Richard Westbrook took the class lead when Connor De Phillippi ran out of fuel in the final minutes and stretch his own fuel mileage to take a dramatic GT Le Mans class victory in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.
It was the fourth consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class win for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.
Westbrook, renowned for his fuel saving abilities, stretch his tank 1 hour and 4 minutes but let overall winner Colin Braun through as he was coming to the checkered flag, ensuring not to make an additional lap.
BMW Team RLL appeared poised to take the first win for the BMW M8 GTE when they elected to short-fill the No. 25 car on the final pit stop, vaulting De Phillippi to the class lead.
The American pulled away from the field on multiple restarts in the final stint and had a secure lead over Westbrook when he ran dry.
De Phillippi made it to pit-in but failed to make it over the hill, resulting in a sixth place result in class.
Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia finished second and third, respectively for Corvette Racing, while Porsche 911 RSR machines of Earl Bamber and Patrick Pilet completed the top-five.
It was a tough outing for the class pole-sitting No. 66 Ford of Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand, who entered the weekend as the championship leaders by a single point.
The day went awry in the second hour when Mueller slowed on track after apparently damaging the suspension by running over the curbing in Turn 1.
Mueller brought the car to the pit lane and the team replaced a broken a-arm but lost multiple laps in the process.
Hand and Mueller finished seventh in class and have dropped to third in the title race, 9 points behind teammates and new championship leaders Westbrook and Briscoe.
Wright Breaks Through for First GTD Win
Patrick Long started on pole, Christina Nielsen ran up front during her stint, then Long brought the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R home in first to take the first GT Daytona class win for the Ohio-based team.
Long made the pass for the class lead with 44 minutes to go and never relinquished the top spot, cruising to a margin of 3.186 seconds over the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Bryan Sellers.
Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow extended their GTD points lead over Meyer Shank Racing’s Katherine Legge by virtue of their runner-up result and an eighth place class finish for Legge and Alvaro Parente in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3.
A frantic closing stint by Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, resulted in a third place class finish after contact with multiple cars, with the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 losing the podium position on the final lap.
RESULTS: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase