Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen have claimed victory in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway, following late-race drama for the dominant BMW Team RLL entry of Alexander Sims.
Having led from the green flag and with a ten-second plus advantage, a left-front puncture for the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM forced Sims to pit with 12 minutes to go in the two-hour and 40-minute race, which ran caution-free.
Amid an incident between Tommy Milner and Dirk Mueller while battling for what would have been second, it gave clear sailing to the Spaniard, who took a 12.301-second win over the No. 67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe.
It marked the second consecutive win for Garcia and Magnussen at VIR and extends their GT Le Mans championship lead heading into the final two races of the season.
A late off-course excursion by Giancarlo Fisichella, who was running second at the time, relegated the Italian to sixth at the time, but was promoted to third at the checkered flag, in Risi Competizione’s return.
Fisichella had been closing the gap to the then-leading BMW of Sims prior to his incident with Jen Klingmann’s No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
Sims came home fourth after his puncture, followed by the No. 66 Ford of Dirk Mueller, who benefitted by a left-front puncture by Milner on the final lap, and like the BMW driver, was forced to make an unscheduled stop.
The No. 4 Corvette crossed the line in 6th, ahead of the pair of Porsche 911 RSRs, which struggled all day.
Power steering issues in the opening hour cost the No. 24 BMW of John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk a top finish, before losing further ground later in the race.
RESULTS: Michelin GT Challenge