Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner claimed the maiden victory for the mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR in global competition, leading a Porsche 1-2 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Pilet and Werner qualified third behind the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook and their teammates Gimmi Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche, but quickly jumped past the Ford and into second place on the start.
The lead fell into the hands to the No. 911 Porsche when Bruni ran into trouble and pitted off sequence with minor damage to the nose 50 minutes into the race.
A slow pit stop elevated Werner and the No. 911 entry into the race lead in, and they controlled most of the race from there.
It marked the first win for Porsche’s radical GTE car concept and the first for Werner as a factory driver with the German manufacturer.
Vanthoor finished 14.5 seconds behind the No. 911 car in second, with BMW Team RLL extending its streak of podiums to four straight with the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM finishing third after a fierce duel between Martin Tomczyk and Antonio Garcia.
Garcia, in the GT Le Mans championship-leading No. 3 Corvette C7.R, settled for fourth, after the No. 67 Ford GT of Briscoe made its second and final stop for fuel only with less than five minutes to go.
The Ford, which led in the hands of Westbrook after a marathon 76-minute opening stint, completed the top-five overall and in class.
The race ran caution-free, the first since Virginia International Raceway in 2015, but was not totally without incidents.
Tommy Milner lost control of his No. 4 Corvette with just 25 minutes completed while attempting to pass the No. 66 Ford of Dirk Mueller, clipping the Ford and sending both cars to pit lane for repairs.
Hand finished three laps behind in seventh, while the No. 4 Corvette spent significant time in the paddock undergoing repairs and was classified 22nd overall, 30 laps down from the winning Porsche.
RESULTS: Northeast Grand Prix