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WeatherTech Championship

Wright Wins; Farnbacher, McMurry Clinch GTD Title

Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry win GTD title with fifth place class finish….

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen took the GT Daytona win while Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry clinched the season-long IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class title with a third place result in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The race appeared settled prior to a final full course yellow with just over 20 minutes remaining.

The ensuing restart saw Lawson Aschenbach — running second in class at the time in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo — make contact with the GT Le Mans class leading BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi in Turn 1.

That contact knocked the BMW into the GTD class-leading Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Jeff Westphal which then spun into Aschenbach, knocking both cars off track.

Long emerged from the chaos with the class lead and held off Roman De Angelis in the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin GT3 to take the first win for Wright this season.

Farnbacher avoided the accident as well and brought his No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo home in third, more than enough to clinch the title over Long and Hardwick in the team’s final race with the NSX despite being spun earlier in the race.

Westphal was able to rejoin the fray and came home fourth in class, while Aschenbach was penalized for the contact and ultimately retired the car due to damage sustained in the accident.

Pierre Kaffer completed the top five in class in the No. 30 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that he shared with Rob Ferriol and Andrew Davis.

Aaron Telitz entered the weekend as a contender for the class crown but saw his championship hopes evaporate in the third hour when fluid from the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R caused both AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 machines to spin into the tire barrier in Turn 17.

While the sister No. 12 car was able to return, the damage was irreparable for Telitz’s No. 14 entry that he shared with Michael De Quesada and Jack Hawksworth.

Attrition also struck the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini and the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which were sidetracked by a drive shaft and brake problems, respectively.

The Grasser team was able to get their car back out on track after losing significant time, but the braking issues proved insurmountable for Turner which was forced to retire the car.

RESULTS: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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