Porsche locks down manufacturers title with 1-2 victory at VIR
Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet have won the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, with the #912 sister car finishing second. This was enough for the German manufacturer to lock up the manufacturers championship with two races to spare.
Tandy, who started sixth after a crash in qualifying, had a tremendous start which saw him shoot up to second behind team-mate Laurens Vanthoor in the #912. The two Porsches then ran in the same dominant manner they had all weekend, clearing the rest of the GTLM field in a one-two formation.
The #912 remained in the lead even as Vanthoor handed over to Earl Bamber, who regained the lead on an overcut strategy when Patrick Pilet stopped to hand back over to Tandy in the second hour.
However, the tide turned when Porsche kept the #912 out for too long in the final hour. This allowed Tandy to close the gap up and was able to pass Bamber when the Kiwi made his final stop. Tandy would hold on to the lead even as a late safety car caused by Katherine Legge crashing bunched the pack back up.
Corvette had a strong final hour, allowing the #3 and #4 to hold station in third and fourth respectively, despite an early tangle between Antonio Garcia and Ford's Dirk Müller. Müller came home in sixth, behind the #67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, but ahead of the two BMW M8 GTEs.
In GT Daytona, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating took the victory after a strong showing for the #33 Riley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Keating surviving an encounter with the #76 Compass Racing McLaren and #96 Turner Motorsports BMW early on, before handing over to the Dutchman.
After Bleekemolen made his scheduled stop on lap 58, he quickly made good use of his AMG power to pass both Scott Hargrove's #9 Porsche and Meyer Shank Racing's Mario Farnbacher to take the lead in class.
The Dutchman then resisted pressure from Farnbacher after the restart, while Scuderia Corsa's Toni Vilander made a late pass on Hargrove to take third in the #63 Ferrari 488 GT3. Hargrove brought the Pfaff Porsche home in fourth, ahead of the #73 Park Place Porsche of Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey.