BMW Team RLL dominated the GT Le Mans category of Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda, with the team’s pair of BMW Z4 GTEs turning in a 1-2 finish.
John Edwards and Lucas Luhr scored their first TUDOR United SportsCar Championship wins in the No. 24 BMW, ahead of the sister No. 25 car driven by Bill Auberlen and polesitter Dirk Werner.
It was an authoritative drive from both cars, with Luhr moving ahead of Werner early on Lap 13 of the race, and Werner briefly falling back to third behind the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet on the opening stint. But Werner quickly got back around Pilet for second place.
Other than the middle stint of the race when the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia and No. 911 Porsche briefly got into second, the BMWs enjoyed a healthy lead over the rest of the field.
Edwards took the checkered flag over Auberlen by 22.572 seconds, with the No. 911 Porsche third with Pilet and Michael Christensen.
Risi’s pair of Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella ended fourth, ahead of the second factory Porsche driven by Christensen and Joerg Bergmeister.
Corvette Racing had a challenging day, ending sixth and seventh, with its two Corvette C7.Rs ahead of the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR.
Antonio Garcia made something out of nothing at the start of the race, quickly carving through the GT Daytona field after starting from the rear of the combined GT field due to an engine and tire change.
But Garcia suffered right front contact with the eventual race-winning VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP when the overall leaders were coming through, and endured an uphill battle from there.
Porsche managed to triumph in GT Daytona, with Spencer Pumpelly and Patrick Lindsey winning both theirs and the Park Place Motorsports’ team’s first event in the TUDOR Championship.
Lindsey drove a clean, uneventful double stint mostly in the lead in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America before handing over to Pumpelly.
After heartbreak a year ago when he ran out of fuel on the final lap while leading, Pumpelly had just enough to make it home to the flag this year to score the win.
As last year, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS finished second, now with Dion von Moltke joining Christopher Haase behind the wheel.
Lindsey and von Moltke, the two Silver-rated drivers who ran more than half the race, enjoyed a spirited battle in their stints as they exchanged fastest laps. Both drivers put their cars in win position for Pumpelly and Haase to take over.
Despite struggling on outright pace all weekend, the Sebring-winning No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America persevered to end third with Ian James and Mario Farnbacher.
Also fighting back was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, who ended fourth.
Both the No. 23 Porsche and No. 63 Ferrari started from the rear of the field due to a tire change.
The No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 ended an unrepresentative fifth.
Christina Nielsen was in podium contention most of the race, but a slow pit stop exchange handing over to James Davison dropped them to eighth. Davison, too, was in the middle of the Corvette DP lead battle in the waning moments of the race.
Of note, the debuting pair of Marc Miller and Jeff Mosing ended eighth in the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R, with Miller leading the opening laps of the race after passing Lindsey off the start.
Unofficially, the No. 3 Corvette pair of Garcia and Jan Magnussen still leads the GTLM points by two over the No. 25 BMW pair of Werner and Auberlen. In GTD, Haase and von Moltke hold a one-point lead over Bell and Sweedler.
GTLM is off until Watkins Glen at the end of June, with GTD racing next at Detroit the end of this month.
RESULTS: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda