With a single round remaining, two Chevrolet Corvette teams maintain the points lead in the respective Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes in the battle for the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. But, with 15 points on the table at Petit Le Mans, it’s still anyone’s race.
While neither team won its class in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen last Sunday – which represented the third round in the four-round Patrón Endurance Cup Competition – Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cider Tree Corvette DP (P) and Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R (GTLM) both remained at the top of the points standings through strong performances.
The No. 5 team scored the maximum five points by leading at the halfway point in the race, and added three more points to its tally with a third-place result in the race. The No. 3 team earned four points for its second-place position at halfway and earned two more with a fourth-place race result.
One 10-hour round now remains in the Patrón Endurance Cup, which encompasses 52 hours of racing for $300,000 in post-season awards. The competition will be decided by the 10-hour Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 3, the conclusion of both the Patrón Endurance Cup and 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
The No. 5 Action Express Racing team leads second-place Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP by a margin of seven points, 35-28. Following its victory, the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP team climbs to third in the points, tied with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team from Wayne Taylor Racing. Each team has 27 points.
In the Prototype driver standings, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi hold the lead by seven over the recently promoted Joey Hand and Scott Pruett, 35-28. There is a six-way tie for the number three spot among Max Angelelli, Sebastien Bourdais, Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook, all with 27 points.
The battle for the top spot in GTLM has gotten tighter as the No. 3 Corvette Racing’s lead has shrunk to four points over the team’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R. Team Falken Tire’s collective eight points from the Sahlen’s Six Hours — five of which came from their victory in the race — has bumped the team up to third with 27 points.
No. 3 drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia maintained their lead over teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin in the driver standings, 33-29. The No. 911 Porsche North America team of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet is fourth with 26 points.
The Daytona-winning No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT widened the gap in GT Daytona (GTD) over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia to seven after scoring a perfect 10 points at The Glen, leading at the three-hour mark and taking the GTD checkered flag, 37-30. Viper drivers Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence lead Ferrari drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend by the same margin.
Going into Sahlen’s Six Hours, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team of Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer held a one-point advantage over the No. 54 CORE autosport team with Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gue, 30-29, on the strength of a perfect 15-point performance at Sebring. Following their second-place finish in the race, they have extended their lead to three points, 36-33.
Points in the Patrón Endurance Cup are awarded at specific intervals throughout each race –at midway and finish of the Sahlen’s Six Hours – with the leader at the end of each segment scoring five points, four points for second, three points for third, and fourth place on back receiving two points. Points will be scored at four hours, eight hours and 10 hours at Petit Le Mans.
In addition to the overall race for the season-ending Patrón Endurance Cup, which pays out $100,000 to winning teams in the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes and $50,000 to Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona teams, top points earners in each endurance race are recognized as round winners.