BMW Team RLL has secured a shock, late-race win at Circuit of The Americas with Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen in the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE.
The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR had been poised to win its fourth straight race in the GT Le Mans class, but both it and the No. 912 car needed pit stops for splashes of fuel with under five minutes remaining, while running first and second.
Porsche’s run of four consecutive victories had featured three from the factory Porsche North America team and one from Team Falken Tire, dating to Watkins Glen in June. BMW’s win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr was the last non-Porsche win in class.
Both Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy ran well in their stints. Pilet and Earl Bamber in the No. 912 car pitted early while Edwards, who started the No. 24 car, ran longer on the first stint before handing off to Luhr.
Two separate stops for tire changes, one for right side tires and another left, dropped that car back to seventh by the checkered flag.
Tandy took over the lead from Luhr just prior to the two-hour mark and looked set to continue his winning hot streak that had been the last three GTLM races, plus a race apiece in LMP1 and LMP2 in the FIA World Endurance Championship, before the final pit stop.
The stop promoted Werner and Auberlen to their second win of the year (Long Beach), with the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer able to rebound nicely from a last-place qualifying effort to end second.
The No. 911 Porsche of Tandy and Pilet finished third, ahead of the Falken Porsche and second factory Porsche. Both factory Corvette C7.Rs struggled, to end sixth and eighth.
Meanwhile the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R won in GT Daytona for the second straight year, with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating.
For Keating, it’s his third straight win at COTA after also winning in the American Le Mans Series in GTC in 2013.
Bleekemolen got past Mario Farnbacher, who ran the majority of the race in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America, on Lap 54 to emerge ahead after starting second.
It completed a comeback drive for the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R , which along with the polesitting No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS were assessed stop-and-hold plus 60 second penalties for improper pit exits on their first pit stop.
Farnbacher lost second late in the race to the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 of Markus Palttala, who charged from 10th on his final stint, then lost third to the Miller Audi of Christopher Haase on the final lap.
Haase and Dion von Moltke were third, with Farnbacher and Ian James fourth and the Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America of Spencer Pumpelly and Patrick Lindsey fifth.
The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia and No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 entries finished sixth and eighth after separate issues.
Townsend Bell, who shared with Bill Sweedler, collided with Joao Barbosa late in the race and was issued a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact. Meanwhile Kuno Wittmer pitted later than the rest of the GTD field and fell back in the car he shared with Christina Nielsen.
Both results tighten the championship chase heading to Petit Le Mans in two weeks.
In GT Le Mans, Pilet unofficially leads Auberlen and Werner by three points, 279-276, with the No. 3 Corvette C7.R pairing of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia at 269 points and Fisichella and Kaffer at 266.
In GT Daytona, Nielsen unofficially leads von Moltke and Haase by three, and Bell and Sweedler by six (258-255-252).
RESULTS: Lone Star Le Mans