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Continental Tire Lime Rock Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ Continental Tire post-race notebook from Lime Rock Park IMSA weekend…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller delivered the first overall win for the Ford GT in the 50th GT Le Mans race in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship history, taking over the championship lead in a tightened title race with four rounds to go.

***Hand and Mueller now hold a one-point lead over Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, who entered the weekend as points leaders, slipping to third, but only two points from the No. 66 duo.

***Saturday’s victory was the ninth for Ford in GTLM competition, with Chevrolet holding a class-high 16 wins. Porsche has 13 class wins since the ALMS/Grand-Am merger, with seven victories for BMW, three for Ferrari and two for Dodge/SRT.

***Magnussen, who lost the lead to Hand due to an off-course excursion with 13 minutes to go, admitted it was “hard to swallow” after dominating the race from pole. “It is tough because we had such a great car,” he said. “Everyone did a fantastic job all weekend-the crew, the engineers, everybody. It was just a little bit of a longer stint for the tire compared to what the Ford had there at the end.”

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow have extended their championship lead in GT Daytona to ten points over Katherine Legge, following the team’s second class win of the season, and a fourth place finish for Legge in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

***3GT Racing was the only team to utilize a three-stop strategy in the race, which according to team owner Paul Gentilozzi, was the “only strategy” available to the team due to tire degradation from the increased weight from a recent Balance of Performance adjustment. “We cannot run any distance,” Gentilozzi said. “We saw it at Mosport; we saw it even worse here. Other people could run 60 laps we could run about 45 or 48 laps before tire degradation killed us.”

***On the opposite end of the spectrum, BMW Team RLL opted a single-stop strategy for its No. 25 BMW M8 GTE of Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi, which finished seventh in GT Le Mans, two laps behind. 

***The sister No. 24 BMW was one of three retirements in the race due to a “mechanical issue” with the front bodywork. 

***An opening lap accident between the No. 93 MSR Acura of Lawson Aschenbach and Bill Auberlen’s No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which both also retired with damage, resulted in the race’s only full course caution.

***A tire-related issue for the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long saw the Porsche factory driver fade to eighth in the end following a commanding class-leading run early in the two-hour and 40-minute race.

***Ben Keating confirmed that he will again take part in the 24 Hours of COTA in November in one of Black Falcon’s Mercedes-AMG GT3s alongside an unchanged driver lineup of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz and Abdulaziz Al Faisal. The quartet finished second overall in the Creventic-run enduro last year.

Photo: Halston Pitman/Team TGM

Continental Tire Challenge:

***The Mercedes-AMG GT4 claimed its first victory in North America with a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s Lime Rock Park 120. Previously, the car’s best finish was second in a Pirelli World Challenge round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with a third place for the Winward/HTP Motorsport entry earlier this month in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition at CTMP.

***The pair of KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4s rebounded for top-10 finishes on Saturday after a miscue in pit lane saw both cars nearly collide.

***GS championship leader Kyle Marcelli was forced to serve a stop-and-hold plus-60-second penalty for co-driver Nate Stacy using the reverse gear in the pits. It was followed by a subsequent penalty for the team working underneath the car while refueling.

***A three-car accident in the final hour, involving the No. 39 CarBahn Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Jeff Westphal, Kris Wilson’s No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin GT4 and the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford of Scott Maxwell resulted in incident responsibility to Maxwell.

***Adding further insult to injury to the Ford camp, the No. 8 Multimatic Ford of Chad McCumbee was taken out following a collision with the No. 5 Bodymotion Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR of Joe Robillard with 29 minutes to go.

***The No. 59 KohR/Roush Performance Ford of Jack Roush Jr. and Joey Atterbury was the highest-placed Mustang GT4 in eighth, ending Ford’s four-race win streak.

***Alexandre Premat led 11 laps in the No. 92 Ramsey Racing Mercedes, prior to the team’s alternative pit strategy unraveling due to penalties an improper wave-by and pit lane speeding penalties. The car finished 17th overall and 11th in the GS class.

***Michael Johnson earned his first career sports car victory, less than seven months after  breaking his right leg in an accident at the Roar Before the 24 in January that forced JDC-Miller Motorsports out of the first two TCR races of the season. 

***Johnson, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident at the age of 12, became only the second disabled driver to win in Continental Tire Challenge competition, following Liam Dwyer’s ST class victory in 2014, also at Lime Rock.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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