Chevrolet Vs. Ford Battle For IMSA GTLM Supremacy Heads To Texas For Saturday’s Lone Star L e Mans

Chevrolet Vs. Ford Battle For IMSA GTLM Supremacy

Heads To Texas For Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans

Viper Returns As GTD Winner, Looks To Close On Ferrari In Points Race


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2016) – Chevrolet and Ford take their battle for the coveted GT Le Mans (GTLM) manufacturer championship of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to Austin’s Circuit of The Americas for Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans (live, FS2, 12:30 p.m. ET).

With only two races remaining, Chevrolet holds a 16-point advantage over Ford, 297-281. The GTLM team and driver championship fight is even closer. Corvette Racing opened the season with victories by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner at Daytona and Sebring in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, and added triumphs at Lime Rock and Road America to open a seven-point lead over the three-time winning No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, 287-280.

“We got behind and could never catch up,” said Gavin following a season-worst ninth in the most recent round at VIRginia International Raceway. “That’s how difficult it is in this championship. We are still thankful to maintain the points lead and will do whatever we can to protect that lead over the final two races.”

Corvette Racing teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen went on to win their first race of the season at VIR and are third in the standings with 259 points. Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller matched their best finish of the year by placing second at VIR in the No. 66 Ford GT. While winless in WeatherTech Championship competition, the pair won the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

BMW, Ferrari and Porsche will also provide strong challenges at the state-of-the-art 20-turn, 3.4-mile road course in the two-hour, 40-minute race.

BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner won at Circuit of The Americas in 2016 in a BMW Z4, and return this year in a new car, the No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM. Teammates John Edwards and Lucas Luhr share the team’s No. 100 entry.

Ferrari – also winless in 2016 – finished second at Circuit of The Americas in 2015. Houston-based Risi Competizione also has a new car this season, with Giancarlo Fisichella joined by Toni Vilander in the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE.

Third at COTA last year, Porsche North America has Nick Tandy and 2015 GTLM champion Patrick Pilet returning in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. They have one victory this season, at Long Beach. Teammates Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 912 Porsche are fourth in the driver standings with 250 points.

Dodge Viper Seeks Third Straight At COTA, Looks To Challenge Ferrari In GTD Standings

Looking for its third consecutive victory at Circuit of The Americas, the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/Cruising with the Monkey Dodge Viper GT3-R of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen is looking to gain ground in the GT Daytona (GTD) championship hunt. Keating, of nearby Tomball, Texas, and Bleekemolen were 2016 winners at Detroit and Road America, and are second in the standings, trailing the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan by 20 points, 268-248.

Keating is undefeated at his home circuit with GTD class victories in each of the past two years, along with a GTC class win in the 2013 American Le Mans Series event. Adding to the Dodge threat is another Texas-based team, Lone Star Racing of Dallas, fielding the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing Viper for Dan Knox of Dallas and Mike Skeen.

Championship leaders Nielsen and Balzan have won at Sebring and Watkins Glen among five podium finishes this season, but finished seventh at VIR.

Turner Motorsport placed second at COTA last year in a BMW Z4. Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala return in a new car, the No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal/IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3. They will be joined by Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winners Bret Curtis and Jens Klingmann in the No. 96 Spectra Resources/United Steel/Valspar Paint/IHG Rewards Club BMW M6.

Magnus Racing’s two-time winning No. 44 Audi Tire Center/Auric Solar Audi R8 LMS GT3 of John Potter and Andy Lally enters as part of Audi’s three-car lineup. Stevenson Motorsports fields two cars, the No. 6 Stevenson Automotive Group Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, joined by the No. 9 Audi of Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell.

Lamborghini makes its WeatherTech Championship debut at COTA. Paul Miller Racing won at VIR with the No. 48 Castrol Edge/Universal Auto Sales Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers. Change Racing is led by the No. 16 Pertamina/Monster Energy Huracán of Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis, and Dream Racing fields the No. 27 Lamborghini of Lawrence DeGeorge and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli.

Porsche competitors include Dallas-based Park Place Motorsports No. 73 Park Place Porsche/Justice Brothers Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister, joining the Alex Job Racing No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.

Completing GTD is the No. 007 TRG-AMR Godstone Ranch Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of John McCutcheon.

Practice for the Lone Star Le Mans begins at 10:25 a.m. CT on Thursday, with qualifying on Friday at 3:45 p.m. CT. The weekend also includes the ninth of 10 rounds for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, racing Friday at 12:40 p.m. CT. The season will conclude with the Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 1.

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