Aston Martin Racing took its second GTE-Pro win in a row at the Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, but this time with the No. 95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.
The car led the field for the full six hours of the American round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, except for a couple of laps during the first round of pit stops.
While the No. 97 car that won last time out in Mexico City was only able to score a fifth-place finish, AMR did also take the GTE-Am honors with Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy for the third time this season.
It marked Sorensen’s first win in WEC competition, and Thiim’s first since Bahrain 2014. They take over the points lead from teammate Darren Turner.
AF Corse completed the GTE-Pro podium with its pair of Ferrari 488 GTEs.
James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni finished second in the No. 51 car, while Davide Rigon and Sam Bird were third.
It was a disappointing race for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, which suffered from a string of issues and bad luck with the No. 66 Ford GT.
This started in the first hour with a broken air conditioning system, costing the car nearly 20 laps. Later in the race, the car was beached after contact with the Manor LMP2 car.
Finally, a drive-through penalty for using too many tires topped off a race to forget for title contenders Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla.
The No. 67 car, meanwhile, salvaged a fourth-place class finish ahead of Turner and Fernando Rees’ No. 97 Aston Martin.
AMR’s GTE-Am win wasn’t as dominant as in the top GT category, but the No. 98 crew did still lead most of the way.
Lamy dropped down to third from pole on the start, while Abu Dhabi Proton Racing’s Kevin Estre assumed the class lead.
Eventually, Lamy made his way back to the front of the class and the car led most of the remainder of the race.
KCMG secured second-place with its Porsche 911 RSR, while Pierre Ragues took the No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R to third.
Michael Wainwright drove straight on into the gravel trap with no brakes at Turn 1 soon after the track went into darkness, causing one of three Full Course Yellows in the race.
Nevertheless, the Gulf Racing Porsche was retrieved and was classified fourth despite stopping with a puncture in the final lap, while the Abu Dhabi Proton car was fifth.
David Heinemeier Hansson had a scare when a freak fuel fire occurred during a pit stop for the Abu Dhabi car, and the race only got worse thereafter, with a drive-through penalty that led to more problems and ultimately forced the No. 88 car to spend time in the garage.
The championship-leading AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia headed to the garage after two hours, putting a challenge to the title hopes of Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard.
RESULTS: Six Hours of COTA