Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy scored their third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class win in Saturday’s hard-fought Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
The two-hour and 40-minute GT-only contest saw all three GTLM machines take turns leading and trading paint, with the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R coming out on top following a final-hour scrap.
A fuel-only stop while under the race’s only full-course caution saw the No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia emerge as the leader after a pit stop miscue set the class championship-leading car back by more than 30 seconds.
The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre, however, pushed his way into the lead with less than a hour to go, only to get shoved off track by Tandy moments later.
No further action was taken after IMSA officials reviewed the incidents.
Tandy made his final stop just as Estre went off-course at Oak Tree, cementing a Corvette Racing 1-2 finish in the penultimate round of the season.
The Englishman finished 17.852 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Corvette of Garcia, with Estre taking the checkered flag a further three seconds back in third after making a late charge.
Estre came into contention courtesy of the yellow for the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher, who plowed into tire barriers with 1 hour and 27 minutes to go.
Cooper MacNeil started the No. 79 Porsche in third but dropped more than 30 seconds from the Corvettes before making a stop and driver change early on.
Late-Race Drama Hands GTD Win to Pfaff Porsche
Contact between Garcia and the GT Daytona class-leading No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen with less than 12 minutes to go resulted in Turner losing out on a likely class win.
Auberlen, who had been out front courtesy of a fuel-only final stop, suffered a right-rear puncture due to the contact, handing the class win to the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Laurens Vanthoor and Zach Robichon.
The Turner BMW would go on to finish 12th in class.
Vanthoor led shortly following the restart after short-filling his Porsche on the second-to-final stop.
It came after Robichon charged from 13th on the class grid due to a pit lane infringement in qualifying.
The Porsche factory driver retook the class lead in the final ten minutes after Auberlen’s misfortune.
The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow finished second after a rear tire-only change on its final stop, while the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 was third after an aggressive move by Jack Hawksworth on the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long.
IMSA declared no further action on the final lap incident between the Lexus and Porsche.
A fifth place class result for Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis, meanwhile, was good enough for The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 duo to win the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup title.
RESULTS: Michelin GT Challenge