the pit speed limiter engaged on the Ford at the hairpin.
While Bamber stretched his class lead, he continued on with a broken diffuser, damaged by early-race contact with one of the Corvettes, although it didn’t appear to impact the Porsche’s performance.
Bamber shared top class honors with Laurens Vanthoor, who both take over the GTLM points lead.
Mueller looked set to finish second until he slowed on the final lap, leaving Magnussen nowhere to go and putting the Ford into the wall in dramatic fashion.
The No. 4 Corvette of Tommy Milner of Oliver Gavin, as a result, completed the class podium in third, with Mueller and super sub Sebastien Bourdais classified in fourth.
Patrick Pilet and class pole-sitter Nick Tandy completed the top-five in class in the sister No. 911 Porsche
RESULTS: Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix