HubAuto Corsa has claimed victory in Saturday’s California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, giving Ferrari its first win in Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competition.
A dominant run by Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Ferrari factory driver Miguel Molina saw the No. 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 lead the majority of the caution-free race, although face challenges from Porsche and BMW.
Slade assumed the lead in the second hour from the No. 35 KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and overcame an air gun issue in the fourth hour, which cost the Ferrari more than 20 seconds in the pits.
While Mathieu Jaminet took over the top spot as a result, the No. 911 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R fought brake-related issues and was unable to match the pace of the Prancing Horse in the closing stages.
Foster claimed a 12.509-second win over the No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello, Maxi Buhk and Maxi Goetz, who have taken over the lead of the IGTC drivers’ championship with a second place result.
It marked the first major endurance race win for the Taiwanese squad, which stepped up to global GT3 competition full-time this year after successful campaigns in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.
The No. 911 Porsche of Jaminet, Romain Dumas and Sven Mueller held on to complete the podium in third, with Mueller coming home ahead of Dries Vanthoor in the No. 10 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS Evo in fourth.
A drive-through penalty for contact with the No. 29 Land Motorsport Audi in the sixth hour ultimately dashed hopes of a podium finish for the No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3, which finished fifth in the hands of Augusto Farfus.
Farfus’ BMW, which led at multiple stages, banked on an alternate pit stop strategy that resulted in a fuel-only final stop.
While the WRT Audi came home fourth, Land’s effort took a hit after Martin Tomczyk’s contact with Markus Winkelhock in the Corkscrew, which was followed by a shortened stint by a flu-stricken Winkelhock.
It opened the door for the No. 888 GruppeM Mercedes to come home sixth, ahead of the Land Audi, which was taken to the finish by Kelvin van der Linde.
Mid-Race Retirement for Bathurst 12 Hour Winners
IGTC drivers’ championship leaders Matt Campbell, Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner were among the three retirements in the race following gearbox issues to its Wright Motorsports Porsche just past the halfway mark.
It came after a race-leading run for the trio, who claimed victory in last month’s season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The No. 107 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 also failed to finish after gearbox issues, while Strakka Racing’s No. 44 Mercedes succumbed to power steering failure in the fifth hour.
The pole-sitting Honda Team Motul Acura NSX GT3, meanwhile, was delayed by right-front suspension failure with two hours to go, resulting in a 13th place finish overall.
PF Racing Claims GT4 Honors
The No. 41 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Chad McCumbee, Jade Buford and James Pesek came out on top in the GT4 class, which featured three entries this weekend.
The car took a seven-lap victory over the No. 113 RHC Jorgensen/Strom BMW M4 GT4.
ARC Bratislava’s Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, the lone GT Cup car in the race, finished 14th overall after several setbacks, including stopping on track in the second hour.
RESULTS: California 8H