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WeatherTech Championship

Sims, De Phillippi Take Second Straight BMW Win in GTLM

BMW Team RLL picks up second straight win after impressive fuel run…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Alexander Sims and Connor de Phillippi scored BMW’s second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class victory in the America’s Tire 250 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Team RLL pair, who took their first win of the season last time out at Virginia International Raceway, triumphed after De Phillippi produced a 53-lap final stint on a single tank of fuel, edging out Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR which followed the same strategy.

De Phillippi crossed the line 2.488 seconds ahead of Vanthoor who shared the Porsche with Earl Bamber.  

BMW’s sister car driven by John Edwards and Jesse Krohn initially looked set to take the win but it needed a late splash to make it to the end.

Edwards rejoined in fourth position between the two Corvette C7.Rs that went off-strategy in the second half of the 2-hour, 40-minute contest.

The field was effectively reset with 1 hour and 17 minutes to go when all five front-runners pitted under the race’s fourth full course caution.

However, Corvette broke free from the cycle by pitting both its cars 20 laps later to ensure they could make it to the end without a splash for fuel, while the others stayed out.

Effectively banking on the cars in front to need a late top-up, the Corvettes instead took third and fifth when it became clear that De Phillippi and Vanthoor could get their cars to the line.

The result still meant Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, who reached the podium, extended their lead over title rivals Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, who retired from the race with their No. 67 Ford GT.

Westbrook was running in contention when he made side-to-side contact with Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 Corvette which broke the Ford’s right-front wheel.

That capped a disappointing day for the Ganassi-run team which also saw its No. 66 car eliminated from the race early on during a pile-up at the start.

Dirk Mueller was caught up by Joao Barbosa’s spinning Cadillac DPi, resulting in terminal damage, while the No. 911 Porsche also had its race cut short in the accident.

Meyer Shank Acura Claims GTD Honors

Katherine Legge took seven points out of championship leaders Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers after her co-driver Alvaro Parente made a late-race pass for the GT Daytona win.

Parente overtook a lean-running Joerg Bergmeister to seal the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3’s second victory of the season.

Bergmeister’s Park Place Motorsport crew made a fuel gamble by keeping its Porsche 911 GT3-R out for a mammoth 50-plus lap closing stint, but the Porsche factory driver couldn’t hold back the Acura which had more fuel and fresher tires.

Parente latched onto Bergmeister’s tail after passing Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 with six minutes to go, and made the move stick at turn four.

Bleekemolen ultimately settled for third, while Sellers took fourth to maintain Paul Miller Racing’s championship lead heading into the finale at Road Atlanta, although his and Snow’s advantage over Legge has been reduced to five points.

RESULTS: America’s Tire 250

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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