Nick Tandy pulled away from the field on the final restart and completed a fuel mileage run to take GT Le Mans class victory at Motul Petit Le Mans, while a rapid repair job from Corvette Racing saved the drivers’ championship for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.
Garcia and Magnussen looked poised to secure their second consecutive drivers’ championship, and the third for Corvette, in relatively easy fashion when their season appeared to come unraveled with two and a half hours to go.
Garcia spun the Corvette while leaving the pits after a routine pit stop during the race’s fifth full course caution and made front-end contact with the wall.
The Spaniard limped the car back around the track and immediately pulled the car behind the wall where the Pratt & Miller crew made repairs. Garcia emerged from the paddock and returned to the race three laps down in ninth place in class.
Garcia, who remained behind the wheel to the finish following the accident, clawed back to eighth and earned enough points to claim the second straight drivers’ title for the pairing as their rivals in the No. 67 Ford GT faded to fifth in the final stint.
The drama for the win, meanwhile, centered around whether or not Tandy could nurse the fuel in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for close to an hour on the final stint.
The Englishman made every drop count and crossed the line 11.443 seconds ahead of Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
Tandy shared top class honors with Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki, marking the trio’s third major endurance win of the year, alongside GTLM class honors at Sebring and overall victory in the Nürburgring 24.
The No. 24 BMW M8 GTE came home ahead of the sister No. 25 machine in third and fourth, respectively, while Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford finished fifth in class.
All nine of the GTLM class entrants were still running at the finish.
Scuderia Corsa Wins in GTD; Paul Miller Racing Takes Title
In GT Daytona, Daniel Serra vaulted past Alvaro Parente and into the class lead with under 40 minutes to go and held on to take the victory in the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa.
Parente had jumped to the class lead by virtue of a short fill from his Meyer Shank Racing crew on the final pit stop but could not hold off the Brazilian who went on to win by 0.916 seconds after a late-race rally by the MSR driver.
A third-place finish for Paul Miller Racing’s No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was enough to clinch the class championship for Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow who, along with co-driver Corey Lewis, ran amongst the front runners all day.
Serra shared the class win with Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette in the WeatherTech-sponsored Ferrari.
Robert Renauer and Wright Motorsports rallied from multiple punctures and a late-race penalty to finish fourth in the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R he shared with Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen, ahead of Townsend Bell in the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.
The race, which saw the distance record for the event broken by the overall winners, was slowed five times for full course yellows.
RESULTS: Motul Petit Le Mans