***Sunday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS featured 11 safety car periods, which along with questionable calls from race control, made it one of the most incident-filled and inconsistent top-level endurance races in recent memory.
***A number of drivers criticized calls made in race control, including Jeroen Bleekemolen, who told Sportscar365 that he raised questions over the discretionary use of wave-bys two years ago in the California 8 Hours, with a rule that was still left in the sporting regulations and led to confusion when race control decided to reverse its initial pre-race plan communicated to teams.
***In response to Bleekemolen’s concerns about when wave-bys were used during the race, SRO referred to a stewards’ bulletin issued on Saturday afternoon. It read: “To eliminate any confusion, article 46.6 section ‘wave-by’ will be applied for the GT4 cars during the race, should the race director deem it to be necessary.”
***Other drivers raised questions post-race over the lack of penalties for incidents, a questionable penalty called to the then-leading No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Dries Vanthoor and the stop-start nature of the race that resulted in the runner-up finishing AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 crew unhappy post-race.
“I have never been so unhappy for a second position because I felt like that was not racing out there,” AKKA-ASP’s Dani Juncadella said. “I could not understand how many safety cars were out there for so many reasons that didn’t play in our favor. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy [the race]… This kind of racing is not what I signed up for.”
***Team WRT’s sister No. 37 entry was taken out of contention early on when Robin Frijns was hit by an out-of-control Brendan Iribe in the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3, which was encountering brake problems at the time. It resulted in a three-minute pit stop for nose repairs. It finished 12th overall.
***The overall victory for the No. 25 Sainteloc Audi marked the manufacturer’s eighth in Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competition, four more than any other manufacturer.
***Christopher Haase moves to a record five series wins, one more than co-driver Markus Winkelhock, who was absent from post-race celebrations due to leaving the track early to catch a flight for the imminent birth of his child.
***Audi holds a 38-point lead over Ferrari in the IGTC manufacturers’ points heading into December’s season-ending Kyalami 9 Hour, where a maximum of 43 points will be up for grabs. Audi is seeking its fourth IGTC title and first since 2018.
***Had Dries Vanthoor’s penalty not been called, Audi would have locked up the manufacturers’ title on Sunday.
***Despite leaving the race early to be with his partner who is due to give birth in Germany, Markus Winkelhock wasn’t left out of the Sainteloc’s celebrations. “We had him on the phone straight after the race, and we had a FaceTime with us on the podium when he was in the airport lounge,” said Audi Sport’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke.
***Third place finisher Jordan Pepper said that Audi and Ferrari were in “a different league” in the race, although K-PAX Racing was able to capitalize on misfortunes from both manufacturers. “It sucks to lose a win by something out of our control,” he said. “I’m super proud and tomorrow when I wake up and see that we were third, I think I’ll be really happy.”
***Co-driver Andrea Caldarelli explained that an early race puncture and contact with a GT4 car that damaged the nose of the No. 3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 made the car “really difficult” to drive during his entire stint.
***Paul Holton revealed that he had radio failure in his opening stint in the No. 59 Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720S GT3. “The antenna came off the radio and I ended up repairing it in the car,” he told Sportscar365. “But I missed our call for our pit stop. We ended up pitting a lap after than we wanted to and that put us to the back of the train.”
***Holton’s McLaren retired in the final hour after contact by the No. 99 Craft-Bamboo Mercedes of Jules Gounon, which saw no penalty issued.
***Acuras finished 1-2 in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS portion of the race, with the final results reflecting the three-hour mark plus the completion of the lap and not three hours exactly on time. The No. 6 K-PAX Lamborghini pitted on the lap shortly after three hours, relinquishing second position. Click Here for the results.
***Ashton Harrison, in her GT3 debut race, became the first female driver to win overall in GTWC America competition.
***Only 11 cars ended up being registered for GTWC America points, down from the initial 16 that were initially listed for the event. It accounted for two withdrawals (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3) along with the No. 3 K-PAX Lamborghini, No. 10 TR3 Lamborghini and No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes all opting out of scoring points in order to not jeopardize its strategy for the full eight-hour distance.
***In addition to the post-race time penalties to four cars for entering a closed pit, the No. 88 Zelus Motorsport Lamborghini was moved to last position in the GTWC America classification due to a technical infraction. It was one of two cars that only contested the first three hours of the race for points in the domestic series’ season finale.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report