There are few races on the IMSA calendar more iconic than the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Sharing the bill with IndyCar, the IMSA paddock races on Saturday ahead of the open wheel series’ grand finale, and the spectacle was a well-received sprint for the Porsche crew. The Canadian crew of Pfaff Motorsport worked hard for the full race to finish second, while the Wright Motorsports crew from Ohio made a great run up to third at the checkered flag, putting two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs on the podium in the class. Over in GTLM the WeatherTech Racing crew finished third out of three following the two mid-engine Corvette C8.Rs home.
The big story in this race actually comes in the form of the championship leading car suffering a massive nose-in crash which shoved them down the order. Early in the race the Turner Motorsport BMW M5 GT3 crashed into the tire barrier as the car’s anti-lock braking system failed. Taking several minutes to extricate itself and get back on course, the BMW fell to last in class, and could do no better than 16th at the checkered flag. This mis-step dropped the team from first in class in points to fourth, elevating the Pfaff car to the points lead. The plaid-liveried Porsche has taken three GTD class victories this season, including the 12 Hours of Sebring and the two previous races at Road America and Laguna Seca.
The winning Lamborghini of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers took a dominant finish, crossing under the checkered flag some 11 seconds ahead of the field. Even still, the Lambo team sits 32 points in arrears of the Pfaff car of Zacharie Robichon and Porsche factory ace Laurens Vanthoor. That’s a slim points margin going into the penultimate round of the season in a few weeks at Virginia International Raceway, but a lead is a lead and us Porsche fans will take what we can get. Late in the going, the factory-supported Lexus crew needed to save fuel and slowed dramatically from second in class to allow both the Pfaff and Wright Porsches up onto the podium. It was a good little sprint race, and Porsche should be happy with this result.