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Hand, Mueller Take Lime Rock Win as Corvette Fades Late

Late-race bobble by Magnussen gives FCGR victory at Lime Rock…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

A late-race miscue from Jan Magnussen has handed Ford Chip Ganassi Racing victory in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

Joey Hand took the No. 66 Ford GT to a 11.431-second win over the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Magnussen, who faded in the closing stages of the two-hour and 40-minute GT-only race following a dominant start.

The Dane saw his ten-plus second lead evaporate in the final half an hour, with an off-course excursion in Turn 7 ultimately giving the lead to the Ford with 13 minutes to go.

It marked the second GT Le Mans victory of the season for Hand and co-driver Dirk Mueller and third consecutive for the the team following their teammates Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe’s class win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

They also take over the championship lead as a result, one point over Corvette’s Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, with the No. 67 Ford duo of Westbrook and Briscoe now in third, although only two points from the lead.

The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor completed the podium in third on Saturday following an issue with the right-front wheel gun on the car’s final stop with 55 minutes to go.

Bamber had pitted from the class lead but rejoined in third. 

Westbrook and Briscoe finished sixth following a fierce fight with the No. 911 Porsche of Nick Tandy, who completed the top-five.

Both of the Team RLL BMW M8 GTEs again struggled for pace, with the No. 25 entry finishing two laps behind in seventh and the No. 24 car retiring after several unscheduled stops to fix dislodged bodywork.

RESULTS: Northeast Grand Prix

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. pdxracefan

    July 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Dammit!

  2. JC

    July 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Fun race, there were enough cars for this track. LRP really doesn’t seem like a Ford track, but then again, it was all set up for a Porsche domination.

    The question is: will IMSA slow the Porsche, as in Balance of Performance, or will they slow the Ford, as in Balance of Results. No matter what, BMW can probably expect more breaks thanks to their usual crummy execution.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 21, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      JC, I always thought Lime Rock was a GM track. I know Team Corvette doesn’t like the track but they seem to do pretty well there. The Grand-Am Banner Pontiacs, Stevenson Camaros and Whelen Corvette also performed well at Lime Rock and won races while the faster Porsche GT3s struggled against the better handling BMWs.

      Anyway, it was a Corvette that qualified on the pole, led much of the race and finished second.

      I thought it was a good race.

  3. asdf

    July 21, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    It was a good race, #3 finishes second but manages to make up points on 1st place anyways due to that …..thing the #67 produced today.

  4. daedalus

    July 21, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    This race was all about who could look after the tires best rather than who had the outright pace. Made for some very exciting racing in the last hour. The non mid engine cars in both classes all seemed to struggle much more for tire wear.

  5. Roger

    July 21, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I believe this race highlights a bigger problem…. either the GTD Class needs to drop the Gold/Silver Drivers, or, the GTD cars need to have the TC and ABS removed……

    • Andy

      July 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      I think there will be LARGE changes announced at Road America next round. It seems like there’s a lot of background concerns from true Pro-Am teams about the Silvers allowed in the class. My concern is what do you do with Madison Snow, does he get upgraded like WC does with drivers because he’s fast or is he just lucky to be that fast true silver, well Silver for now. It feels like GTD will look very different for 2019, probably including a couple rounds being dropped. Possibly even Daytona becoming optional, I’d like to see it outside of the season championship but included in a NAEC type alternate championship, if they wanted to drop it from the season as rumored.

      • Matt

        July 22, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        Why would they drop Daytona, one of the most important races in the championship, from the calendar? Once again, the problem is not with the number of races. The number of races has remained relatively unchanged. The problem lies with the costs associated with running complicated GT3 cars. Removing TC and ABS is just one step toward allowing the drivers with the best driving talent to rise to the top.

        • Andy

          July 22, 2018 at 10:01 pm

          There was talk of making it a non points event for GTD so teams can run if they want. Although it seems like running can pay for additional events with additional drivers. But apparently it can cost a large portion of the teams budget for the season. Removing items from a homologated car will cost more not less. Making the driving harder to show off the better pros with car feel WILL kill the class. The problem is the associated costs with the cars and having to have a great silver to compete with the fake Silvers. Cutting rounds and team costs are the only thing left without going GT4 and that’s just way too slow to be on the same track.

          I really don’t understand this obsession with cutting things from an international car somehow meets what teams want about cutting costs. They will have to add costs to make turning those things off and making the car work. That’s extra testing and more work and frankly more useless cars in the way when the guys paying the bills can’t drive the car

  6. David K.

    July 21, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Hey John Dagys,

    Are any drivers saying that it is time to drop Lime Rock
    because the laps are now under 50 seconds?
    Also, it didn’t look like a very big crowd on TV. What was your
    impression?

    • James

      July 21, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      biggest crowd in the ten years I’ve been going. the drivers love the track for many reasons, limerock forever!!

      • Matt

        July 22, 2018 at 6:08 pm

        Not as big as last year, but still a healthy crowd.

    • Change it up

      July 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Well Nascar should not of scheduled a race at new hampshire motor speedway the same weekend! It definitely seemed like there were less people camping this year.

    • Dave

      July 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      I’m not sure what the ticket office would say, but as someone who was there last year as well as this year, this year was every bit as crowded. Because it is such a small venue, the appearance is that it is packed – and it is, but the same number of folks at Watkins Glen or Road America would be, well, thinner. I think it will likely stay since it is the closest track to everyone who lives from Boston down to Philadelphia.

  7. GrimBrother One

    July 21, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Woot!

  8. ShitWorld

    July 22, 2018 at 5:02 am

    Chevies are Chit!

    • Stevie

      July 22, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Magnussen drove it off the track while leading. Are you kidding me??? Chevy needs to start looking for a driver that can get it done and not crack under pressure.

      • Andy

        July 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Or can manage his tires, the entire field was having to manage tire life and degradation. He just didn’t seem to do as well and was loose the entirety of the final 10 laps. Everything was eating tires when you push, and it wasn’t a Continental only problem, Corvette and BMW were eating them and Porsche didn’t seem to love theirs late. The GTD Porsche HATED their tires late and even Pat Long couldn’t keep the car under him. The only car that seemed to run well late was the winner, and they ran consistent, never fast but never slow either.

    • Old Trombone

      July 25, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Well then, tut tut, (snooty, looks down nose over glasses), that was very rude, little Shitworld.

      Chevies are not chit, Phords aren’t phaaked, Porsh’s aren’t poop, and BMW’s aren’t BS.

      But Ferrari’s are definitely Fake! Read Chris Harris’ rant on Fazz in 2011, it’s great. And just yesterday, Big Tobacco’s #1 CEO added Fazz to his portfolio. Ferrari has graduated from cancer stick pusher to cancer stick maker now…

  9. speedy

    July 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    They would have passed him, even if he didn’t go off these track, his tires were gone. This is FE vs ME and these ME will win ever time. ME car’s are better on tires, plane and simple.

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