Finishing as the only non-factory team in the top six in the final American Le Mans Series Lime Rock results, Tom Kimber-Smith (Henley-on-Thames, UK) and Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) drove their CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a hard-fought podium finish in only the team’s second race in the GT class.
Third behind the factory BMW and Corvette, and ahead of the factory Viper team and the other Corvettes and BMWs, Long was running third near the end when the team determined they could not complete the race without a splash-and-go for fuel during a late yellow flag. That pit stop put Long back in fourth, but the Risi Ferrari crashed with only two laps to go and Long got his place back.
”In this day and age, in the ALMS GT class, a podium finish is no small feat. I have to say, I wasn’t sure we’d be on the podium this soon, so it’s a huge confidence booster for the team. Tom Kimber-Smith was solid at the start and then we had a perfect strategy and a car that was consistent over a long run, which is what we’d worked on all week. We knew qualifying wasn’t going to be our strong point, but certainly we had a car to run with the Corvettes and BMWs and fight for a win today. Traffic is always an issue here. It’s crazy. You have to stay out of the tussles. There was a big one at the end, and confidence is one thing, but experience tells you it’s going to back up at the chicane,” said Long, who won GT last year with fellow factory driver Joerg Bergmeister.
Kimber-Smith started the car, and ran as high as sixth place before turning the car over to Long, who picked off several of the top cars before setting up for the final fireworks.
“For me, it was a massive improvement in my driving of the Porsche since Laguna. It’s a big step for the team. To have a podium in our second GT race is incredible. It’s fantastic,” said Kimber-Smith, a two-time Le Mans class winner.
The Marco Holzer (Germany)/Bryce Miller (Summit, NJ) Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR finished seventh, and the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Ga.)/Wolf Henzler (Germany) was eighth.
The bridesmaid became the bride today as the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta) and Nelson Canache, Jr. (Venezuela) overcame the two previous second-place finishes to take the top spot in class at Lime Rock. For Pumpelly, who also put the car on the pole yesterday, this was his fifth ALMS class win, but his first career win at Lime Rock.
“I love this place, but it has not always loved me back. This time, however, we were not to be denied, as the Flying Lizards gave us a great car, and Nelson’s first stint was great. We had a fast pit stop, and I was able to keep the competition behind me for the last hour. We made up a lot of points in the standing, and now we are second, just one point out of the lead,” said Pumpelly.
With the #30 NGT Momo car and the #22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech car suffering crashes in the last 15 minutes, the #11 JDX Hertz Porsche finished second, and the two TRG entries, the #66 and 68 were third and fourth, respectively. JDX driver Mike Hedlund was pleased with their finish.
“This was my first time at Lime Rock and my primary goal was to keep the car out of trouble, we caught a bad break with that yellow around 45 minutes and didn’t get a wave bye. Regardless of that, Jan [Heylen] was a beast and managed to wheel the car to claim our first podium of the year, giving us some well-deserved momentum heading to Mosport,” said Hedlund.
Round five of the American Le Mans Series takes place on July 21 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
GT Class Results
#56 Dirk Müller/Tägerwilen, CH; Jonathan Edwards, Louisville, KY; BMW Z4 GTE – 172 laps
#3 Jan Magnussen / Roskilde, Denmark; Antonio Garcia / Barcelona, Spain; Corvette C6 ZR1 – 172 laps
#06 Patrick Long/ Brentwood, CA; Tom Kimber-Smith/Henley-on-Thames, UK, 172 laps
#55 Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, CA; Maxime Martin / Brussel, Belgium; BMW Z4 GTE – 171 laps
#93 Jonathan Bomarito/Monterey, CA; Kuno Wittmer /Montreal, QC; SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R – 171 laps
#4 Oliver Gavin /Northhamptonshire, England; Tommy Milner / Leesburg, VA; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 171 laps
#48 Bryce Miller/Summit, NJ; Marco Holzer/Bobingen, Germany; Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – 169 laps
#17 Wolf Henzler/Nürtingen, Germany/Bryan Sellers / Atlanta, GA; Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – 169 laps
GTC Class Results
#45 Nelson Canache Jr./Caracas, Venezuela; Spencer Pumpelly / Atlanta, GA; Flying Lizard Motorsports – 164 laps
#11 Jan Heylen/Tampa, FL, Mike Hedlund/Woodside, CA – 162 laps
#66 Damien Faulkner/Mouille, IE, Ben Keating, Port Lavaca, TX – 161 laps
#68 David Ostella/Toronto, ON, Craig Stanton / Long Beach, CA; TRG Spectra Resources Corporation – 161 laps
#22 Jeroen Bleekemolen/Monte Carlo, MC, Cooper MacNeil/Hindsdale, IL – 159 laps
#44 Seth Neiman/San Francisco, CA; Dion von Moltke/Coral Gables, FL; Flying Lizard Motorsports – 159 laps
#27 Patrick Dempsey/Malibu, CA; Andy Lally, Atlanta, GA; Dempsey Del Piero
Racing – 158 laps
GT Class Driver Point Standings
Dirk Müller, BMW, 62
Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Corvette, 46
Jon Edwards, BMW, 46
Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet, 45 points
Maxime Martin, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 44
Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, SRT Viper, 37
Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Bryce Miller, Porsche, 30
Richard Westbrook, Chevrolet Corvette, 24
Joey Hand, BMW, 24
Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 21
GT Class Manufacturer’s Point Standings
1. Chevrolet, 75
2. BMW, 72
3. Porsche, 50
4. SRT Viper, 48
5. Ferrari, 45
GTC Class Driver Standings
Henrique Cisneros, NGT, 62 points
Spencer Pumpelly/Nelson Canache, Jr., Flying Lizard Mootorsports, 61
Jeroen Bleekemolen/Cooper MacNeil, Alex Job Racing, 57
Jan Heylen/Mike Hedlund, JDX, 43
Damien Faulkner/Ben Keating, TRG, 41
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