2016 WeatherTech USCC: Road America race report
With five minutes to go, the no. 911 Porsche North America Racing 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy looked to be in the catbird seat during round eight of the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship at Road America.
A full-course caution with 12 minutes remaining culminated in a three-lap sprint to decide the podium places, with Tandy behind the wheel of the no. 911 Porsche sitting in third, the car having run up the sharp end of the GTLM field all day at Elkhart Lake.
On the run down to turn five after the restart, Tandy swung to the outside as the leader, the no. 67 Ford GT was tapped from behind by the no. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE, forcing both wide of the apex.
Sensing a golden opportunity to give Porsche it’s first win on US soil since April (when Pilet and Tandy triumphed at Long Beach), the Briton cut back to the inside on the exit, looking to get the run on them both up to turn six.
A nudge from the Toni Vilander in the Ferrari was enough to destabilise the Porsche and, when Richard Westbrook in the Ford took a similary heavy-handed sideswipe at Tandy (with more contact made), the no. 911 RSR spun down the order.
The 2015 Le Mans winner was able to get back going but, with the field closed up by the caution period, the no. 911 was only able to finish in seventh, a result that didn’t do justice to the car’s much-improved competitiveness throughout the race (after Pilet had qualified the car on the front row on Saturday).
The no. 912 sister car of Earl Bamber and Frédéric Makowiecki fared little better during the three-lap sprint for the flag (despite running up the front, just behind the no. 911 machine, in the race’s early stages).
Makowiecki restarted from fourth but, having been promoted onto the provisional podium twice (by spins for Tandy and the no. 62 Ferrari respectively), the Frenchman was powerless to stop the no. 4 Corvette (the eventual race winner) and the no. 100 BMW M6 from find a way through.
The result leaves Porsche third on 234 point in the battle for the manufacturers’ crown, 25 points behind leaders, Chevrolet and just three points ahead of BMW ahead of the series’ visit to VIR at the end of the month.
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