Richard Westbrook and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing have broken Porsche’s five-race GT Le Mans win streak following a thrilling battle in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
The Englishman took the No. 67 Ford GT to a 7.003-second victory over the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber, who faded late in the two-hour and 40-minute race after being on a two-stop strategy.
An off-course excursion by Patrick Pilet in the then-leading No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR with 30 minutes to go saw Bamber take the lead, with the Frenchman dropping to fourth just a few laps later after getting caught up in traffic and again dropping his left tires off course in the final corner.
It allowed Westbrook, in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, to challenge Bamber in the closing laps and after repeated attempts, including light contact to the Porsche, take over the lead with seven minutes to go.
Westbrook shared top honors with Ryan Briscoe, in the duo’s first class victory since last year’s Road America round.
The win came despite a slow final stop for the heritage-liveried Ford, which lost nearly three seconds due to an issue with the right-front tire change.
Both of the Porsches, which enjoyed a dominant start to the race, faded on worn Michelin tires after opting for a two-stop race, compared to the winning Ford’s three-stop strategy.
The No. 66 Ford of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller completed the GTLM podium in third, ahead of Pilet, who held on to fourth.
Antonio Garcia stretched the fuel mileage of the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R to complete the top-five, ahead of teammate Oliver Gavin in the sister Corvette in sixth.
The No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi came home seventh overall and in class, despite a late-race stop, with gearbox issues early on plaguing the sister BMW, which finished two laps behind.
RESULTS: Northeast Grand Prix