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Lime Rock Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe’s victory in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix was the first win for the Ford GT in nearly a year, dating back to the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing duo’s GTLM class win at Road America in August 2018. The manufacturer’s now-defunct factory FIA World Endurance Championship program’s last win came at Spa in May earlier that year.

***The No. 67 Ford, as well as the 20 other IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entries, battled intense heat all weekend, with a maximum recorded ambient temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) and track temps reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), per Michelin.

***The scorching temperatures resulted in high levels of tire degradation, which saw a number of teams split their strategies as a result.

***Two-time and defending GTLM champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen saw their bid for three-in-a-row continue to slip away with a fifth place class finish, with the strategies “all over the place” according to the Spaniard. “It’s not been the best couple of races for Jan and I, and tough for our championship,” he said.

***Garcia and Magnussen now sit 17 points behind Porsche’s Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, who extended their lead over teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet on Saturday.

***BMW Team RLL had a torrid race, with gearbox issues striking the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards early, who dropped more than 30 seconds behind in his opening stint. Tire degradation, meanwhile, hit the No. 25 car in what RLL technical director Brandon Fry called the “deciding factor” in the race for the pair of BMWs, which brought up the rear of the eight-car GTLM field.

***Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman saw their lead in the GT Daytona championship race extended to 30 points, following a gear shift issue for the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell, which lost more than 10 laps behind the wall and have dropped from second to fourth in the standings.

***Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen, who picked up their third consecutive podium in GTD, have moved into second in the title chase, ahead of Park Place Motorports’ Patrick Long, who is just two points behind the BMW duo.

***Another challenging race for Lamborghini has seen Lexus take over second in the GTD manufacturer’s championship, seven points behind Acura.

***Gearbox issues also struck the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil early on, dropping the WeatherTech-sponsored car four laps behind en route to a 11th place class finish.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis finished seventh in class after overcoming ABS failure early on in the hands of Lewis, who was forced to make an unscheduled stop on Lap 8. It came after starting from the rear of the field due to a ride-height infringement found in post-qualifying technical inspection.

***All but one car finished the race, with the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura retiring with two minutes to go with suspension damage, suspected to be caused by Katherine Legge’s off-course excursion with a Lexus.

***It came after complaints of Legge allegedly blocking Jeroen Bleekemolen while the Dutchman was leading the race and Legge fighting to remain on the tail end of the lead lap.

***Bleekemolen and co-driver Ben Keating ultimately finished 9th in class after a late-race spin and pit stop while battling for third with Auberlen. 

***Wright Motorsports finished fifth in its return to WeatherTech Championship competition, and in the first race on Michelin tires. Three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs came home inside the top-five in the caution-free race.

***IMSA President Scott Atherton announced a three-year extension with Lime Rock Park while on the grid for Saturday’s race. The full 2020 WeatherTech Championship schedule will be revealed during the sanctioning body’s annual “State of the Series” address at Road America on Aug. 2.

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

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