Antonio Garcia held off John Edwards to claim Corvette Racing’s sixth victory of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season following a wet and wild GT-only contest at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
The Spaniard, who got around Edwards with 25 minutes to go, crossed the line 1.474 seconds ahead of the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE to edge closer to locking up the GT Le Mans class title for he and co-driver Jordan Taylor.
While having started on pole for the 100-minute race — which was delayed by one hour due to the late finish for the NASCAR Xfinity Series round — Taylor lost the lead to the No. 24 BMW of Jesse Krohn on Lap 4 in pouring conditions.
The two cars fought nearly nose-to-tail throughout the race until Garcia’s decisive move in the closing 30 minutes while in a slightly drying track.
A high-speed crash from Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette, due to a suspected right-rear suspension failure on the car while on NASCAR Turn 4, resulted in a six-minute shootout to the finish, with the positions up front remaining unchanged.
It marked Garcia and Taylor’s fifth class win of the season, extending their points lead to 24 points over Milner and co-driver Oliver Gavin.
The No. 25 BMW of Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler completed the podium as the third and only remaining GTLM car to finish the attrition-filled race.
Porsche, in its first race back since skipping Mid-Ohio had a race to forget with both of the CORE autosport-run entries retiring by the 20-minute mark due to separate accidents.
Laurens Vanthoor lost control of his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the infield section before making contact with the barriers, while teammate Fred Makowkecki suffered similar fate just a few minutes later.
Makowiecki’s accident brought out the first of three full course cautions in the race.
Turner BMW Claims GTD Class Honors
Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley claimed GT Daytona class honors in their Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which held command in the second half of the race.
The BMW veteran had a 20-second lead prior to the final yellow and restart but managed to finish 1.497 seconds ahead of the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick in second.
It marked the duo’s second class win of the season and came despite a spin by Foley on Lap 3.
Drama ensued behind the top two cars on the final restart with Mario Farnbacher having gotten turned around by Jack Hawksworth, resulting in a drive-through penalty for the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Championship rival Hawksworth finished eighth in class while Farnbacher, in the class championship-leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo, was classified seventh.
It came after setbacks for both cars earlier in the race.
An issue with a crew member fastening the window net of the No. 14 Lexus during its pit stop dropped Hawksworth to fifth after co-driver Aaron Telitz led from the green.
Farnbacher, meanwhile, was forced to surrender second position on-track after he cut through a chicane while battling with Auberlen for the lead, dropping the German driver to third and immediately in front of the Lexus prior to the late-race caution and restart.
The incident promoted the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis and Ian James to a third place class finish, marking the team’s first podium finish.
In addition to the pair of GTLM class Porsches, accidents for both the No. 22 Gradient Racing Acura and No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo also resulted in early race retirements.
MSR’s Farnbacher and co-driver Matt McMurry now have a three-point lead over Long and Hardwick as well as AVS Autosport’s Telitz heading into next weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans.
RESULTS: Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix