The number 2 Tequila Patron Nismo-Liger DPI of Extreme Speed Motorsports held on to capture the overall win, in what turned out to be a drama filled final half hour in the 20th running of the Motul Petit Le Mans. Which saw two of the front running contenders being forced to pit to serve penalties for on track incidents.
Brendon Hartley, a factory driver for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, held off the number 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Dane Cameron by only 7.633 seconds.
The then race leading number 22 sister car to Hartley’s was forced to relinquish the lead and serve a drive through penalty after Pipo Derani made what race control deemed to be avoidable contact with the Number 67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe. The contact caused Briscoe to spin and make contact with the barriers. The incident took Briscoe’s 67 Team out of contention for the GT Le Mans win, after they had led and were running second at the time.
Filipe Albuquerque briefly inherited the lead in his number 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPI. However he was also penalized with a 60 second stop and hold penalty for taking an unnecessary risk on a restart when he dove to the outside of the track on a restart, forcing his Action Express teammate of Dane Cameron to the grass. This penalty allowed the number 2 of Hartley to cycle to the lead, which he would hold until taking the checkers. Albuquerque would also receive an additional drive through penalty for not answering the black flag in time.
The Number 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing would capture the IMSA prototype class championship even with an engine failure ending their day in the third hour of the ten hour race.
BAR1 motorsports took top honors in Prototype Challenge, denying the Performance Tech team a perfect season. The Championship winning Number 38 of Performance Tech made contact with the Rebellion Racing Oreca. The Number 38 would lose 20 laps making repairs, while the Rebellion entry would be forced to retire.
BMW Team RLL would take GT Le Mans class honors with Bill Auberlen leading for the better part of the last 3 hours of race in his 400th start for BMW. This was the last race for the M6 GTLM as it will be retired and replaced with the new BMW M8 GTE starting at next year’s Rolex 24 hours of Daytona. Auberlen and team held off Antonio Garcia’s Number 3 Corvette C7R, the second place finish for the Number 3 was enough to Clinch the GT Le Mans championship.
The Land Motorsports Audi R8 LMS captured GT Daytona Honors, marking the third race win for the Land Motorsports team yesterday. Having won the VLN and DMV races earlier in the day at the Nurburgring. Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan managed to clinch the GT Daytona championship despite losing numerous laps when their car made contact with the #6 Team Penske Oreca-Gibson early in the race.
Article by Eric Cumbee.