RENGER van de ZANDE/NO.8 PC Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet/Continental won the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race Sunday morning as the first feature race in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. His happy teammate was MARCO SCHULTIS. It was their first class win. It definitely was a sprint race, flat out the whole two hours.
Van de Zande said “We had a really good pit stop, taking only two right side tires and fuel – a bold move but one has to take risks. It was slippery, with the car sliding around. We were conserving on everything.” About his race, he joked “It was hard work at the office today.” Schultis said “Winning is nice.”
The drama was all with the GTD finish, with an unexpected finish in the hotly contested class, with DANE CAMERON/No.94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 when he took the lead coming down the hill to Turn Eleven when the then-leader, SPENCER PUMPELLY/No.45 Flying Lizards Audi ran out of fuel coming out of the Corkscrew.
Cameron said “I was fine on fuel, no concern. Just saving the tires. They were more now on a stint. I capitalized when it counted. They don’t tell me anything. All I knew I was racing the 48. At the Corkscrew they started yelling get it on, get it on. But whether Spencer was going to finish was out of our control. And I knew he was too far ahead that I wasn’t going to catch him on pace. So I knew I just had to maintain the position and make sure there was no way the 48 Audi was going to get around us. Fortunately I was able to keep him at bay.”
Pumpelly said he had full pickup problems and knew he was in trouble. Cameron was still racing hard with the No.48 car, and later thanked Pumpelly for not impeding their race by getting out of the way while he coasted down the track to a slow stop on the front straight, in full view but short of the checkered flag.
Fun Fact: BMW reports that BMW’s win today was the exactly 11,111 days from the first BMW DTM win.
Second overall and in the PC class was SEAN RAYHALL/No.25 8Star Motorsports with co-driver LUIS DIAZ, with third place going to BRUNO JUNQUEIRA/No.09 RSR Racing, driving with DUNCAN ENDE. All cars in this class are the same chassis, engine and tire.
Second in the GTD class and ninth overall were CHRISTOPHER HAASE/No.48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche Audi R8LMS Audi with BRYCE MILLER. JOHN POTTER/No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America Porsche was third, with ANDY LALLY.
COLIN BRAUN/No.54 PC Core Autosport ORECA FLM09, who finished seventh overall and inn class, turned the fastest race lap, a new track record, at 1:21.229.
DION von MOLTKE/No.34 Flying Lizards Motorsports Audi R8 LMS was the fastest GTD driver, also setting a new track record.
The weather was a sunny and a reportedly cool 55 degreesF, with track temperature 62F. PATRICK DEMPSEY/No.27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America brought out the first caution on Lap One. He spun into the gravel at Turn Eight. With help he got back to pits and continued on. He drove until the driver change with ANDREW DAVIS, fuel and four tires. Dempsey was disappointed – with the spin and the car not yet to liking. They finished twentieth in class, twenty-seventh overall.
HENRIQUE CISNEROS/No.30 MOMO/NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 drove the first stint, before handing off to co-driver KUBA GIERMAZIAK. They finished twelfth in class/nineteenth overall. As with most of the driver changes, four tires and fuel were taken, many occurring during cautions. Cisneros and his Motorsport Safety Foundation garbed the IMSA Pit Note Volunteers in fire protection gear for today’s race.
The Penalty Box had some visitors: JEROEN BLEEKEMOLEN/No.33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R Viper V 10 was penalized for avoidable contact with JAMES DAVISON/No.007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage on the first lap. DILLON MACHAVERN/No.18 GTD Muehiner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America Porsche-35 seconds.
The highest Turn One radar gun speed I observed was 140 mph.
Two of the thirty-two cars retired, one from each class. Four cars finished on the lead lap of the 73-lap race. In the GTD class, which ran four laps down, seven were on their lead lap. Three drivers led four times. Ende led twice, for 24 laps, Rayhall led once for 37 laps, and the winner led the last 21 laps of the 82-lap race.
The next race for this group is 21 May 2014.