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Porsche Takes GTLM Honors; First Lexus Win in GTD

Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber took GTLM honors in IMSA’s return to Mid-Ohio…

Photo: Porsche

Laurens Vanthoor inherited the GT Le Mans class lead when Connor De Phillippi pitted with 33 minutes to go and held on to score class victory for Porsche in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

Lexus, meanwhile, claimed its first win in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition with a commanding run by 3GT Racing in GT Daytona.

While starting from fourth, Earl Bamber moved his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR gradually through the field, with Vanthoor taking the class lead during his stint.

The Belgian only relinquished his advantage during subsequent pit stops in the two-hour and 40-minute race, which ran caution-free.

Team RLL used a clever strategy to get the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE of De Phillippi and Alexander Sims to the second step on the podium.

A long penultimate stint that stretched over one hour shuffled the car to the front of the field and allowed the team to short fill on the final stop.

The time saved put De Phillippi back out on track in second, and pressured Vanthoor to the checkered flag. 

Vanthoor edged out the BMW by 1.673 seconds at the line.

Jan Magnussen brought the No. 3 Corvette C7.R home in third to complete the class podium, followed by the Nos. 66 and 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing entries of Joey Hand and Richard Westbrook, respectively.

John Edwards started on pole in the No. 24 BMW, which had been the quicker of the two cars from the German manufacturer over the weekend.

Edwards, however, lost his edge on the opening lap the race when he was forced off track to avoid a spinning No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Robert Alon and was shuffled back to fifth.

Neither Edwards nor co-driver Jesse Krohn could recover and the car finished at the back of the GTLM pack in eighth.

Lexus Breaks Through for RC F GT3’s First IMSA Win

Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli delivered the first North American victory for the Lexus RC F GT3 with a dominant drive in the No. 14 3GT Racing entry.

Marcelli, a winner on Saturday in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, started from the second behind Jack Hawskworth in the team’s sister No. 15 entry.

The No. 14 duo cycled to the front in the pit stop shuffles and Baumann managed to build a comfortable cushion after taking over.

Alvaro Parente, however, managed to cut into that lead in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 once he got past David Heinemeier Hansson, who had taken over the No. 15 Lexus from Hawksworth, and ran down Baumann in the closing minutes.

Parente made several attempts to get by Baumann on the final lap but couldn’t quite pull off the move, finishing a mere 0.191 seconds adrift at the checkered flag.

As was the case by Penske in the Prototype race, it was an equally dominant weekend for the Gentilozzi family-run team, which locked out the front row in qualifying and both Lexus entries combining to lead every race lap in GTD.

Class championship leaders Paul Miller Racing, meanwhile, completed the podium in third, maintaining its podium streak.

Bryan Sellers brought the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 home in third after a strong opening stint from Madison Snow, followed by Hawksworth, who returned to the wheel of the No. 15 Lexus for the final stint.

Lawson Aschenbach completed the top-five in the No. 93 MSR Acura.

RESULTS: Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bird

    May 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    The BOP in GTD basically made it Lexus race to lose, and they still almost lost.

  2. Paul

    May 7, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Congrats to Lexus great race, happy to see them in victory circle. However did any one in America thing that somebody other than pensive would win this race. Gee I guess the bop is still off for the p2

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