IMSA Sportscar Championship: Corvette and Lamborghini on the top at Virginia
Virginia International Raceway hosted the Michelin GT Challenge, the tenth round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which was reserved for GT cars only. Corvette Racing took the fifth win of the season in the GTLM category but it was the first victory for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette C7.R. In the GTD class, the #48 Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan, driven by Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers, also took its maiden IMSA victoryon the 3.27-mile race track.
The #3 crew battled for the win against Chip Ganassi Racing’s # 66 Ford GT, driven by Joey Hand and Dirk Muller. Magnussen led the opening 28 laps after starting from the pole. Garcia then paced until the chequered flag of the 90-lap race. They lost the lead only when pitted. At the end, Garcia crossed the finish line 0.802sec ahead of Muller.
The race was interrupted by only one full-course caution after an accident of Oliver Gavin in the championship-leading #4 Corvette C7.R. Giancarlo Fisichella in the Risi Competizione’s #62 Ferrari 488 GTE was close to the podium, but he spun after a final restart and finished seventh. Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR took the third place. Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook finished fourth in the three-time winning #67 Ford GT. With two rounds remaining in 2016 competition, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner unofficially lead Briscoe and Westbrook by seven points, 287-280.
Maiden IMSA win for Lamborghini Huracan
In the GTD class, we saw a dominating performance of #48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 co-driven by Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers. They gave Lamborghini the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory. On Saturday, Snow captured his first pole position. In the race, he and Sellers led every lap except five laps during the pit-stop cycle. The Lamborghini crossed the finish line 1.471sec ahead of #9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, driven by Lawson Aschenbachand Matt Bell. For the #9 crew it was the best result in the series.
One more Audi took podium. Initially, it was the #44 Magnus Racing’s R8 LMS, driven by Andy Lally and John Potter. But, they were excluded from the final race results because of ride height infraction. It promoted another Stevenson Motorsports’ crew to the podiums – Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis in the #6 Audi.
The post-race penalty and exclusion of Lally and Potter enabled Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan to extend their GTD championship lead to 20 points over Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Nielsen and Balzan finished seventh in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, one place behind Keating and Bleekemolen in the #33 Dodge Viper GT3-R at VIR.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship would be the Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of the Americas on September 17, with all four classes on the grid.