Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park: Finally a victory for Ford
The Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park was the eighth round of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the 160-minute race that was reserved for GT cars only, the victory went to Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #67 Ford GT. It’s the first win for CGR Ford this year.
The decisive move of the race was when Westbrook overtook Earl Bamber’s #912 Porsche 911 RSR with six and a half minutes remaining. He stayed in front until the end to record his seventh victory while driving the #67 Ford. In total, it was the 18th career IMSA victory for Briscoe and Westbrook’s 15th.
The pair of Porsche GT Team entries led most of the race, combining to lead 140 of the race’s 182 laps around the 1.474-mile circuit. In the end, Earl Bamber shared the second step of a podium, what was their fifth podium result in seven races in 2019. They extended their lead in the GTLM standings to eight points (218-210) over their #911 teammates, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who finished fourth.
The #66 Ford GT co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Muller made it a double podium for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing with a third-place finish. Hand and Muller won last year’s race at Lime Rock.
Photo finish in the GTD class
In the GTD class, Pfaff Motorsports’ #9 Porsche 911 GT3 R took the victory in a photo finish against Meyer Shank Racing’s #86 Acura NSX GT3. In a dramatic finale, Dennis Olsen suffered a puncture on the final lap in a Porsche, allowing Mario Farnbacher to get close. In the end, it was a drag race on the start-finish straight and Olsen won by 0.010 seconds.
Dennis Olsen was sharing a Porsche with Zach Robichon. It was their first IMSA victory. For Mario Farnbacher and his co-driver Trent Hindman, second place means that they extended their championship lead ahead of Turner Motorsport’s Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley, who finished third at Lime Rock Park in the #96 BMW M6 GT3.
The next race is the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday, August 4, opened for all four classes.
Photos: Ford Performance, Porsche